Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
So, let us speak of things like redemption and forgiveness.
Let us speak of Michael Vick, the soon-to-be-former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, who today pleaded guilty to federal charges related to an illicit dogfighting operation for which he’d been financier, founder, and eager participant.
Let us speak of a man who had been blessed with exceptional talent, who cultivated that talent into a professional career, who was paid a salary equivalent to the GNP of a small country to play a game for twenty weeks a year. Let us speak of this same man for whom this all simply wasn’t enough, for somebody who needed the extra little thrills provided by thumbing one’s nose at the law, and even moreso the extra little thrills of watching abused animals tear each other to shreds with the equivalent of his wardrobe budget on the line.
Right now Michael Vick has agreed to be convicted of felony charges not out of a sense of remorse, but merely to avoid being convicted of even harsher felony charges, and the NFL is deciding whether or not to hand down a lifetime ban against him, ending his NFL career once and for all.
Right now there are dozens of sports fans clogging dozens of sports-related message boards ranting in barely comprehensible syntax about how such a ban would be grossly unfair, how it wouldn’t be right to deny the man his livelihood if he serves his prison sentence and pays his fine. They are arguing that others in the NFL have recently been convicted of worse crimes–vehicular manslaughter, in one case–and yet were able to come back and play. They are arguing that these were just dogs, that he paid for them and should be allowed to do what he wishes with them, they are arguing that Vick is just another successful black man being brought down by the system, they are arguing that Vick is innocent, by God, innocent as a newborn lamb, that he wouldn’t have copped this plea and made his lawyers deliver that generic apology if his homies hadn’t turned snitch on him.
This is what I know. Michael Vick enjoys death. Michael Vick enjoys the hell out of it. Michael Vick enjoyed dogfighting so much that he bred his own fighters and set up his own camouflaged arenas to watch them kill each other. He enjoys death so much that he personally took part in the execution of several dogs whose only offense was that they weren’t willing enough to play his bloodsports. He enjoys death so much that he couldn’t just shoot his castoffs in the head; no, he had to execute these dogs in a variety of cruel and agonizing manners for no apparent reason other than he wanted to know what it what it looked and smelled like when live electrical wires were tossed on a wet animal, or what it felt like when a living being stops struggling in your grip and succumbs to the water filling its lungs.
In civilized society, the polite term for such people is sick fucking sociopath.
Don’t talk to me about how we sports fans will forgive and forget, about how America loves a good comeback story, about how in 2010 he’ll get picked up by a team desperate for an experienced quarterback and then he’ll show the NFL, yes he will, what they’d been missing during his unjust incarceration and totally unfair suspension. I don’t care if he comes out of prison able to throw the ball 100 yards and vaporize a defensive line with his cybernetic laser eyes. I will not watch this man play a single down, even if it’s a game of backyard two-hand touch. When you pay your debt to society for transgressing against it, your reward is you get to come back to society, not that you get to come back to the lucrative career you pissed away in the first place. That is not your right.
So let us speak of redemption. Let us speak of forgiveness.
In the back of my heart, I retain enough cynicism to suspect that there will be no lifetime ban. The Commissioner would only be likely to decree such a penalty if Vick had chosen to plead not guilty, which would have brought him face-to-face with RICO-caliber gambling and racketeering charges…charges which likely would have stuck. Fighting dogs is not the sort of thing that the NFL would consider unforgivable. But opening the door to gamblers and other unsavory characters? That simply would not stand, no it would not.
And I retain enough cynicism to believe that when he finishes his prison term and suspension, he will in fact be picked up by some team with a struggling center. He will be welcomed back by the fans. And just like that, people will forget that the reason he went away in the first place was…say it with me, now…that he was a sick fucking sociopath.
So this is just for me. This is just me making a pledge that when Vick comes back, I’ll be one of the first in line to turn off the television, to walk out of the room, to shout Go to hell, you twisted psycho! if I happen to pass by a stadium where he is currently playing.
Because perhaps Vick will find redemption in his Great American Comeback Story.
But forgiveness? No. Forget it. Not from me.