Michael Vick pled guilty to federal dogfighting charges the other day, and I think there were gambling charges as well. He also apologized to a bunch of people, and said that his actions were “immature”. I heard a reporter comment that a cynic might think that his comments were scripted and didn’t come from the heart. Call me a cynic.
First off, what he did was not immature. He put two dogs in a ring and watched them attempt to kill each other. If the loser of the fight survived, he’d kill it himself by drowning or strangling. This is not immature, it’s simply evil.
I think the only thing that Vick is sorry for is that he got caught and that his NFL career is probably over. If you go to a dogfight once and get caught, you can say you made a mistake and that you now realize that it’s a bad thing. But you don’t finance a dogfighting ring for years and kill at least eight dogs yourself and suddenly decide when you get caught that it’s a bad thing. The weird thing is that I think the apology could have been scripted better. The first people he apologized to were the NFL commissioner and the owners of the Atlanta Falcons, who basically hold Vick’s NFL career in their hands. He didn’t get to the fans and kids out there who look at Vick as a role model until later.
Having said all that, I’m a little surprised at the extent of the public outrage over this issue. While what Vick did is reprehensible, and I hope he gets serious jail time for it, there have been NFL players and other sports figures that have been convicted of rape and murder with less public outcry. My guess is that it will eventually blow over. Vick will serve 3 years in prison, the NFL will quietly end his indefinite suspension, and then some NFL GM will sign him, saying that he’s all better now, he’s done his time, paid his debt to society, and is ready to resume being a productive member of society. Celebrity justice at its finest.