by Khalid Salaam
Here’s the thing, I’m trying to figure out how Michael Vick fits in as a football player on the Eagles roster. But before I can even delve into it on a field level (more on that later) I have to sit by and listen to loads of hypocrisy for breakfast. Needless to say, I’m a tad bit pissed.
Let me say first that I am an animal lover without compare. Nobody can say anything else. From childhood until present day my passion hasn’t changed in regards to animal life. I visit zoos and aquariums whenever I can and spend hours watching Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. I have an especially strong attraction to dogs and the only reason why I don’t have a dog right now is that I live in a pet-free building. I like all sorts of dogs but I find passion in strong, smart dogs like German Shepherds and Boxers. I’m one of those kinds of people who let dogs lick their face and slob their clothes. I find the devotion and companionship of canines to be second to none and I can play with them for hours on end doing nothing but throwing a stick back and forth. It’s that real.
So obviously, dog fighting bothers me. It disgusts me, actually, and I have no love for people who participate in this bloodsport. The dogs are generally treated like crap and their lives are allowed to waste away for financial gain. What Michael Vick and his people did was reprehensible, there’s no doubt about that. When the story first broke in 2007 my general response was whatever happens jail-wise is fine by me. I’m not gonna fight for the cause against a dude (even though it seems Vick was only the financial backer and not the actual culprit, he still knew much of what was happening) who’s allowing dogs to be electrocuted when they come out on the losing end of a fight. It’s just not a good situation and I wasn’t going to lose sleep over it. Yeah he lost his job and money and whatever else. That’s life. You mess up; you pay up. Keep it moving.
But now he’s free and he paid his debt to society, so I say what the hell, let that man eat. It’s over. The hope is he never participates in these types of animal cruelty situations again. But the comments from fans, media members and PETA I’m hearing tell me people are not gonna let this go. My thing is this—you got beef with Vick, the NFL and the Eagles, that’s fine. I can respect it. But you had better show the same fervor against the hundreds, thousands and millions of people who hunt for fun and sport. You better have the same anger toward the gaming commissions who give out hunting licenses to these people and you better be just as pissed of at the arms dealers who sell the rifles that kill these animals.
I went to the state of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website to see what was on there, just out of curiosity. Since Vick’s crime were committed in this state and they came down hard on him then maybe hunting is looked down upon there. Maybe it’s banned. Who knows?
What struck me first was the info available on how to get a hunting license at 16. 16?! Really? From that young of an age you can apply for a $120 license and then start hunting deer, bears and birds. Even better, you can pay $8.50 (more affordable right?) for a junior license at age 12. Yeah seriously. 12. (When I was 12 I was into sneakers and music, that’s seems really young to me to go hunting.) I don’t recall seeing anybody getting enraged or protesting in front of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries building? Where were they?? Where are they??
People like to tell you that hunting is regulated so as not to kill too many animals and that hunting actually helps with population control by taking down the weak and diseased animals. Which is nonsense because nature, if left to its own tranquility, will deal its own brand of population control. Nature did this for millions of years before humans existed and will continue to after we destroy ourselves and the planet is given back to the animals. The hypocrisy is outrageous and I can smell the stench from my living room window. It smells like BS because that’s what it is.
When people tell me that shooting a deer is more humane than dog fighting I always say to them lets ask the deer how he feels about it. I would assume that the deer would probably disagree with that assessment and would prefer to live than to have his neck blasted open by a coward with a rifle. And yeah I consider them to be cowards. I’ll be impressed when you starting hunting animals that can kill you with your bare hands. It means something to attack a bear from up close and personal than it does to shoot down innocent animals from a helicopter a la Sarah Palin. Until recreational hunting is outlawed I don’t want to hear a single, solitary thing about Mike Vick and dog fighting. The level of cruelty is the same. You are playing yourself if you think otherwise.
In regards to how Vick’s addition plays out on the actual field, can I just say that I’m always glad when it’s NFL season! First, it’s a bold, very non-Eagles-type of move. I’ve been an Eagles fan since the ‘80s and we’ve never done anything like this. With Terrell Owens we tried to fill a glaring need. We don’t have a glaring need at QB. McNabb re-upped in the off-season and Kevin Kolb is the supposed quarterback of the future. McNabb says he’s cool with it, even asked for Vick, but Kolb has to be heated. Yeah he crapped the bed when he got his chance against Baltimore last year but that was an unfair situation. Coming in at the start of the 3rd quarter against a rabid Ravens defense with no time to prepare and having never really played before? He’s lucky he didn’t get concussed. You must wonder if the Eagles brass believes in him at all.
The main question I have is where does Vick play? Andy Reid didn’t even work Vick out before the team signed him. Is he even in shape? How fast can he learn the playbook? These are important questions. There’s no obvious roster spot and don’t give me that Wildcat stuff because I think it’s overrated. The formations are super obvious, you put your QB at risk, and I don’t think you can win a Super Bowl with it. Sure it’s cool for fans and for playing Madden (I’m coppin’ mine today, by the way) but I don’t trust it in a big game.
So, again, where does Vick play? Next year he’ll make for trade bait I guess, but what about now? He’s not gonna play on special teams so essentially we are wasting a roster spot with a fourth QB. I don’t know, maybe he can play in the slot if his hands are good enough. Or as insurance if McNabb gets hurt. Either way it was a bold move and the downside is marginal—well, maybe not marginal, but small enough. There will be no QB controversy, though. I just can’t see that happening under any circumstances. Tony Dungy says he’s reformed, and is co-signing Vick and Coach Dungy is a trustworthy, stand up man. If he says Vick is cool, then I believe him. And though I’ve always found his game to be more hype than production, Vick has major talent and can help us. I’m excited to see what the coaching staff has in mind.
Now can anyone tell me where I can find a “PETA Sucks” t-shirt?