If I Were a Philadelphia Eagles Fan…..

Michael Vick’s reentry into professional football, the latest update in his life story, has me wondering how I would feel if I happened to be an ardent Philadelphia Eagle fan. Honestly, I’m not altogether sure. Would I believe that everyone is deserving of a second chance? Would I boycott the games, or choose to watch but cheer every time Michael Vick fumbled the ball or threw an interception? Would I hate Michael Vick for his heinous actions, or could I muster up compassion for a guy whose upbringing allowed him to think that treating living creatures in such a horrifying fashion was perfectly okay?

As a resident of California with no real interest in professional football, I’m thankful that I don’t have to decide how to support my home team. However, as someone who devotes a significant portion of her life to the wellbeing of animals, I certainly feel conflicted. Here is my strategy. I’m going to try to temper any outrage and anger with hope for the goodness that might arise from the Michael Vick saga. Yes, I do believe there is some potential for some sweetness in this sour situation. Dog fighting has made it to center stage in terms of media attention. This increased awareness will hopefully be accompanied by greater action to vilify and stop such ugly exploitation of animals. Vick now has phenomenal opportunities to utilize his celebrity stature for the benefit of animals. I hope he will become a sincere (I’ll settle simply for believable) high profile champion of organizations, activities, and legislation that support the welfare of animals. Michael Vick cannot undo what’s been done, but he certainly holds much positive potential in his hands, above and beyond merely a football. Michael Vick now has the opportunity to change his legacy. For the sake of animals everywhere, I hope he does exactly that.

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members much good health!

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

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2 Responses to “If I Were a Philadelphia Eagles Fan…..”

  1. Sheri Cardo Says:

    Thanks for tackling this issue. I think it’s doubtful that the sociopathic personality traits Vick displayed in brutally torturing and killing dogs for six plus years will ever truly change (read more about that here: http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2009/08/gentlemans-sport.html#links),
    but his case has had some positive impacts. Along with the attention to the horrific “sport” of dogfighting, thanks to BAD RAP and the ASPCA for petitioning to have Vick’s dogs evaluated — and the findings that so many of them were temperamentally sound and adoptable — the national policy on fight bust dogs has fundamentally changed. No longer is it automatically assumed that bust dogs are vicious and should be euthanized — more and more, they’re getting the chance to be treated as the victims that they are and evaluated as individuals. Remember the recent Midwest fight bust with 450+ dogs — most of those dogs are being evaluated for adoptability and not automatically killed. It’s a sea change in animal welfare!

    I’ve met the Vick dogs that BAD RAP took in and they’re a mix of wonderful, sweet, funny dogs. You can meet them on their very own blog: http://vickdogsblog.blogspot.com/

    Thanks to Michael Vick’s celebrity, we have learned quite a bit and saved many deserving dogs’ lives. The ultimate irony, eh?

  2. Vince F Says:

    I live in Philly, but am Not an Eagles fan. The owners are ALL about money, and signing Vick was a Business Deal. The owner Jeffery Laurie, Supposedly a dog lover, with 2 and a rescue, Claimed he wasn’t on board about the decision Which I think is Total BS. To get a player with Vick’s talents for Minimum pay was ALL it was about. The team is Really dysfunctional, and the only way they can be winning is the games Have to be fixed, Or the league is That Bad. The team/owners are always ripping the fans off with the way they do things, and Many probably own Pitt’s, so That tells you how much of a fool they must be. When I see anyone with signs or wearing jerseys, I say, Fools.. I don’t really like Pitt Bulls because of their owners and why many have them.

    VF

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