"Never has someone fallen so hard, so fast and so far." --Billy Martin, Michael Vick's attorney, 12/10/07
Of all the asinine things that have come out of his mouth during the Michael Vick dogfighting criminal investigation, at least when the sentence of 23 months in a federal penitentiary came down, Billy Martin finally made some sense.
Yes, Michael Vick has fallen. Fallen real hard. And this is right where he belongs. There is no one on Earth more responsible for where he finds himself other than, well, him. This is a fact no matter what kind of "mercy" drivel Hank Aaron, George Foreman, or Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin put forth. Mercy is the last thing Michael Vick deserves because it is the first thing he refused to give to innocent dogs who never consented to fight to - kill.
Along the way to where we are now in this incredibly disturbing case, we heard a lot of doublespeak. For instance, there is nothing wrong with dogfighting for a black person because it's "cultural." According to another one of Michael Vick's attorney's, Lawrence Woodward, he "grew up on some of probably the meanest and roughest streets in this Commonwealth." Yeah, what of it? There is no logical or biological or culturally acceptable leap from mean streets to executing dogs. Sorry, there's just not.
So, now that the cultural racist card failed to garner lasting sympathy or enough mercy that would make Michael Vick a free man, a new card has been dealt to try and explain why he has such a terrible time simply telling the truth. Gosh, you would think he was a Clinton if you didn't look close enough. In regard to lying to federal authorities about Michael Vick's marijuana use, attorney Billy Martin has the "audacity of dope" to actually say he puffs the magic dragon as "self-medication for clinical depression." Please stop.
Do you see why lawyers are the butt of so many jokes? Why they are often held in such low regard? Do they have no shame or standards or sensibility? Do they think we are all stupid? Do they think that just because they earned a law degree, they also earned a right to destroy our culture?
You see, the problem with attorney Billy Martin playing the "depression card" is that we as a culture are already way too dependent on prescription drugs. Not to mention, we are under the false belief that we are all mentally ill at some level. But golly, give attorney Billy Martin credit for dragging out all of the furniture in the room in an effort to block us from completely throwing Sick Vick out the door.
It's OK for Michael Vick to smoke dope since he's clinically depressed? How long did this diagnosis take - fifteen minutes? You've got to be kidding me. The last time I checked, clinical depression, which can be extremely subjective, does not entitle you to break the law and smoke dope. Perhaps Michael Vick is properly depressed because he has come to the realization of how badly he screwed up his "130 million dollar contract" life. And how disgusting it is to execute innocent dogs who were forced to fight to kill. Michael Vick deserves to be depressed because he is a loathsome creature who bank-rolled pure evil.
The question to ponder is this: "Can Michael Vick find redemption?" It's up to him, as we are a forgiving society. Unfortunately, he violated one of three key rules in our civil society. You don't hurt children. You don't hurt the elderly. You don't hurt, (let alone execute), dogs. My feeling is that by the time Michael Vick gets out of prison, even loyal fans of his "football talent" will have moved on to someone else. I mean, why not?
I also wonder how other football players who have dogs as members of their family could even stand the idea of Michael Vick playing on their team. Being in the huddle with him. Being in the locker room with him. A sports team needs chemistry and unity, in addition to raw talent to win. Michael Vick brings such horrific real images with him even after he pays his proverbial debt to society.
I just don't see it all coming together the way he will want it to happen a few years from now. Again, it sure as tomorrow being another day, is not a race thing. Humans and dogs are literally attached at the hip. Some athlete who wears #7 and can play quarterback/rush for a thousand yards in the same season isn't going to change that one bit.
Personally, I hope Michael Vick never plays professional football again. I really think he is a yard short of redemption. Let him give people other than his own fans the finger. I don't want to see him on the field or hear announcers call his name. I don't want to see fans wearing #7 anymore who have the temerity to dare say, "They're just dogs, Michael Vick is a human being."
At the same time, we do need to move on from where we're at. Michael Vick is not the first person to be fully involved with the evil act of dogfighting. Perhaps we can truly do something to eradicate dogfighting from this country. It can be done one person at a time, and it can be done on the legislative front. Support laws to give dogfighting the boot.
After all, our friends in fur deserve no less.
Tony Zizza is a dog lover who lives in Atlanta, GA. He writes frequently about dogs and popular culture. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org