Some people are just clueless, and that includes the entire Philadelphia Eagles football team.
It was bad enough that Eagles management signed Michael Vick to the team after he got out of prison for running a dog fighting ring. As I posted on August 24, 2009, in Can Michael Vick change his behavior?, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), sent a letter to the NFL stating that Vick fit the profile of antisocial personality disorder, aka a sociopath.
I mean, the guy rewarded the animals that lost by personally electrocuting, hanging or drowning them—shoving their heads into five-gallon buckets of water.
So now, after sitting on the bench for most of the season, the Eagles players say Vick should win the Ed Block Courage Award. According to the foundation that presents it, “the Ed Block Courage Awards honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are selected by their teammates for team effort, as well as individual performance.”
Many people, including the American Kennel Club, are outraged. On January 22, 2010, the club sent a letter to Jeff Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. It stated:
On behalf of the American Kennel Club, our 5,000 clubs nationwide, and the millions of responsible dog owners we represent, we are writing to ask you to withdraw Michael Vick as the Philadelphia Eagles’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
We understand that his teammates selected Mr. Vick for this honor, but in doing so they are demonstrating a lack of understanding about the nature of both animal and child abuse, and are trivializing Mr. Vick’s heinous actions. Michael Vick horrified the world, and especially those of us who devote our lives to promoting the health and welfare of dogs, with his engagement in dog fighting. In addition to the bloody fighting contests, reports indicate that many dogs were electrocuted, drowned or hung for underperformance.
A man who has been convicted of these atrocities should not be held up as a role model of sportsmanship and courage. Further, Ed Block, the award’s namesake, dedicated his life to ending the vicious cycle of pain and despair suffered by children at the hands of their abusers. It is unconscionable that a man who tortured and abused helpless animals be honored by an organization dedicated to ending abuse.
Vick says he deserves it
So what does Michael Vick have to say about winning the award? According to NFL.com:
“I’ve overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear,” Vick said. “You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn’t do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I’ve been through, situations I’ve been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.
“There’s always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it’s a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That’s what I’ve been able to do. That’s what I display.”
The guys on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning talk radio show were incredulous. They talked about the men selected by other football teams. One football player been shot 14 times in a drive-by shooting, was paralyzed and lost a leg. Another player created a foundation to support at-risk youths. Another was well-known for his community service.
“Here’s the bottom line: Did Michael Vick exemplify courage?” one of the Mikes asked. “I gotta say the answer is no!”
The video clip is entertaining. See it at Mike and Mike: Vick Courageous?
An online petition against awarding Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage Award is available on Change.org.
Michael Vick on TV
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does—Michael Vick has his own reality TV show on BET.
The Michael Vick Project premieres next week, on February 2, 2010. Here’s what BET.com has to say about it:
In this eight-part series, produced by DuBose Entertainment, MV7 Productions and Category 5 Entertainment, cameras will not only capture the NFL star’s return to football after a two-year prison term stemming from his association with a dog fighting ring, but they will also focus on much of his life prior to that turning point. Viewers will be given an unfiltered and personal experience of Vick as he restores his past and starts fresh for the future — not only for himself, but for his family and fiancÃ©e, Kijafa.
“It’s our hope that this documentary series will serve as means towards Michael Vick’s search for his personal truth, what led to the choices he made that ultimately changed his life and also, enlighten viewers that every decision you make in life matters. We hope his story will be one in which years from now, people particularly young men, will view and learn valuable lessons from, James DuBose, CEO, Dubose Entertainment. “Mike’s life may be unique, but his story is one that could be told ten times over by young men who find themselves faced with trials and tribulations. His truth has come by way of bad choices. His triumph will come by way of his commitment to change.”
No role model
We all know how charming, charismatic and convincing sociopaths can be. They are experts at impression management. Vick must have put on a heck of a performance, and the Eagles players didn’t realize that it was only a performance.
It seems that Vick has stayed out of trouble for at least the length of the football season. And honestly, we know sociopaths don’t change, so if he’s not hurting other people or animals, it’s about all we can expect of him.
But Michael Vick as a role model? That’s just too much.