Is Michael Vick “a Good Human Being”?

The AP reported that New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury defended Michael Vick, calling dogfighting a sport and comparing it to hunting.

“I think it’s tough,” Marbury said, according to Albany TV station Capital News 9. “I think, you know, we don’t say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It’s just behind closed doors.”

Right. It’s behind closed doors for a reason … or several reasons: it’s illegal, unmanly, despicable, reprehensible, and … well, you fill in the blank.

On Monday, Vick said through a lawyer that he will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. He also faces possible prosecution in Virginia.

“I think it’s tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down,” Marbury said. “I think he’s one of the superb athletes, and he’s a good human being. I just think that he fell into a bad situation.”

Uh … “we break him down”? I think he’s responsible for where he is. Can you call Vick “a good human being”? He reportedly oversaw the methodical brutalization of animals and even took part in the cold-blooded killing of those who didn’t perform well.

Is this as bad as some other things that haven’t gotten as much attention as this? Probably not. But it’s bad … really bad.

An NAACP spokesman said the Falcons quarterback made a mistake and should be allowed to prove he has learned from that mistake. We’re way ahead there. Yes, rehabilitation should be the goal. God has forgiven worse things than this. But any pattern of lies, deception, and criminal activity is more than “a mistake.” If the accusations are true, Vick’s character is badly flawed. Of course, Christians realize that every individual who doesn’t know Christ needs to be changed greatly, “born again.” I pray that will happen with Mr. Vick. The kind of intentional, methodical, inhumane treatment he has been accused of (if true) means he will have to prove himself a changed person.

Jesus said, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17; Mark 10:18). We are all sinners and even the best of us is not “good” until he comes under the influence of the goodness of God. Every unbeliever is apart from God and in as desperate a crisis as Mr. Vick finds himself. But even forgiveness of sins does not always erase the consequences of sin. The consequences of this sin might be the loss of an NFL career. If a soul can be gained, it will be worth it. The millions he is throwing away are nothing compared with what he has to gain in Christ. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

(And I worry about Marbury.)


2 Responses to “Is Michael Vick “a Good Human Being”?”

  1. 1 Sportsattitude August 23, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Great post. I worry about Marbury too. Why anyone needs to expound about the virtues of dog-fighting versus other activities is beyond me. Showing support for Vick can be attained without trying to justify the un-justifiable.

  2. 2 animalchaplain August 29, 2007 at 12:30 am

    My brothers are hunters. They kill the animals quickly so they don’t feel any pain and then they eat the meat.

    Michael Vick and his friends deliberately torture and inflict pain on innocent animals in order to make them meaner. They enjoy watching them suffer, and then they beat them to death with clubs, electrocute them, drown them, or starve them. I don’t think these two things could be any more different from one another!

    If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However…

    I watched Vick’s public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick’s “enlightenment” carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

    I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare “What’s worse?” “What’s worse”, we ask, “carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?”. “Dogfighting or gambling?” “Dogfighting or rape?” “Dogfighting or racism?” “Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?” “Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)….?” The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

    Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings – they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

    Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being “a winner” is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

    Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

    Chaplain Nancy Cronk

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