To Vick after 60 Minutes
“I don’t know how many times I have to say it: It was wrong...I didn’t step up. I wasn’t a leader.”
If I had my druthers, you’d never stop saying it. Your hell would be akin to Tantalus’s: a $130 million contract dangles above your head while the snarling pits you killed lick at your heels for eternity.
As it is, you got off easy. And you don’t seem to get that, given your impatience with the notion that you still have to explain yourself. Leavenworth was a cake walk for you compared to what it would’ve been for the rest of us. Admit it.
“I deserved to lose [the $130 million].”
Sure you did. Thanks for the acknowledgement. Yet the obvious implication is that you now deserve another shot at the bounty.
Because now that you’ve done your time and enjoyed the humane benefits of American bankruptcy, you’re in touch with your “higher power.” Because now you’ve got a platform from which to urge kids to go kiss their animals goodnight instead of stringing ‘em up from on high or poking them with a high-voltage prod.
As if you could possibly learn to love animals after living in prison for 18 months. As if we would believe you when you channel your high-priced PR handlers' scripted mea culpas. Maybe some will, but most of us thinking folk won’t. Not while we also have to swallow your contention that “football means nothing” to you. Puh-lease. We all know exactly what it means to you.
Jail and bankruptcy were a blessing. I believe you. It gave you and your people a place from which to start afresh. We should all be so lucky to have the HSUS’s media-savvy Wayne Pacelle (for shame!) and uber-Christian Tony Dungy on our side after a fall––not to mention the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles.
It all comes down to this, Vick: Some of us will believe you. And some of us will never be swayed by what your fame and future fortunes mean to you, your family, to football or to the minions of children who perchance might be impressed by your love-a-pet, dog-and-pony show. Either way, you don’t deserve another shot. Not yet. 2007 might seem a lifetime away for you, but it’s too fresh for memories like mine. You haven’t suffered nearly enough for what you did.
And there's the rub. For most of middle America, your cruel trasgressions may have shocked them out of a profound torpor on the subject of dogfighting. And for that, I thank you. Yet it hasn't changed the reality: crimes against animals––no matter how cruel or how numerous––don't merit more than a brief stint in prison and a price proportionate to the size of your bank account. But then, you already knew that.
While Wayne Pacelle and his HSUS may feel righteous and just as they trade on your downfall, your fame and your career's holy resurrection, the rest of us (i.e., those who have nothing to gain from your name) know better. For my part, I’ll consider you well and rehabilitated only after you’ve paid some serious time for your offenses.
When will that be? I’ll confess I’m kind of iffy on that one. But I can promise you it won’t be one second before the very last animal you tortured is 100% recovered. Considering that most of them are underground, you may have to prove you can resurrect more than just your career to get me to come around to your way of seeing things.