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.)