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My Pet World: Vick hasn't earned a hero's stripes

January 11, 2011|By Steve Dale

Q: For the New Year I want to see you write that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should never have a dog again. Will you do it? — S.H., Cyberspace

Q: Can you comment on the Michael Vick situation? I can't believe the president of the United States is hailing Vick as a hero. I'm a patriot, and fought in the Korean War. Vick is no hero. — B.J., Prescott, Ariz.

Q: Dog fighting is a major crime. It seems that a millionaire like Vick should still be in jail. He got off easy. Now he wants a dog? You've got to be kidding me. Can you comment? — B.H., Libertyville, Ill.

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A: Vick recently told an interviewer that his daughters want a dog, and he believes a dog would help him in his rehabilitation. There's little doubt that Vick had an extraordinary year on the football field in the 2010-11 season, which ended Sunday with the Eagles' playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. He's already been named to the Pro-Bowl and he might win the Comeback of the Year Award.

The Humane Society of the United States, which partnered with Vick in his (court-ordered) community appearances, says three years after incarceration seems about right for Vick to get a dog. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell says he's "proud" of Vick, and even President Obama has weighed in. The president phoned Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to commend him for taking a chance on Vick, and to comment (as a football fan) on Vick's great season.

In my humble opinion (since you asked), many judges do impose lifetime bans on dogfighters ever owning another pet. A lifetime is a long time, but I don't believe Vick is quite set to have a dog.

Call me cynical, but I believe that if Vick gets a puppy, his handlers will be able to convince potential (lucrative) sponsors that Michael Vick is now as warm and fuzzy as that pooch. If that happens, Vick (and those partnering with him, including the NFL) stand to make lots of money. At this moment, the NFL is profiting from Vick since his jersey is a top seller (What does this say about us?), and much more money can be made off Vick's name, particularly if he's on his way to resurrecting his image.

While I believe Vick has brought enormous attention to dog fighting, he hardly volunteered. He denied all possible charges until he no longer had a choice. His community service is court ordered, and while hopefully he is making a difference, his appearances are well orchestrated.

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