Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 12/29/2010

The real reason Vick got a second chance

By Richard Cohen

The commentary about President Obama's call to the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles regarding that adjudicated dog killer Michael Vick has now reached an apogee of stupidity that strongly suggest that too many otherwise smart people have lost their ability to reason. Obama, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie recounted, said, "'So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance.' He said, 'It's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.' And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.'' It helps, I think, that Vick has completed 63.2 percent of his passes and has 20 touchdowns. He is not your average felon.

And, yet, that is the comparison that's made. You would think from the commentary that Vick was some poor kid who got caught swiping something so he could get something to eat. You would think he had on the spur of the moment stolen a car, gone for a joy ride -- and collided with a police car at an intersection. You would think that he was anything other than in immensely gifted and immensely rich professional athlete who got a signing bonus of $37 million and had endorsement deals from Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft and others. Vick staged dog fights and killed dogs not because he had to, but because he chose to. He's a thug.

Dog fighting was Vick's hobby. He had been warned about it. His own father had told him to stop. He persisted because, as with many great athletes, he was never held accountable. A nation of jock-sniffers always looks away when a great athlete does something wrong. Nothing is an important as winning -- we all know that -- and Vick was and is a winner.

The sanctimony regarding this dog killer is sickening. He was wantonly cruel, not only pitting dogs against one another in fights, but drowning poor performers. Didn't he know this was cruel? Didn't he know wounded dogs were in pain? Is he so stupid he didn't notice the blood, the torn skin, the...? Oh, forget it! The man's an animal himself.

Now Vick has punched all the tickets on the road to rehabilitation. He is contrite. He loves pooches. He might even get a dog himself. How much of this is genuine and how much is synthetic I leave to you. But I'll tell you this. Vick got a second chance not because he deserves it but because he can play football. This is the lesson we can all take from this sorry episode. It's one thing to be sorry. It's much better to hit your man in the end zone.

By Richard Cohen  | December 29, 2010; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Denis Dutton's digital legacy
Next: Playing (race) cards with Bill Clinton in Chicago

Comments

This article is exactly right. I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick.

Posted by: 1toughlady | December 29, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to the day when Michael Vick's on field performance falls short -- and hope that rather than cutting him, the management of the Philadelphia Eagles will treat him with the same solicitude he treated his victims as they drown, hang, or execute the over-the-hill QB.

Posted by: RhymesWithRight | December 29, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

From the two posts above:

This article is exactly right. I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick.

I look forward to the day when Michael Vick's on field performance falls short -- and hope that rather than cutting him, the management of the Philadelphia Eagles will treat him with the same solicitude he treated his victims as they drown, hang, or execute the over-the-hill QB.

*************************************

I would bet a nickel to a thousand dollars that these two jerks are so called christians.

I'm guessing what they feel and suggest is what Jesus would want, right? ;-)

Posted by: beauzaq | December 29, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I have been disgusted with the lack of accountability for professional athletes for years: vick was just the straw that broke the camel's back as it were. When the nfl (national f_ck-up league perhaps?) allowed this convicted FELON, Let me repeat FELON, to play again I realized that professional sports as a whole and the national f_ck-up league in particular will be treated as special citizens who may do whatever they please and never have to follow the rules that joe blow citizen must follow. These inDUHviduals will be treated much like wealthy inDUHviduals are treated--please remember "gunner" who shot his buddy in the face with a shot-gun while hunting without a hunting license--the consequences? Well, none, actually. The point is that the wealthy, inDUHviduals as well as craporations, are not required to follow the same laws you and I are required to obey.

Quite frankly I'm fed up with this bull-s_it. I am joining the growing numbers of folks who are boycotting not just the networks who air national f_ck-up league games but also their advertisers. I save money, big business loses money--it's a win-win situation. I see no other way to hold these people accountable outside of hurting their bottom lines--state legislatures and DC aren't going to hold felons accountable when they receive large paychecks that much is certain. Should this action achieve nothing (given that the nation is addicted to bread and circuses this is pretty likely) perhaps it will be time for the revolution that is looming on the horizon. It'd be nice to put professional athletes up against the wall with the pols, lobbyists, bankers....Let's get rid of the the deadweight.

Posted by: spike591011 | December 29, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,I usually agree with you but I am having a hard time following you on this one.This is the way the entire system is setup.The rich and powerful get all the 2nd chances.Don't blame Vick for benefitting from the system. I am surprised how so many people have become transfixed by this issue. I know there must be some more pressing issue somewhere to consume your time.

Posted by: woohop | December 29, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

News organizations that publish BIASED stories like this should be dealt with in the same manner as Wikileaks!
--------
DOGFIGHTING was going on before M Vick was born, not until a (Black) athlete participated in this awful act, did it make daily Headlines!

Posted by: texas5 | December 29, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

His crimes were far worse than what he was convicted for (dogfighting) in his plea bargain. You ask: didn't he know the dogs were in pain? That was the whole point of his activity, with innumerable animals over many years -- to cause pain, the maximum pain possible. That's why he developed so many different ways of killing dogs. After all, why not just stick with one way? He was experimenting to find the most pain producing. It's obvious from the news reports at the time that the torture, rather than the killing, was the most important aspect of it. Very few people could have expected that this butcher would be allowed to return to the NFL. Now that it's a done deed, it is being accepted by many people as normal, part of the injunction to "move on." It's a frightening example to young people. His return to the NFL should never ever have happened.

Posted by: truck1 | December 29, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

INSIDER TRADING, if done by enough people, could collapse an entire world economy & everyone, not just puppies, could PERISH.-
Yet, we praise those EX-FELONS like Martha Stewart!!

Posted by: texas5 | December 29, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Well Mr. Cohen everybody agrees that what he did was disgusting. Now what? Perhaps we should disfigure him, lock him in a box with angry bees or do as some others suggest and just murder him. Would that satisfy you? Surely you'd rather be in the town square to hear his parting words just before the gallows drop. Who the hell's being sanctimonious?

Posted by: roskoreh | December 29, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

NOW, as for you Mr POTUS, we wish you'd stop letting our children see you BOW to this RACE-BAITING media.

You did not need to claify that you condemn dogfighting, that was understood. As POTUS, who better to speak-out about how the laws in this country should work. (do your time & that's it, just as Martha Stewart did!)

Posted by: texas5 | December 29, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen is 100% correct. I was disgusted by Stephen Stromberg's apologia in today's WP for Vick's behavior and Obama's shocking disregard for the horrible gravity of Vick's crimes. Abusing, torturing and savagely killing these dogs is unforgivable. Some crimes are much worse than others, Stephen. And there should be no forgiving or forgetting wanton cruelty to animals. In the meantime, while Vick got a short prison sentence, thousands of young men are serving much longer hard time for using or selling marijuana. So much for the wonderfully "lenient" American criminal justice system.

Posted by: bpetty69 | December 29, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The black man should not be pardoned or excused from what he did. And no matter how contrite he is, no matter that he has served time in prison, and no matter that he claims to be changed, HE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE. Football player or not, he should be punished for the rest of his rotten life!!
And Obama should be IMPEACHED!
There is no forgiveness in the U. S. A.! Our favorite values are throwing people out of the country, executing prisoners, and throwing the poor into the streets.

Posted by: dallen35 | December 29, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Given that you can find a dogfighting operation in any inner city or any rural southern town at any given time of the day, I challenge anyone to present statistics that show that the average dog fighter gets as much time as Vick or any time for that matter. I contend that if Michael Vick were not a NFL quarterback, Black quarterback, he would NEVER have gotten any time. And of course if he were white and just stuck to raping a few girls he would have only been suspended for a few games.

Posted by: NMP1 | December 29, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I am sick and tired of hearing people say that Michael Vick has paid his dues. How do you know that he has made good with God? Do you actually think that all we have to do is say we are sorry, serve less than 2 yrs in a cushion prison and then start back where we left off and everything is settled between them and God? If it were that easy, then why aren't we all going out robbing banks, torturing animals, meloesting children, killing and raping because all we have to do is say I'm sorry and its like it never happened according to some people. Get real! You haven't paid your dues unless God says so and I don't believe any of us have heard God say that Michael Vick has paid his dues!One thing I do know though, it takes a pretty sorry person to do what Michael Vick has done and I for one do not believe that he is sorry for what he has done. Anybody will say anything to get a fresh start at making the kind of money he is making and only a fool would believe him. People like that do not change!

Posted by: holymosy | December 29, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I am sick and tired of hearing people say that Michael Vick has paid his dues. How do you know that he has made good with God? Do you actually think that all we have to do is say we are sorry, serve less than 2 yrs in a cushion prison and then start back where we left off and everything is settled between them and God? If it were that easy, then why aren't we all going out robbing banks, torturing animals, meloesting children, killing and raping because all we have to do is say I'm sorry and its like it never happened according to some people. Get real! You haven't paid your dues unless God says so and I don't believe any of us have heard God say that Michael Vick has paid his dues!One thing I do know though, it takes a pretty sorry person to do what Michael Vick has done and I for one do not believe that he is sorry for what he has done. Anybody will say anything to get a fresh start at making the kind of money he is making and only a fool would believe him. People like that do not change!

Posted by: holymosy | December 29, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I am so sick of hearing about this "second chance" - this animal had numerous screw ups and second chances!

Seriously, how many "second chances" does an animal get?

I recall him getting in trouble with the league for flipping off fans after a game years ago. Actually, I think I recall him getting in trouble for this exact same offense 2,3,4, + times!

I have zero doubt that if Vick / Eagles were a flop this year - the owner nor the president would be raving about how good of a citizen Vick is!

Vick is not deserving of any praise!

Posted by: wiredduck | December 29, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I am sick and tired of hearing people say that Michael Vick has paid his dues. How do you know that he has made good with God? Do you actually think that all we have to do is say we are sorry, serve less than 2 yrs in a cushion prison and then start back where we left off and everything is settled between them and God? If it were that easy, then why aren't we all going out robbing banks, torturing animals, meloesting children, killing and raping because all we have to do is say I'm sorry and its like it never happened according to some people. Get real! You haven't paid your dues unless God says so and I don't believe any of us have heard God say that Michael Vick has paid his dues!One thing I do know though, it takes a pretty sorry person to do what Michael Vick has done and I for one do not believe that he is sorry for what he has done. Anybody will say anything to get a fresh start at making the kind of money he is making and only a fool would believe him. People like that do not change!

Posted by: holymosy | December 29, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

So, Mr. Cohen, how do you square Obama's disgusting sympathy for Vick? You have relentlessly apologized for everything else Obama has done, what do you say now?

Posted by: jonfraudcarry | December 29, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Vick was arrested, convicted and served his sentence; it's called "paying his debt". That doesn't mean that one never forgets what he did; however, he was punished for the crime.

Posted by: bolis | December 29, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Pitiful article, sorry state of mind for which even forgiveness once the crime has been punished becomes unacceptable!

Posted by: dossevi | December 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

What made me ill last night was the knee-jerk partisans claiming that anyone who failed to endorse the President's endorsement of Michael Vick was a racist. I turned on Rachel Maddow last night, she was entirely for dog-fighting, given that Fox News was against it.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

This is by far the best article/commentary I have read on this topic. I agree 100% and I was an Obama supporter. This has spoke volumes to me on the rational of the leader of our nation. It only happened what two years ago??? How do we know he is "reformed"? He is only "reformed" because he got caught. AND because he is a football player who happens to be doing good. Why didn't President Obama call the Eagles when they first signed him?? Because it would have been political suicide then. And you know what? I don't have that sympathy bone for convicted felons and feel so sorry for them not getting a second chance. They weren't made to commit a crime they chose to and there are consequences. Dog fighting is bad enough but to torture the ones who preformed bad is a whole new level of appalling.

Posted by: adahlstrom81 | December 29, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

After last night's pathetic performance, likely that the Eagles are regretting giving this sick animal a second chance.

Yes, Vick paid his debt to society. He will never be able to pay his debt to the dogs he tortured and killed.

NFL should have banned him for life.

Posted by: JCM-51 | December 29, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I certainly believe in second changes, but the second change Vick has received is too much. He is considered a hero by so many sports fans and young people. He is a sad, awful, terrible example for young people and should never have been a member of the Pro Bowl. Has he changed? Or is he acting?

If I had to chose between my dog or Vick's life, there would be no indecision on my part. He killed many dogs, and dogs are a gift from God to us, so what does that say about Vick?

Posted by: libertymeanslife | December 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Look, he did his time in prison for this incident and has to pay restitution for his actions. How many of you killed ants or any bugs in your life? We have people who come into our country from China who eat cats & dogs. During the summer olympics the Government of China asked shop owners to stop selling dog & cat during that period. I dont see any of you banning the lead products from china or banning people from china who eats dogs & cats. You guys still go to walmart to buy their products regardless of how they fry your cat & dog. Hypocrites.

Posted by: elsha | December 29, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

NMP1, sentences for what Michael Vick did are usually decades long.

Google "dog-fighting Alabama 102 years" to see the man there who actually received that sentence for it, and other very long sentences as well.

Still want to argue that Michael Vick paid a heavier price than others?

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Beauzaq, you're a A-hole.

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | December 29, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy here is so rancid the stench is almost coming through my computer. Say what you will but I am still waiting for the outrage from the National Organization of Women and women in general against Favre and Rotlisberger. I guess it's ok to disrespect and harass women but not dogs, which sort of shows you where women rank in America versus animals.

Posted by: Coodeh | December 29, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the many who are fed up with pro athletes getting undeserved opportunities, but I think Cohen is being unduly harsh with Vick. The prism through which he sees Vick's offenses is very limited. Ever attended a dog race in the deep South? The dog fighting is one step beyond that. Do I support what Vick did? No, it was disgusting. Do I support his rehabilitation? Yes, it's very obvious to me that he's grown up. He needed to be locked up to get to this point. Vick was the meal ticket for a lot of people -- including his family -- for a long time. And his father was not around. He never had a chance to develop as a decent man. He does now. Once a thug doesn't mean that Vick is a thug now. Cohen should learn that he can be disagreeable without being disrespectful.

Posted by: tjacobs1 | December 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

As with any other business, the NFL is well within its rights to determine who is eligible for employment.

What I find most troublesome about Vick and his defenders is their willingness to turn a blind eye to the fact that, unlike most of his knucklehead athletic peers who run afoul of the law, he ran a large-scale organized criminal enterprise for profit.

So far, Mr. Cohen is about the only member of the commentariat to even come close to acknowledging this fact. Sadder yet, he'll now be lambasted for doing so because, as we all know, Jews have it in for blacks.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | December 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I thought the USA is a Christian nation. The 'golden rule' does not seem to apply to this country. Pity.

Posted by: apocrypha | December 29, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I guess Christian forgiveness only applies if after you are "forgiven" you still remain downtrodden and unsuccessful, so they can still heap all that Christian pity on you.

Because God forbid you use that second chance to make a difference in people's lives, speak openly about what you did wrong, and aspire for success in your chosen profession. Because that is certainly not what Jesus wants...

Posted by: varunreg | December 29, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Great comedy article full of false indignation.
Keep the humor coming.

Posted by: robodog1 | December 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Vick should not have been welcomed back to the NFL for killing dogs (plural) period.
But worse yet are these commentators like Collinsworth who are constantly drooling over him. Howie Long actually compared Vicks absence from the NFl in his prime, to that of Joe D and Bob Feller's war service. Unbeleivable , I wanted to vomit.

Posted by: pc1971 | December 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Vick is a sick person. Period.

Posted by: gfhoward258 | December 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Michael Vick was given a second chance for 2 reasons:
1. He is a good, not great or exceptional, football player in a spotlight position, quarterback
2. He is black

Posted by: g30rg3544 | December 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

This is the lesson we can all take from this sorry episode. It's one thing to be sorry. It's much better to hit your man in the end zone.

Pretty mild, walkaway, RC, but good points and sentiments.

My own conclusion is more harsh.

Posted by: chalkholder | December 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen:
Pleeeeze....how do you know that Mr. Vick did not know any better? First of all look how hunters treat their animals. Is that not cruel? An animal is an animal and a human is human. So it is okay that the "great" Ray Lewis committed murder and is playing football. I cannot believe people respect him and let him play! Talk about a Thug as you so nicely said about Mr. Vick. Please explain the difference to me because so far no one has been able to. I think we live in a society where we worship the wrong people, pay athletes way too much money and have no respect for anyone or anything. That is why we are in the mess we are in! I love football but men like Ray Lewis and The Steelers quarterback (yes he's a thug too) and Plaxaco make it very difficult to respect the sport. Even Tom Brady is a terrible role model (yes, let's keep having babies out of wedlock). As far as I can tell Eli and Peyton Manning are the only people you can respect but they still make too much money and are far from idols they were just brought up with respect and no how to stay out of the spotlight. My feelings are if society can forgive Ray Lewis then why not forgive Michael Vick?

Posted by: suziehll4 | December 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This is an outrage, I guess we should of never forgiven Paul for torturing and killing christians either. And I guess the bible is wrong stating we should forgive 7x70 as well. It seems to me some of you think your so much superior than those that have sinned!!! Judge not less ye be judged!!
and remember but for the grace of God there go I

Posted by: wohwinner | December 29, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

We have choices here.

You can accept our good-but-imperfect justice system, in which case you may try to improve it, but you accept its results. If that's your choice, then Vick has been punished and it's time to move on.

You can reject our justice system, and be a vigilante. Ignore the punishments administered and come up with your own instead... and hope that you are never subjected to that system.

If you don't believe in the possibility of redemption, you should be working to make the only punishments be life sentences with no parole... or death sentences. Anything else and you're putting a lifelong criminal back on the streets.

I *love* dogs. I have two pet dogs. What Vick did was unconscionable. But... will his actions in the future be so? I do not believe that he will commit comparable crimes again. I could be wrong; that's a risk that we take when we release a criminal back into society. But the alternative's a lot worse.

Now, was this unfair in comparison to non-celebrity cases? Of course. But, which is wrong -- the way we're treating Vick or the way we're treating the average ex-convict? I think the latter.

Posted by: bfeist | December 29, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Cohen is 100% correct. Vick killed and tortured dogs because he LIKED doing it. He's a THUG and to celebrate someone like that getting a dream job and becoming a multi-millionare when so many good people can't get a job is.. SICK!!!

Posted by: sovine08 | December 29, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"You would think..."

Perhaps. If I were ignorant.

But I was reasonably informed and I still think if a person pays the penalty then they should be free to move on.

What do you want. Punishment forever? No forgiveness?

What blather.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 29, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Coodeh, if the President had endorsed Ben Roethlisberger, it would have been just as outrageous.

But for some reason, he didn't. He endorsed Michael Vick.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is if we accept Ray Lewis (a known murderer) and let him play pro football and make millions then we should accept Michael Vick. A person's life is by far worth more that an animal's. But in the society we live in today who knows anymore.

Posted by: suziehll4 | December 29, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is if we accept Ray Lewis (a known murderer) and let him play pro football and make millions then we should accept Michael Vick. A person's life is by far worth more that an animal's. But in the society we live in today who knows anymore.

Posted by: suziehll4 | December 29, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is if we accept Ray Lewis (a known murderer) and let him play pro football and make millions then we should accept Michael Vick. A person's life is by far worth more that an animal's. But in the society we live in today who knows anymore.

Posted by: suziehll4 | December 29, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The nation is a worse place for Vick's second chance. No person of conscience should contribute a nickel to him or professional football.

Posted by: falcon269 | December 29, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Suziehll4, few people are saying that Michael Vick should be banned from the NFL. (Although NFL contracts used to have morals and felony clauses that would have had that effect.)

People are saying that the President should not be making him into some kind of hero.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Well. Let's take look, here. Barack Hussein Obama/Barry Soetoro/Abu Hussain, obviously doesn't support Michael Vick because of the "Content of his Character". Vick hasn't any. He didn't go to Jeremiah Wright's "Church" because of the Uplifting Sermons. He didn't throw out the Black Panther Case, because there "Was no evidence". And he didn't call the Cambridge Police "Stupid", admittedly, "without knowing all the facts", because his friend is a Professor. He did all of these things, because of the Colour Of Their Skin. The very same reason that he STILL enjoys a 90% Approval Rating from Blacks?
Pete Rose is STILL not in The Hall Of Fame. He is STILL Banned from Baseball. Nothing DIED or was MURDERED, because Rose made a bet. But this RACIST President takes the time to CONGATULATE the owner of the Eagles, for giving this SADIST a break.
And you wonder why we have the problems that we have, under this BLACK RACIST President?

Posted by: GoomyGommy | December 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

First of all, let's not play the race card. If you research dog fighting, you will find that the majority are not African American. Let's play the "athlete card".

No matter what pro sport you would care to discuss, how many of these overpaid "athletes" commit crimes, from simple "assaults" (rape), to murder (Carolina Panthers player). I don't care whether they are black, white pink or purple. Pro athletes are, whether they know it or not, role models for our children, and for a bunch of adult idiots who worship them.

Yes, Vick was sent to 19 months in prison,not long enough in my opinion, but as he should have been for his absolute torture of helpless animals. He tortured, he did it for profit, and he did it for enjoyment. Nice role model.

Yes, he did his time, but I really had high hopes that no NFL team would ever touch him again. I was disappointed.

That's how this country works - do the crime, do your time, and then you get another chance. This is his second chance, for which he is paid well for. As much as I abhor what Vick did, will never respect this talented athlete again, and, frankly wish he would lose his great talent and just fade away from the NFL, he's getting his second chance. All I can do is hope he fails at it.

Posted by: sandyc69 | December 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Come on people..What do you want to do? Your making this a life sentence. The Courts past judgement and he's served his time. He lost a ton of money and seems to be trying to make things right. If you get a traffic ticket should you stop driving. Football is what he does; you'd want to deny him the right to make a living. Is it the dogs that bug you or that he's a ballplayer or maybe he's black (I'm white by the way).
He made a mistake; it was cruel and stupid but, he's paid for it.
You can't keep punishing ex-felons or you cut millions (yes millions) of people out of a chance to build a new life.
Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Posted by: bob7704 | December 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bob7704. Pete Rose is STILL BANNED! Too bad he isn't Black. He might be the Commisioner, today Idiot.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | December 29, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

spike591011 showed alot of class with all the swearing. Ya spiky, you sure make your point sounding like an idiot with the 4 letter words..Good Job !

Posted by: bob7704 | December 29, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Not like I have sympathy, but I AM tired of hearing everyone b* and moan over this.

He served his time. F* you all.

Posted by: RandomAnon | December 29, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Bob7704. Maybe we can get some Pedophiles to teach your kids, in school? That would be good. Right? We can find some Pedophiles who were School Teachers, and got caught MOLESTING some of their young students.
According to Genius Bob7704:"Teaching is what they do. You don't want to deny them the RIGHT to make a living. Do you? Or should we make it "A Life Sentence"?
Again - IDIOT.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | December 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey Goomey..Pete Rose wasn't an active player when he was banned. He made millions selling 2 books.Nobody tried to stop those.
He bet on at least 5 games he was playing or coaching.

Posted by: bob7704 | December 29, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Vick was sent to prison. That he served his time, got another job in the NFL making money, and is now a tax paying citizen is a very important element. He's not on the dole, shooting heroin, or robbing banks. Vick will never do what he did with animals ever again. Whether it's because he's morally enlightened or doesn't ever want to go to prison again... who cares. You ain't no bowl of fruit either, Cohen.

Posted by: BernardL | December 29, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Cohen's argument would carry a lot more weight if he did it professionally. When you call someone an animal you cease to be able to make a coherent argument. Lest we forget your past.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 29, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Goomey..how can you connect playing football to child molesting? You have a very strange (if not sick mind)
People that disagree with you are branded IDIOTS...very interesting

Posted by: bob7704 | December 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Why do so many commenters here believe that, just because Michael Vick served the astonishingly light sentence he received (far from the 102 years another dog-fighter recently was given), it is entirely right and proper that he be held up as a hero and role model?

The man is neither a hero nor a role model. He refuses even to abide by the terms of his parole, attending parties where drugs are being used and shooting breaks out. Any other parolee would be back in prison after doing that.

It really is unfathomable that the President could endorse this sort of behavior.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Bingo.
Thank you Mr. Cohen, for speaking so eloquently for so many of us on this issue.

Posted by: jdVA | December 29, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

There are dog lovers (me), and dog haters (Vick supporters). There are celebrity lovers (Vick supporters), and celebrity haters (me). Looks like the twain will never meet, but dog haters and torturers are psychopaths and anyone who admires them is suspect too.

Posted by: hydra2 | December 29, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen is 100 percent dead on correct in this column and I thank God that we still have writers who are able look at this garbage and call it exactly what it is. "A nation of jock-sniffers always looks away when a great athlete does something wrong." Cohen should win an award for that sentence. I have never been more ashamed of this country, this President, or the human race. At least I am grateful that Mr. Cohen has restored some of my faith that not everyone is so lacking in humanity or integrity.

Posted by: nyc98765 | December 29, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen and All,

Who cares what Michael Vick does or has done. When they were attempting to find the dogs homes after they raided his house, were you first in line to help? No, and no one on this post response was either. We as people always talk about the moral high ground and how we should not let this behavior happen, yet everyday the same people complaining on this post do something in-humane, improper, or other wise not in the best interest of morality. We cruise around in a 10 mile per gallon car, buy our children first person shooting games which promote violence and death, and we all would rather ignore a public fight, then intervene a death in progress (don't know what I mean, look at You Tube videos).

The reason Michael Vick is back playing is because "we" as a society wanted him back. We sit here and scorn him for his behavior, yet do the same things everyday in our behaviors. The NFL, the barbaric game, has the highest ratings of any show on TV ever. Heck, we even have filtered it down into our business and advertising practices. Superbowl adds are proof of that. We even as a society have gotten our blood lust from other sports such as MMA, which is one of the fastest expanding sport is the world at present time.

Quit telling me Michael Vick was the problem, Michael Vick just got caught, is all. I would reason he has done more to turn himself around than 3/4 of the people complaining on this post.

Posted by: duckie86 | December 29, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's see....Vick got the most votes of any NFC player for the ProBowl, his jersey is the top selling jersey in the NFL and the Eagles games have dominated the ratings.

what were you haters saying again?

Posted by: mlrice710 | December 29, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

mlrice710, I guess we're saying that the President cares more about bad-boy athletes who can throw a mean football than obscure ex-cons struggling to rebuild their lives and the altruistic small business owners who give them a chance.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Agree with the "jock sniffer" mentality. If it had been Joe Blow who owns the local grocery store torturing animals for the profit and fun of it, good old Joe would have gotten a longer sentence. When old Joe gets out of prison for his crime, what does he have to come home to? Nothing.

But this is THE MICHAEL VICK we are talking about. Star NFL, got a lighter sentence than others convicted for the same crime. Gets out and get's his second chance with the NFL, is payed handsomely.

The term "jock sniffer" works perfectly. Nice role model for your children, don't ya think?

Posted by: sandyc69 | December 29, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

itzajob, "we" can say whatever "we" want too. And? The President already talked about helping ex-cons, LAST YEAR. In fact, there was a whole lot about it on whitehouse.gov....so "we" really need to stop lying or start lying better.

Posted by: mlrice710 | December 29, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen's article is superb. It's a pity Michael Vick's dogs didn't get second chances.

Posted by: cross3 | December 29, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

I really don't see how this applies in this case. He wasn't doing it for the money, to further his career, to help his family, or because he was forced to in any way. It was "sport" to him. So, we've all been in his shoes, in that we all have the chance to be cruel to animals every day, and the decent among us don't. Not because we're afraid of punishment, but because we recognize that it is wrong. If he hadn't been caught and jailed, would he have stopped doing it?

Posted by: lizgwiz | December 29, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

mlrice710, who said you couldn't say what you want? You've made it clear you believe that the only thing important to you in this world is cool football players who sell lots of jerseys.

It's your right to say that, and many of us will go down fighting to ensure that both you and the President can endorse whatever repulsive values you want.

But that doesn't mean I have to vote for either of you ever again.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

itzajob...ooooooooo...you're not gonna vote for Obama....ooooooo....yeah, ok. I'm sure the sun will still rise.

Posted by: mlrice710 | December 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's clear that the middle schools are off today. Enjoy your holiday, mlrice710!

Posted by: Itzajob | December 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Once again, self righteous people casting judgement on others. Hilarious!!!Everyone here...and I do mean EVERYONE...has made mistakes. For the record, I absolutely love dogs, matter of fact, my retriever Rusty is 10 years old and thought of him dying soon makes me very sad, however the man (Vick) has paid his debt to society. He continues to talk to kids about dogfighting and keep in mind, he doesn't have to, he has already met his court ordered requirements to do so. He wants to do it because he is very remorseful for his past crimes. He spent 18 months in jail for killing dogs, but yet celebrities like Charlie Sheen can continue to beat up women (which is assault), act an ass, and get probation. Remember Mary Winkler? She shot her husband in the back while he slept in a bed. Do you know how much time she served in prison? 7 months (actually it was a mental institution, she is currently on probation working at a dry cleaners)!!! 7 months for KILLING a human being. According to reports, she was abused, but that still doesn't give a person the right to take the law into their own hands. Look folks, get over this thing with Michael Vick. What he did was digusting and horrible there is noooo debating that, but he has served his time and for idiots like Tucker Carlson (who names their kid "Tucker") to say that Vick should be executed is just down right ridiculous. If you can't forgive Michael Vick, then that is your business...but keep that in mind when you are standing in front of your maker on judgment day!!!!

Posted by: thejrilshow | December 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Not to defend Michael Vick, but he's paid his debt in full. Bernie Marcus, the former partner of Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, has been cruelly imprisoning whales in the Georgia Aquarium and has killed at least five of them so far. Where's the outrage from all you animal lovers?

Posted by: sleeplessinmarietta | December 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, Thank you very much for this outstanding commentary--it took courageous and conviction--something severly lacking in these troubled times!

This is truly the "age of stupid"

Posted by: glo8110 | December 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Most of you are being a little dramatic about this, the reality is that Vick is one of the few people to serve time for cruelty to animals. Whether many of the selfish righteous commenters realize it or not there are plenty of people out there that are oblivious to cruelty to animals and they have to be taught like Vick was and we are being too pessimistic to if we believe that it is impossible for Vick or any other person to learn a lesson. It is also unrealistic to think that people will go to prison for life for cruelty to animals at the end of the day Vick committed a crime and he served his punishment, the law isn't designed to be a moral judge and read minds it is designed to correct behavior and as far as I can see it has and if this is about accountability he is one of the few that has been held accountable.

We all know that he isn't typical but lets not forget that only one team wanted to sign a former pro-bowl player, at the request of one of it's own players, and he came on the team as a 3rd string back-up, so his current level of achievement has little to do with him receiving the chance that he got and no one expected this; before he wasn't that great a quarterback but being a great athlete compensated for a lot of his flaws and no one knew if he was going to be the same athlete after two years off. It is not about sympathy it is about believing in rehabilitation and not condemning people for life after they have done wrong if they serve their punishment. So Vick may not be typical but the principle still stands that if a person commits a crime, serves their punishment and amends their behavior they should not be held back from gainful employment and society will be much better and have lower recidivism rates if people realize this.

Besides the angst regarding Vick is somewhat selective and inconsistent just because he is famous. Both Dog and horse racing involve brutal training methods which include being beaten and drugged, they often suffer from broken bones and internal bleeding, the female horses that breeders use are pregnant 90% of their lives, some of the dogs are mutilated, and when they are of no more use they are slaughtered. We also live in a country that has brutal practices in it's meat industry, we kill animals for sport (hunting), even the "kinder" sport fisherman still puts hooks in the mouths of fish and pulls them out of the water so that they can't breath before throwing them back. We also kill pets who get old or sick when we don't feel like dealing with them anymore, it may not be as cruel but there isn't a totally non-cruel way to kill an animal and especially considering they are killed because a person is just tired of taking care of them. So zeroing in on Vick, as if he is the only or most cruel person to animals ever, has just as much to do with football if not more, as people claim his second chance is.

Posted by: omar_muhammad1 | December 29, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Using the Race Card is bad enough and now some are playing the Jesus Card.

The real point is why does Obama think Vick and the Eagles are so praiseworthy? Cohen is right, redemption is much easier when you can throw touchdowns.

Posted by: bbface21 | December 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Vick is a d bag, I hope the Eagles get pummeled in every game and may Vick suffer a career ending injury.

Posted by: elbuzz1 | December 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

One other fact to mention--DOG FIGHTING IS UP THREE-FOLD IN PHILADELPHIA SINCE MICHAEL VICK JOINED THE EAGLES!!!

He sure is doing a great job of educating kids, right! In other words "do as I say not as I do" never did work. Also, you all know in your heart that you would never take turns slamming a dog to the ground (by the way it took ten minutes and was verified by authorities) because she lost a fight! This has noting to do with God--use your free-will and intellect to determine whether this is the behavior of a FIST-CLASS SOCIAPATH!!!

Posted by: glo8110 | December 29, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Everyone has made mistakes, huh? Like holding a dog by its legs and dashing its brains out? That kind of misake? In fact, very very few people make that kind of "mistake" because it involves complete and sociopathic lack of empathy. Hardly anyone has made that kind of mistake. Do you know ONE person in your whole life who made that "mistake"? I'm sure not. Unless you are Michael Vick's friend?

Posted by: truck1 | December 29, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

One other fact to mention--DOG FIGHTING IS UP THREE-FOLD IN PHILADELPHIA SINCE MICHAEL VICK JOINED THE EAGLES!!!

He sure is doing a great job of educating kids, right! In other words "do as I say not as I do" never did work. Also, you all know in your heart that you would never take turns slamming a dog to the ground (by the way it took ten minutes and was verified by authorities) because she lost a fight! This has nothing to do with God--use your free-will and intellect to determine whether this is the behavior of a FIST-CLASS SOCIOPATH!!! We now have proof that child and women abusers start there obsessions by abusing animals! Truly this is the age of stupid!

Posted by: glo8110 | December 29, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ok -
Didn't Big BenRothlesberger brutally sexually assault a human being??? It's intersting how no one is calling for him to be lynched.

Posted by: Southsider | December 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This message is for omar_muhammad1,

Please do not tell me that you are suggesting that two wrongs make a right!!! that is an insult to your intelligence and to the audience you address.

Also, Omar, animals have there own purpose on this planet--they are not here for your eating pleasure, entertainment or any other perverted use you may have! From you name I would think that you know that. Gandhi even espoused the doctrine of animal abuse by stating "A nation will be judged by the way it treats their Animals" Answer please!

Posted by: glo8110 | December 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The reason that any knuckle-dragger like Vick gets a second chance is because White Guilt allows him a free pass into society.

Next we'll concoct some `diversity' theory that says low-lifes like Vick are simply living an alternative African-American lifestyle that our society just doesn't understand, let along appreciate.

Everytime this perverse excuse of a human being throws a football, it's covered in blood.

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | December 29, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok -
Didn't Big BenRothlesberger brutally sexually assault a human being??? It's intersting how no one is calling for him to be lynched.

Posted by: Southsider

===========================================

Didn't know that Rothlesberger was tried, convicted and served prison time for a crime like Vick did.

Posted by: bbface21 | December 29, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Michael Vick got a second chance because the judge gave him a sentence that ended before his skills eroded (unlike Mike Tyson) and thus he still has employable skills. All other comparisons to those without convictions are nonsense. When his football skills falter, then we will see if he truly has changed.

Posted by: scottNV | December 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Every day people go out and murder animals for no reason. In fact to be a credible candidate, you have to prove you're man enough to murder Bambi. Where's the outrage
when the people on this blog eat cows and chickens everyday? Give me a break. In the South, many people for whatever reason have dog fights and chicken fights. I've never heard of anyone going to jail for this.

Posted by: Southsider | December 29, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't know that Rothlesberger was tried, convicted and served prison time for a crime like Vick did."
Exactly! Why wasn't he tried and convicted like Michael Vick??

Posted by: Southsider | December 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

HIDE the Beagle-Vicks an Eagle--===waterboarding dogs is sick---this man is NOT seeing a shrink ? Than who the hell is ?

Posted by: bulldogss | December 29, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Chop Logic Southsider--two wrongs do not make a right--incidentally beware of what you speak--I have not not used, abused, eaten, worn (no fur leather or wool) in over ten years.

I am an ethicial Vegan. So do not assume that everybody who posts uses animals including fish, eggs or milk in any shape or form. Albert Einstien, Albert Sweitzer and Leonado DaVinci (quote: "Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.")
-Thomas Edison
were all ethical vegans, There will never be peace on this planet until we embrace this doctrine

Please do some research because the preservation of our society and the planet depend on it!!

Posted by: glo8110 | December 29, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Cohen! Finally, a piece on the Vick/Obama flap that captures what an overwhelming majority of Americans actually think. I also agree with Tucker Carlson's comments.

Thanks to both of you for having the guts to take a strong stand against Vick's serial dog torturing, which is a separate crime on top of dog fighting and for which Vick has not served a single day in prison, thanks to the corrupt local prosecutor who showed up arm in arm with Vick's mom at his federal sentencing, sitting on the defense side. Disgusting.

Vick is lucky not to be serving a life sentence, like other (white) dog fighters who were sentenced around that time for running a similar size dog fighting ring. Apologists for Vick are apologists for dog fighting, plain and simple, and we have no room for that in this nation of dog lovers. Another huge misstep by the president, one that has officially lost my vote in 2012.

Posted by: VirginiaDad | December 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Argghhh. When is he going to ask about the dogs? Thank God some of them got a second chance--at life, not some dang game that exists for entertainment.

http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2010/12/29/when-the-president-calls-about-the-vick-dogs/

Posted by: jbbbj2 | December 29, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Takes a thug to sympathize with a thug. But Conehead has no animus for the president who committed the act of intervening on a thug's behalf. Wake up people. Obama is a low life.

Posted by: lavistabb | December 29, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing after reading these posts the vindictiveness of most of these people. I bet many of them go to church, synagogue, mosque or whatever supposed religious background they may have. Being an animal lover is an admirable things. However, of greater magnitude is the forgiveness of one's sin. I wonder how many of these sanctimonious writers have committed sin? Every one of them. Sin is sin. It is just that man's law determines how a man is to be punished. Who are we to judge and say that God has not forgiven Michael Vick because some have such vitriolic hate for the man. That, in and of itself, is a sin. I've seen more compassion for people who have beaten, brutalized and killed babies and other innocent people.

If these "compassionate" animal lovers had as much compassionate for their fellow man. "Judge not lest ye be judged." It's so wonderful to hear from such sin-free, law-abiding people (never had a speeding ticket, never stolen a pencil from work, never used the company's supplies for their own personal use). Again, sin is sin. No one is judged for the magnitude of their sin. Just look at Saul's conversion to Paul.

You've vilified Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Marion Jones, Janet Jackson and the list can go on and on. Makes one wonder....hmm!

Posted by: bander2400 | December 29, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

From the two posts above:

This article is exactly right. I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick.

I look forward to the day when Michael Vick's on field performance falls short -- and hope that rather than cutting him, the management of the Philadelphia Eagles will treat him with the same solicitude he treated his victims as they drown, hang, or execute the over-the-hill QB.

*************************************

I would bet a nickel to a thousand dollars that these two jerks are so called christians.

I'm guessing what they feel and suggest is what Jesus would want, right? ;-)
===========================================
Not having been to church in 20+ years, I would hardly call myself a bible thumping holy roller - an agnostic is about as close as I get. What I don't get however are imbeciles who want to make everything about religion and worse yet those who think just because someone is religious, they automatically need to be a doormat for the world.

There was plenty of killing, government sanctioned and otherwise, during the times of Jesus and I'm not completely sure that Vick would have escaped that punishment had he lived then.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | December 29, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

You've vilified Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Marion Jones, Janet Jackson and the list can go on and on. Makes one wonder....hmm!

Posted by: bander2400 | December 29, 2010 2:03 PM |
============================================
Yeah - Like the world has never read a post or story about a white person being vilified. You bander are a racists idiot and are too stupid to realize it!!!

Posted by: Bcamp55 | December 29, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know how Cohen feels about Big Ben (allegedly) raping three women. Just because he was never tried or convicted, it doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't rape those women. Dog fighting is barbaric, but so is rape.

Posted by: CAmira5 | December 29, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Should Vick have gotten a second chance? Yes. It just shouldn't have been in football. What he did was heinous, but he served his time. Let him start fresh working in a different field. Pay him minimum wage to sell food at football games, not play in them. Let him learn like all other convicted felons how difficult it is to find a decent job. He deserves the right to try and make a living, but he forfeited the privilege of making millions playing a game.

Posted by: crassostrea | December 29, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Most people deserve second chances. Most people. Where do we draw the line - Ted Bundy? Charles Manson? Idi Amin?

Vick is a vicious, sadistic thug. He routinely tortured dogs, and killed them in cruel, sadistic ways. Anyone who derives pleasure from deliberately hurting animals - especially dogs, who bond with humans more readily than any other animal on earth - has a sick and rotten soul.

Vick also lied to the NFL commissioner and the public about his sadistic activities, and only fessed up when faced with the overwhelming evidence of his guilt that led to his criminal conviction.

Second chance? Maybe. But when the President of the United States lauds and praises a sick, vicious, and sadistic thug like Michael Vick as an exemplar of redemption then we know that the moral rot that is slowly eating away at this country has gone too far.

A fish rots from the head down. I've supported Obama and defended him from his critics on many issues - until now. Obama has gone too far, and we need to vote him out in 2012 if we want to recover even a slim amount of national decency.

Posted by: slowroller | December 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Muslims hate dogs. 0bama doesn't seem to have much respect for the dogs killed and maimed by Mr. Vick. Interesting.

Posted by: cruiszn | December 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this comment was appropriate for Pres. Obama to make at all. Vick got off lightly for his offenses and then was able to go right back to his old profession, no problem. That does not happen for your typical felon.

As for those complaining that dog fighting didn't get national attention until a FB player got caught, well that's because it was an UNDERGROUND problem before a celebrity got caught. This has nothing to do with Vick's race; it has everything to do with the attention-grabbing headlines that a professional, respected FB star was caught torturing animals.

Also, depending on where you live in the country, dog fighting does get air time. In California, dog fighting rings that are broken up frequently get air time. News is driven by numbers now, not by the importance of stories.

What Vick did is horrifying and disgusting. Like all celebrities that commit egregious crimes, he should have been made an example of. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen because money buys you the law in this country. I don't advocate murdering the guy, but I wouldn't object to him being electrocuted a bit, just to feel what those poor pups went through. Or have a pit bull maul him, but not to death.

And he should never, ever be allowed to have any type of animal ever again. It's questionable whether he should be allowed to be around children, since animal abusers often do not understand the sanctity of life and go on to abuse children or people they consider "lesser" than themselves.

I wish all dog fighters could go through that type of punishment. If vigilantism was allowed, I'd go around punishing them all. It disgusts me when people harm other living beings just because they have the ability to do so. That is exactly what occurs with dog fighting and child abuse.

Posted by: cartoonsrock | December 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this comment was appropriate for Pres. Obama to make at all. Vick got off lightly for his offenses and then was able to go right back to his old profession, no problem. That does not happen for your typical felon.

As for those complaining that dog fighting didn't get national attention until a FB player got caught, well that's because it was an UNDERGROUND problem before a celebrity got caught. This has nothing to do with Vick's race; it has everything to do with the attention-grabbing headlines that a professional, respected FB star was caught torturing animals.

Also, depending on where you live in the country, dog fighting does get air time. In California, dog fighting rings that are broken up frequently get air time. News is driven by numbers now, not by the importance of stories.

What Vick did is horrifying and disgusting. Like all celebrities that commit egregious crimes, he should have been made an example of. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen because money buys you the law in this country. I don't advocate murdering the guy, but I wouldn't object to him being electrocuted a bit, just to feel what those poor pups went through. Or have a pit bull maul him, but not to death.

And he should never, ever be allowed to have any type of animal ever again. It's questionable whether he should be allowed to be around children, since animal abusers often do not understand the sanctity of life and go on to abuse children or people they consider "lesser" than themselves.

I wish all dog fighters could go through that type of punishment. If vigilantism was allowed, I'd go around punishing them all. It disgusts me when people harm other living beings just because they have the ability to do so. That is exactly what occurs with dog fighting and child abuse.

Posted by: cartoonsrock | December 29, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The SINGLE reason Obama publicized his feelings for THIS ex-con is for the racial split it will cause among Americans. White Americans forgive easily, however why this topic and not some other worthy event? Here's why ....

Dog fighting is not looked upon as a serious event in some ethnic cultures in our urban centers in the south...yet it is viewed as a very sick and sadistic human failing throughout most of American culture. Obama knows this.

By opining about a peculiarly sick crime, he knew he would create a racial dichotomy hence Obama took his shot...the smartest man in America DOES NOT really think the idea of Mike Vick being permitted to play football is illustrative of an event important enough to opine on. But it does work for Obama's political needs.

Runaway moral and political madness is gripping the nation and the media MUST do their job to illuminate the insanity that is being promoted by the White House.

Posted by: TJFod1 | December 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Some of the comments posted here are laughable!!! Wow...people playing the race card, others playing the Jesus card, funny stuff!!!! God Bless the USA!!!!

Posted by: thejrilshow | December 29, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The SINGLE reason Obama publicized his feelings for THIS ex-con is for the racial split it will cause among Americans. White Americans forgive easily, however why this topic and not some other worthy event? Here's why ....

Dog fighting is not looked upon as a serious event in some ethnic cultures in our urban centers in the south...yet it is viewed as a very sick and sadistic human failing throughout most of American culture. Obama knows this.

By opining about a peculiarly sick crime, he knew he would create a racial dichotomy hence Obama took his shot...the smartest man in America DOES NOT really think the idea of Mike Vick being permitted to play football is illustrative of an event important enough to opine on. But it does work for Obama's political needs.

Runaway moral and political madness is gripping the nation and the media MUST do their job to illuminate the insanity that is being promoted by the White House.

Posted by: TJFod1 | December 29, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

To bcamp55...first of all, you don't know me to know what who I am. Second, the truth always hurts. Let's vilify Bret Favre, Ben Rothliesberger, Mark Maguire, just to name a few. Sorry, it takes a lot for some people to fall, i.e., Lindsay Lohan. So, go suck on your S'mores with your heroine, Sarah Palin and all the other racists.

Posted by: bander2400 | December 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The SINGLE reason Obama publicized his feelings for THIS ex-con is for the racial split it will cause among Americans. White Americans forgive easily, however why this topic and not some other worthy event? Here's why ....

Dog fighting is not looked upon as a serious event in some ethnic cultures in our urban centers in the south...yet it is viewed as a very sick and sadistic human failing throughout most of American culture. Obama knows this.

By opining about a peculiarly sick crime, he knew he would create a racial dichotomy hence Obama took his shot...the smartest man in America DOES NOT really think the idea of Mike Vick being permitted to play football is illustrative of an event important enough to opine on. But it does work for Obama's political needs.

Runaway moral and political madness is gripping the nation and the media MUST do their job to illuminate the insanity that is being promoted by the White House.

Posted by: TJFod1 | December 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The SINGLE reason Obama publicized his feelings for THIS ex-con is for the racial split it will cause among Americans. White Americans forgive easily, however why this topic and not some other worthy event? Here's why ....

Dog fighting is not looked upon as a serious event in some ethnic cultures in our urban centers in the south...yet it is viewed as a very sick and sadistic human failing throughout most of American culture. Obama knows this.

By opining about a peculiarly sick crime, he knew he would create a racial dichotomy hence Obama took his shot...the smartest man in America DOES NOT really think the idea of Mike Vick being permitted to play football is illustrative of an event important enough to opine on. But it does work for Obama's political needs.

Runaway moral and political madness is gripping the nation and the media MUST do their job to illuminate the insanity that is being promoted by the White House.

Posted by: TJFod1 | December 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Some of the comments posted here are laughable!!! Wow...people are playing the race card, others playing the Jesus card, funny stuff!!!! And for those of you who are critizing the president for commenting on Vick....(shaking my head)!!! I guess it is against the law for the president to be a sports fan! And don't give me that crap about the POTUS caring more about an athlete than running the country...ridiculous!! Because you can only concentrate on one thing at a time, don't get mad at others who have mastered the skill!!! Geez, you people are funny!!!! God Bless the USA!!!!

Posted by: thejrilshow | December 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing laughable about this.

Our nation's president has chosen to comment on this from his vacation in Hawaii while we have people at war with a sadistic enemy, an economy teterring and educational system in last place?

He chooses to make Mike Vick an item worthy of emulation? Sick, putrid and worthy of national disgust.

Posted by: TJFod1 | December 29, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I really wish people will get off of Vick's back. Have you ever watched animal planet where people starve animals to death and a whole host of other things. How many serve 2 years in jail. Most of them have been brought to court more than once. where is the outrage on that? I do not condone what Vick did I am an owner of a pit that I love dearly, but what would make people happy? There are people in the NFL that have assulted women, killed someone in DUI related situations and no one is screaming the way they are about Vick. Why is the real problem? Pres. Obama was right to praise the second chance that we all say ex cons are sure to get when they get our of jail but rarely ever do. Nothing would make people happy but to see this man and his family poor and broke. But that is not happening cause say what you want to say he is beast on the field. Even though they lost yesterday he will still make the playoffs and I hope the he makes it to the super bowl. But regardless if he makes it or not he is about to get a fat contract next year. So please vick haters choke on that! Thanks!

Posted by: pplgetagrip | December 29, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, thanks for an excellent article. I couldn't have said it better myself. As a conservative I don't find myself agreeing with you very often but what you said was right on. Vick was so much more than a dog fighter. He was pure evil and enjoyed the torture. He won't change. I wish him the worst.

Posted by: sfl109415 | December 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, this column ekes of sincerity and good judgment. You are so right and you expressed your indignation of Vick very well.

It seems that talented sports figures can do anything and be forgiven if they have superior sports talents, which apparently Vick does.

The president's call was as disgusting as Vick's crimes were. Both should be ashamed of themselves.

Just another instance of Obama courting the black vote - congratulate a black felon and win more votes. Disgusting.

Posted by: Kansas28 | December 29, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm truly sickened today. I agree with so many of your comments so I won't repeat what has already been said so well.

Surely everyone knows that someone that can do this type of evil to dogs, over and over again - it is a premeditated behavior. It is not a spur-of-the-moment rage, a type of depression, etc. It's a premeditated act of evil that takes a certain mindset to be able to complete it. And, then be able to do it again and again. He gained something from this - a type of enjoyment. That's what is so concerning; it's a sickness that isn't treated with prison time, and my opinion is that it never goes away. Just like pedophiles; they are treated to stop the impulses but they are never cured. What about all the great serial killers of our time - they are known to have started out torturing and killing animals. I'm not saying that Vick will go on to that - I'm saying that it's an evil mindset that isn't just cured. Vick can never be cured so to say he has been rehabilitated is a joke. What evidence do we have of the treatment program he went through to rehabilitate this type of evilness?

Which brings me around to my point, one that no one has brought up yet. Vick has been allowed to own a dog again!! What is wrong with our society and the judge who 'changed' his mind?!? I want to scream! Not only that - he was able to buy a beagle! I say again - buy - not get one from the pound but 'buy' a beagle. And it's a beagle - a stubborn dog who doesn't like to listen and is hard to housetrain. I should know I have four of these lovely creatures. So now what happens when this beagle decides not to listen to Vick?? Performs poorly?? Who or what establishment will check on that beagle to make sure it's safe?

I do not think he should be allowed to do a lot of things but I certainly do not think he should be allowed to own a dog ever again! That is the biggest travesty. My heart is just sick. SICK.
eklyworldnews.com/sports/26094/michael-vick-new-dog/

Posted by: beagleluver | December 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, my link wasn't complete; here is the entire post again with the completed link:
---------------------
I'm truly sickened today. I agree with so many of your comments so I won't repeat what has already been said so well.

Surely everyone knows that someone that can do this type of evil to dogs, over and over again - it is a premeditated behavior. It is not a spur-of-the-moment rage, a type of depression, etc. It's a premeditated act of evil that takes a certain mindset to be able to complete it. And, then be able to do it again and again. He gained something from this - a type of enjoyment. That's what is so concerning; it's a sickness that isn't treated with prison time, and my opinion is that it never goes away. Just like pedophiles; they are treated to stop the impulses but they are never cured. What about all the great serial killers of our time - they are known to have started out torturing and killing animals. I'm not saying that Vick will go on to that - I'm saying that it's an evil mindset that isn't just cured. Vick can never be cured so to say he has been rehabilitated is a joke. What evidence do we have of the treatment program he went through to rehabilitate this type of evilness?

Which brings me around to my point, one that no one has brought up yet. Vick has been allowed to own a dog again!! What is wrong with our society and the judge who 'changed' his mind?!? I want to scream! Not only that - he was able to buy a beagle! I say again - buy - not get one from the pound but 'buy' a beagle. And it's a beagle - a stubborn dog who doesn't like to listen and is hard to housetrain. I should know I have four of these lovely creatures. So now what happens when this beagle decides not to listen to Vick?? Performs poorly?? Who or what establishment will check on that beagle to make sure it's safe?

I do not think he should be allowed to do a lot of things but I certainly do not think he should be allowed to own a dog ever again! That is the biggest travesty. My heart is just sick. SICK.
http://weeklyworldnews.com/sports/26094/michael-vick-new-dog/

Posted by: beagleluver | December 29, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am an animal lover and I think what Mike Vick did was wrong, but I am so tired of this issue being talked about. This man went to jail, paying for his crime. I hope Mr. Vick knows how lucky he was to get a chance to play in the NFL again. The Eagles owner was under no obligation to choose him to play for their team and I think the President, in his comments was not supporting Mr. Vick but supporting giving a second chance.

Posted by: collegebound1 | December 29, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I realy think everone deserves a second chance.

Posted by: DCRouse400 | December 29, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Vick's a bad egg, probably unreformed in his interiors. But I'm sick and tired of listening to people who are sick and tired.

Posted by: whyadam | December 29, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen,

for the FIRST time, i completely agree with you on something! BUT having said that, i'm sorry that you didn't chide (if not outright attack) BHO for "cozying up to" an animal torturer.

frankly, as an animal lover, i cannot/will not ever forgive Micharl Vick for what he DID and/or have any respect whatever for BHO.

as i've said before on this forum, IF one percent of the voters decided to engage in cannibalism, BHO would embrace it as "just another acceptable & alternate lifestyle" & offer free "White House Recipes" for cooking people. =====> BHO is simply "a creature without honor".

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | December 29, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost, the subject of the President's message was on second chances for felons. And, more signifigantly, the courage it takes to hire ex-felons. It would be hard, if not impossible, for anyone to argue against that message. Otherwise, the courts would in reality be sentencing Vick to life -- not 2 years. I hope people can change -- and so should you, b/c there are skeletons in all of our closets. And, let's be honest, NFL teams were not lining up to hire Vick.

Second, called ANYONE an animal and thug is reprehensible. I could call the author a moron and an idiot -- but it would be more honest to say that the author wrote a moronic, idiodic and uniformed piece. This is just another example of our current press overexaturing their message, which isn't doing any favors for our society. Maybe, one day, this author will learn from his mistakes, and make the same effort that Vick is making in retribution.

Posted by: bmanwar8 | December 29, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost, the subject of the President's message was on second chances for felons. And, more signifigantly, the courage it takes to hire ex-felons. It would be hard, if not impossible, for anyone to argue against that message. Otherwise, the courts would in reality be sentencing Vick to life -- not 2 years. I hope people can change -- and so should you, b/c there are skeletons in all of our closets. And, let's be honest, NFL teams were not lining up to hire Vick.

Second, calling ANYONE an animal and thug is reprehensible. I could call the author a moron and an idiot -- but it would be more honest to say that the author wrote a moronic, idiodic and uniformed piece. This is just another example of our current press overexaturing their message, which isn't doing any favors for our society. Maybe, one day, this author will learn from his mistakes, and make the same effort that Vick is making in retribution.

Posted by: bmanwar8 | December 29, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Michael Vic should not ever be allowed to own any pet . Not now, not ever. He is a sick and dangerous individual. His 'brief' incarceration was nothing more than a slap on the wrist , an inconvenience. He emerged from jail only to be rewarded with a multi-million dollar sports contract and pseudo-hero status. He has not and will not ever be 'rehabilitated' . All this talk about 'repenting' and being a changed man in pure PR B---S--, being done to appease the big $ sponsors who fear the backlash of those who truly do love and care for animals.... and considering there are over 40 million households in the USA who own 1 or more pets.... that is a lot of potential lost business.

Posted by: mb000 | December 29, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This message is for glo8110,

[Please do not tell me that you are suggesting that two wrongs make a right!!! that is an insult to your intelligence and to the audience you address.]

I did not suggest that two wrongs make a right and it seems that you didn't read the whole thing before responding which is an insult to the writer(me). I believe I pointed out that Vick was wrong and that he served his punishment, and that society is best served by allowing people to amend their behavior after serving a punishment instead of condemning them for life for every offense.

Maybe you made the mistake of thinking that mentioning other instances of cruelty to animals means that one justifies the other; if you would read the whole thing that is hardly what I said. I actually pointed out that the vitriol that is reserved for Mike Vick isn't directed at other offenders is a result of the spectacle that his fame produces and not genuine concern for animals.

[Also, Omar, animals have there own purpose on this planet--they are not here for your eating pleasure, entertainment or any other perverted use you may have! From you name I would think that you know that.]

What does my name have to do with anything? Maybe you think I am Indian, I'm not and neither is my name.

[Gandhi even espoused the doctrine of animal abuse by stating "A nation will be judged by the way it treats their Animals"]

Yes, I know this, I also know that India had animal rights laws, over a 2 thousand years before Ghandi (see King Ashoka) however these random facts are irrelevant to the issue of Mike Vick or anyone else getting a second chance after serving their time for the crime they committed.

[Answer please!]
Done.

Posted by: omar_muhammad1 | December 29, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Boy oh boy, you liberals fracture me. On the one hand you oppose the death penalty for even the most heinous violent criminals but on the other that doesn't hold for those who may hurt an animal. Vick paid his dues, really much more than anyone ever has in the arena of dog-fighting criminals. Give him a break and allow him to rehabilitate and grow up. After all, what human did he ever hurt?

Posted by: GulfShoresMan | December 29, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Living in the "Inner city" of early 1990's Washington, DC, (though I currently live in the same house I would no longer describe it as "inner city"), I was unfortunately able to experience first hand the "culture" of dogfighting.

Pit bulls ( a generic term, to be sure), seemed to be the breed of choice of many of the young and not so young folks in the 'hood. My next door neighbor was a young cop whose pet was a rescued pit bull named Joshua, the most mild mannered good natured dog you'd ever want to meet. However, I was always very wary around the dog - the reputation of the breed notwithstanding.

One afternoon my neighbor and I were sitting on his steps with Joshua when a guy with a pit walked up and engaged in conversation. After a short while he asked, "Do you want let these guys go at it for a bit?" My neighbor said, "No, I don't fight my dog." The guy asked, "Why not?"

"Because I love my dog."

That was it. The guy walked away clearly confused.

In early 2003 my wife took our dog out for his morning "constitutional" but within a couple of minutes I heard this horrible screaming and yelping outside. I immediately ran outside to see a woman hustling away around the corner while my wife and dog (a dachshund) were sprawled, battered, bruised and bleeding on the sidewalk.

My wife, who only had superficial injuries, and I took our punctured and bleeding pet to the vet and then stopped at the local precinct to report the attack and file a complaint. However, the police were not interested in taking our complaint and wanted to know why we hadn't called the police earlier. I raised some noise but the culprit was never apprehended. It turns out the woman saw my wife walking the dog and loosed her dog off its leash and the dog responded according to its training and conditioning. It attacked.

The perspective that moved that woman to commit such a heinous act may be endemic in the dog fighting culture... a culture that Vick evidently embraced during his formative years.

Unlike the characters in Jack London's "White Fang" Vick was brought to justice for his actions. He went to prison, forfeited a tremendous sum of money and lost two years of his athletic prime. A fitting and proper sentence. However, after paying his debt to society why should their be a clamoring for more punishment including preventing him from making a living in his chosen profession and calling for his execution?

I believe in second chances and Vick seems bent on embracing his opportunity. This is not a position I come to recently, I wrote an article supporting second chances for offenders nearly ten years ago. It doesn't matter if that person regains the right to vote, gain employment or qualify for the Pro Bowl.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3849/is_200003/ai_n8896680/

Posted by: larrybellinger | December 29, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Of all the things I've had to "get over" from President Obama -- a man whose campaign I donated to, who I went door to door for, who I drove little old ladies to the polls for, and whose election I gleefully cheered (especially when he took Virginia, where I'd volunteered)-- this may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I'm a progressive who has voted for Kucinich for Pres every time he ran. I had to get over being called "crazy" by WH spokesman Gibbs and "retarded" by Rahm Emmanual. I had to get over Obama dropping the public option in favor of a plan that funnels more public money to the very insurance companies who are the PROBLEM, not the solution. I had to get over the tax cuts for the rich. I had to get over Obama's prime time tirade sarcastically chastising me and my ilk, saying "we can be sanctimonious and get nothing done . . . " Re-embrace the man I voted for, worked for, cheered for, my friends said. Grudgingly, I did.

But I can't get over this embrace of Vick. There is no denouncing, no clarifying, no backpeddling that will erase what is crystal clear to me.

Maybe it was clear the day of Oprah's endorsement. Barack Obama, celebrity product. Vick's a celebrity. Reason enough to embrace him. Level playing field my ****

Or maybe it's this: So many African Americans wrongheadedly raise Vick up as though he were some kind of civil rights hero and see him as unduly persecuted because of his race. Show on B.E.T. Awards from civil rights groups. It's been insulting, ridiculous. Maybe Barack Obama's embrace of Vick is just a brilliant political move to mobilize his African American supporters, whose enthusiasm has been waning during his term as they realized he's just another corporatist in a suit, really. But now African Americans may be energized by President Obama's embrace of Vick. Take sides in this culture war: Black football stars over dogs. It may just be the brilliant political move -- not for Pennsylvania, as some have said -- but for the larger African American vote.

So what if he loses a few animal lovers like me? There are so few of us, after all. So few, really, clearly, who care enough about animals to truly understand what a HEINOUS crime Vick committed with his sadism, premeditated, perpetrated, on innocent helpless dogs.

Our country and our leaders are without a moral compass. Barack Obama, Compromiser in Chief, Celebrity in Chief, is in that crowd, I now see quite clearly.

You cannot have a good and moral soul if you do not GET IT that what Michael Vick did makes him UNFIT to be allowed the superstardom and supersalary his natural talents would otherwise hand him.

But no one it seems, cares. Let's be honest, we are an amoral country. Barack Obama is just a reflection of that.

I'm as left-wing as they come, butI'm done with Democrats. I'm either voting Green or Humane Party in 2012. And when they call me for my money, boy are they gonna get an earful!

Posted by: lilifreak | December 29, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

GulfShore man, you asked what human Michael Vick ever hurt.

He hurt me.
He hurt thousands like me.
Who read the stories of his tormented dogs, begged for their lives to be spared, watched the videos of their scarred bodies.

He hurt ME.

Posted by: lilifreak | December 29, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@lilifreak | December 29, 2010 7:18 PM

I'm an animal lover, too. I have had three cats in 40 years, two dogs over the last 20, (three if you count my daughter's doggie whom I dog sit daily). My cat is perched on my shoulder as I write this.

Maybe Obama's support for Vick is based in the idea that one can do horrible things, take punishment and then repent for his actions.

Unlike F. Scott Fitzgerald I do believe in second acts in one's life. To denigrate someone's soul and claim there is a side to take; HUMAN BEINGS over the dogs, is not a credible position.

Posted by: larrybellinger | December 29, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Lilifreak - you are right; he hurt me, too.

I'm sorry that within my posting I cited an article that showed Vick had recently gotten a beagle. I was only shown the printed part by someone and never actually opened the link until after I posted here - I didn't realize it was from a site known for spoofing. So I'm thankful to know right now that Vick does not have a beagle or any dog (I assume). Although, I did just see a video of Vick tonight (filmed this month) that he wants a dog and hopes the restrictions will be lifted in the future so he can get a dog. I hope that day never comes.

Posted by: beagleluver | December 29, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Barack, the "jock-sniffer." Now that's an image I'm working to erase from the memory files. Of course, the police who arrested Vick probably "acted stupidly" as they did when they arrived at that house in Boston because a neighbor called in an alarm for a possible burglary.
Wait, could there be pattern here? The professor wasn't a jock was he? Now what could Vick and Gates have in common that would cause the President to be so so partial? Any guesses? Hmmmmmmm

Posted by: Julie11 | December 29, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is way off base in making any kind of comment/opinion about rehabilitating convicts (especially rich and famous ones) when this country's prisons are bulging with the largest population in the world; including all those BAD countries like China and Iran. Really? I think the President needs to educate himself on the subject before making absurd phone calls.

Posted by: inewsmaster | December 29, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Vick served more time in prison than many do for killing people...let it go, people. He's not profiting from his criminal past, he's profiting in spite of it.

Posted by: Littlejohn1 | December 29, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Cruelty to animals is a crime punishable by imprisonment and it is the wrong thing to do. Let's get some perspective though. His victims were dogs and he did time. What about someone who lies about WMD so that he and his cronies can protect their oil investments, at the cost of young human lives; what about those profiteering off of war by hiring thugs to provide "security" services when they aren't busy raping and murdering; what about the CEO who puts thousands of humans out of work and on the brink of poverty so that stock prices and bonuses go up; what about manufacturers who calculate the acceptable cost of human lives during the use of their product. Last I heard, none of the perpetrators of these crimes did a day in the big house.

Posted by: daubry | December 29, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Figures Obamabinladen-Manchurian Candidate,Muslim Extremist, No Passport, No Birth Certificate, No College Credit Proof, No Citizenship Proof, Traitor, Destroyer from Within~would side with Michael Vick who is a Sociopath!
Fact: SERIAL KILLERS (Jeffrey Dahmer-Ted Bundy ect.)interviewed and talked candidly on camera about how they First Abused, Tortured and Killed animals as a "rehearsal" to what they did to Humans! Mass Murderers, Child Abusers, Serial Rapists, Elder Abusers have also admitted to Abusing, Torturing, and Killing Animals Before they committed Crimes on Humans. Giving the honor of owning another dog to Michael Vick (which OBUMMER is agreeing to now) again would be Equivalent to giving a Child Abuser/Rapist/Murderer custody of a child with the second chance to do the Same Crime to them! Both of these Sociopathic Men are a THREAT TO SOCIETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: RepublicansRule | December 29, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, I suspect that if Michael Vick were not able to throw a football tolerably well, the Philadelphia Eagles might be hesitant about hiring this convicted felon as a ticket taker. (And I understand that OJ is still looking for his wife's killer.)

If the President really wanted to make a statement about the ability of ex-cons to turn their lives around, with the cooperation of private sector employers, I think that there are a number of social service agencies that could have pointed him to examples that would actually be relevant and meaningful for people who live in the "real world."

If people like Pat Robertson can realize that vicious laws on possession of small amounts of substances can ruin the lives of very large numbers of people, then surely the President can do something to mitigate the harm. This would mean irritating the beneficiaries of the prison industry, but perhaps this could be described as an additional way of cutting the number of government employees and contractors and acting towards deficit reduction.

Posted by: edallan | December 30, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen I find it interesting that your paper and other media outlets have put more time and effort into reporting on what the president said to the owner of the Eagles than you did in pressing the issue of the first responders of 9/11 and their health needs (that is until Jon Stewart shamed you guys into it). I care very little about Mr Obama's conversations that don't touch on national policy issues but I do care a great deal about Americans being treated fairly by their government. Please stop the pandering to readers and spend more time shedding light on how government does or does not work in the best interest of the citizenry.

What Michael Vick did was deplorable and as such he spent time in jail and ultimately he will answer for his transgressions when he meets his maker. As for me when wall street robber barons go scott free for their fleecing of the public and government officials throw American lives away with no consequence I'm lead to conclude that justice in American is an arbitrary and often multi-tiered system that punishes those who do not have access to the halls of power.

Posted by: JDYoung | December 30, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Michael Vick was judged, convicted, and did his time. He may not have had the moral fiber to prevent his crime, but he certainly has an awareness now that he's never had.

I'm not for or against Michael Vick. Not into football. But I do believe that people must pay for their actions and then start again.

We need to support the system that we stand for. He paid for his crime. Now let him begin again. And while he's doing that, perhaps we can do something more meaningful with our time like teach children compassion for and respect of living creatures. Not all of us have the luxury of having pets that serve as more than a guard dog.

Posted by: tricedh | December 30, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

"They were just dogs." "Everyone makes mistakes." So, wrenching out all 42 teeth of a female dog, then locking it into a wooden box and standing for hours laughing while it is mounted by numerous male dogs as it bleeds from the mouth in horrible agony is just a "mistake?" And not really that bad, because she was just a dog, after all. I see how it it. How about attaching a car battery with cables to dogs then tossing them into a swimming pool? Or wrapping barbed wire around their necks and hanging them from trees till they strangle? Or better yet, strangling them with his bare hands? Drowning them in 5-gallon buckets of water? Vick admitted, in a written statement that he SIGNED voluntarily, that he did all these things and more to countless dogs. Helpless, voiceless animals that depend on us for their very existence. The dog who was slammed repeatedly against the ground until her spine and organs were ruptured? Guess why she was killed-because she RAN OUT OF THE RING-she did not want to fight. Of 51 dogs taken from the farm at the raid, 48 have been successfully rehomed. 2 did not survive their grievous injuries, and ONLY ONE was euthanized for aggression. 3 are certified therapy dogs; and many have received their Canine Good Citizen certificates. I'd say it's a fair bet that these poor victims were rehabilitated a lot more successfully than that low-life Vick ever will be.

What's more, Vick performed this "mistake" for SIX YEARS, traveling to 5 states to run his ILLEGAL GAMBLING operation for profit. Gee, how long did it take him to figure out that was wrong? And for this he served 18 months in prison (for conspiracy, not animal cruelty, or gambling, or dogfighting), where he was a hero to the other inmates and staff alike. That must have been tough, eh? And then, let's see; people have said how much money he lost - um, no, he filed for bankruptcy. That means all his debts were wiped out, he's paying back 10 cents on the dollar to ONLY the secured creditors; everyone else is screwed. Now he's back making millions - just like he was doing when he was running his little hobby business, meaning he didn't do it because he needed the dough. And recently (on TV, I saw it with my own two eyes) Vick said to a bunch of kids, "I'd still be doing it if I hadn't gotten caught." Rehabilitated, $#&*.

This guy is very, very sick. These things are not what normal people do. And now the PRESIDENT is all congratulatory of his so-called "second chance?" And all these people who agree and say, "let it go, he paid his debt," uh, no. Read the court documents, from which I obtained these facts. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Just because this jerk can throw a football doesn't make him a hero, a role model, or especially a human being. The sickness is in his very soul and anyone who can say "well, it's not like he hurt humans" needs to examine their souls, as well. Including Obama.

Posted by: slerriuqs | December 30, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Only one thing to say: Amen.

Posted by: tbarksdl | December 30, 2010 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I commend Richard Cohen for his clear and reasoned commentary about Michael Vick's redemption and re-emergence as a winner on the football field.

The sanctimonious posturing about forgivness is as fraudulent as the reasons for Vick's hiring by the Eagles. Its about money and winning a game. Vick, as Mr. Cohen aptly put it, was not convicted of stealing food for his hungry family. He is a cold-blooded killer of innocent animals. His brutality did not even stand up to the test of a war commitment, nor to another equally brutal gang member. He was a thug but he can play ball. The late Senator Monihan's comment echoes here: We have continued to define deviancy downward and Michael Vick is a perfect example of that trend.

Posted by: JAS51 | December 30, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, thank you for your article. I agree wholeheartedly. I maintain that these idiots who think Vick has paid his debt just because he went to prison on charges *other* than animal cruelty, are the same idiots who would be crying for his severed head on a plate if he had done the same horrific acts to small kids or even adults. This shows that too many of those people calling themselves animal lovers truthfully feel "they were just dogs." I am ashamed that Americans can stoop that low. I am ashamed that our president shows such disregard and contempt for living, feeling beings who enrich human life with their loyalty and love. What's next. we pardon rapists and serial killers (of which Vick is one of the latter)and give them a second chance as well? I will be calling the White House line and also writing to Obama to register my extreme disgust. I hope others will do the same. After all, his job is to represent all of us, and by giving sanction to Vick and his handlers, he has shown that even the President thinks "they're just dogs."

Posted by: redglitter | December 30, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, I guess the American legal system isn't good enough for sanctimonious, self-righteous self-deluded moral hypocrites like yourself. The man paid for his crime and self appointed "judges" like yourself just cant help showing how irrational your own characther is. On the one hand you say the guy did not deserve a second chance and in the same sentence you commend his ability to deliver on the football field. The legal system has judged Michael Vick and God will judge Michael Vick after he checks out of here, and not you and your ilk. You people make ME sick.

Posted by: ruthella10 | December 30, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr Cohen for telling it like it is . I find it disheartening when i read peoples comments along the lines of they were only dogs , he hurt no humans . It is a well known fact that a dog is the only animal capable of loving a human more than it loves itself . As regards to he's done the crime and served the time , so what ? he has shown remorse for getting caught and losing his privileges but showed very little regret or remorse for his actions . And news flash a leopard don't change it's spots . There is a reason why serial killers are not incarcerated for twenty years then released on good behaviour promises , because they have a mental deficiency that will make them kill again . To breed dogs to fight to the death and drown dogs that show no interest in fighting and construct a fighting pit at your home so you are never more than a few minutes walk from a dog fight do not strike me as the actions of a stable compassionate empathetic moral member of society , they strike me as the actions of someone with a mental deficiency .
As with regards to Obama as a resident and national of the UK i have access to world stories of interest via Networking chat groups . If Facebook See's fit to have numerous groups and pages denouncing his actions and questioning his ability to make a smart decision then who am i to disagree with the majority of the general public . What Obama has to realise is it is not the eyes of the United States that are scrutinising his every move but most of the world .

Posted by: ReptileDave | December 30, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Not Gerson, I mean Cohen (same difference though). Anyway,I guess the American legal system isn't good enough for sanctimonious, self-righteous self-deluded moral hypocrites like yourself. The man paid for his crime and self appointed "judges" like yourself just cant help showing how irrational your own characther is. On the one hand you say the guy did not deserve a second chance and in the same sentence you commend his ability to deliver on the football field. The legal system has judged Michael Vick and God will judge Michael Vick after he checks out of here, and not you and your ilk. You people make ME sick.

Posted by: ruthella10 | December 30, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

It's Cohen who's lost his ability to reason. I've seldom seen a column so obtuse that wasn't written by Charles Krauthammer. Of course it's Vick's abilities that allowed him him to get and keep his job. It should be the same for anyone, whether he/she programs computers, drives a bus, or operates a cash register. The issue in Cohen's mind seems to be whether Vick's crime was so great that he should be banished from human society forever. Well, we have courts for that, and the judge did not give Vick a life sentence, so I respectfully suggest Cohen is dead wrong here. I'm 100% behind Obama's comments on the matter (even if Obama isn't, now). Vick did the crime, he did the time, and now deserves the same chance anyone else does. Cohen is free to snub him at parties, but he does not get to ban Vick from employment for life.

Posted by: chrisjsiple | December 30, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

It all comes down to money. This country is all about the green no matter who suffers, loses, dies, rapes, farts.. it’s all about money. Obama is such an ID10T. “Thank you for giving Vick a second chance.” Second chance? You think the Eagles owner did it because he wanted to give Vick a second chance? He did it because he wants his team to win.. he wants his POC stadium to fill up with fans because they got Vick! Because of MONEY! Capitalism in its purest form. This countrie's morals have gone down the sh!tter and we are wiping our bungholes with dollar bills…

Posted by: sciscobubba | December 30, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

It all comes down to money. This country is all about the green no matter who suffers, loses, dies, rapes, farts.. it’s all about money. Obama is such an ID10Tt. “Thank you for giving Vick a second chance.” Second chance? You think the Eagles owner did it because he wanted to give Vick a second chance? He did it because he wants his team to win.. he wants his POC stadium to fill up with fans because they got Vick! Because of MONEY! Capitalism in its purest form. This countries morals have gone down the sh!tter and we are wiping our bungholes with dollar bills…

Posted by: sciscobubba | December 30, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

There never was any question in my mind that Vick got his second chance because he was a superstar quarterback.

Yet, I read Obama's point as being while that was the case, the shame is that other, non-famous convicts don't get that level of second chance. It would be nice, in fact, if, instead of getting a dog, Vick dedicated his contrition to working on that fact.

On the other hand, why Obama felt it necessary to even wade into this issue publicly is beyond me (While he didn't, strictly speaking - it was a private conversation - he must have suspected that Lurie would make it public).

Posted by: ralph10 | December 30, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

President Obama insulted literally millions of animal lovers - and did not give it a second thought about the repercussions of that foolish act of calling Vick's team, which represents a very thoughtless, careless leader.

Posted by: cetude | December 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Please - Vick returned to the perfect job for someone who is aggressive and violent. He is a FOOTBALL player! What about abusing animals makes him unfit to play football (you know - tackle people and run and stuff?)?

Cohen is acting as if only morally perfect people can play a violent sport.

It's not as if Vick is working in a preschool, or a nursing home or even being entrusted with money at a Vegas casino. He might not be kind enough or trustworthy enough (based on his conviction) for one of those jobs. Then I might have some moral outrage.

Sheesh. Vick has a right to do the job he is trained to do. The penalty for dogfighing is NOT loss of all future income. If that is what Cohen wants, then change the law. But if what Cohen is really saying is that football players are horribly overpaid, then why not argue that point? It also seems silly to me, but much more reasonable than claiming that a violent, cruel person is somehow unfit to play a violent game that sometimes results in horrible injury to PEOPLE.

Posted by: Amelia5 | December 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE SIGN PETITION and let the President know how upset you are about him lauding sick Vick!

http://www.change.org/petitions/view/president_obama_insulted_millions_of_dog_lovers_by_endorsing_micheal_vick-the_dog_snuffer

Posted by: cetude | December 30, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Why do so many of the commenters say "He's an animal himself...." ??
Why would the word "animal" be a condemnation of any human animal? I know of no animals who would inflict the vicious, deliberate, pre-meditated and money-driven pain on any other.
Even pond scum has been shown scientifically to make room for more pond scum, so all can live well....this creature is beneath my comment.

Posted by: sailorlady | December 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

It is so wonderful at this time of giving and fond thoughts of your fellow man to see all these great religious people so quick to condemn Michael Vick.

I am a dog lover and can't bear the thought of hurting one but the guy paid his debt to society, and I don't believe it is right to judge someone else by my personal standards.

It's Christmas time. People can change...it's rare but they can and do.

Let he who has not sinned....

Posted by: biggerjake | December 30, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, from this drivel, one can derive the following principles in life:

1) Cohen believes that black men who commit crimes are irredemable "thugs," who will remain thugs no matter what they do or how they are punished;
2) Cohen believes that regular felons--as opposed to Vick--have no talent or skill to speak of;
3) Cohen believes that Vick's talent makes him privileged, ignoring that he grew up in a public housing project in the ghetto that was created by a set of anti-Black policies called Jim Crow.

The mysteries of life: How does such a fool remain employed as a columnist? And how much more of this will I take before I cancel my subscription to the Post?

Posted by: JTR_2011 | December 30, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Your article is wonderful and exactly how I feel about this situation. All of our athletes are paid ridiculous sums of money simply becasue they are good at it. How about the real heroes getting paid fairly? Our teachers, military, police, firemen etc.

Posted by: pamspups | December 30, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

This article is spot-on. In a society where teachers are paid poorly and disrespected, while athletes are viewed as "gods," it is about time this article has come to light.

There are no words left to state Mr. Cohen, expect: Bravo.

Posted by: jovigal1959 | December 30, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo mob wants VENGEANCE not justice.

The issue of second chances for those who have served their time AND shown remorse and retribution, is apropriate.

Budget constraints and prison crowding, over-zealous sentencing guidelines and judges will soon force release of thousands and thousands of felons.

It would be wrong to bury this issue of vengeance versus justice.

Praise is due those who give genuinely remorseful people a second chance. President Obama has merely offered an issue we should address- sooner not later.

Posted by: rowens1 | December 30, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Well written, concise, to the point. And exactly right! I wish I could have said it so well. Thank you.

Posted by: gjwriter | December 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

One would wonder just how many of the commenters as well as the columnist eat some kind animal product without thinking of the way they are caught or slaughtered.

Posted by: wilhelm1 | December 30, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

One would wonder just how many of the commenters as well as the columnist eat some kind animal product without thinking of the way they are caught or slaughtered.

Posted by: wilhelm1 | December 30, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with this article. Why on earth would the President even do this? Does he call all convicted animal abusers and felons and tell them they deserve a second chance? Nope, only Vick because he happens to have a talent for football. He has NO excuse for what he did. Dog fighting is one thing, could have been cultural influence, but to torture and kill those dogs in the manner he did speaks of a person that is solely lacking in any compassion or morals. And to add more outrage to this story, for a $50,000 donation to the HSUS, Pacelle now says Vick should be allowed to own a dog! Again, what convicted animal abuser that has been prohibited from ever owning another animal gets this 'second chance'? This makes me sick. It's disgusting! Vick has said he is sorry but has shown NO remorse. He feels nothing for those dogs that he tortured. Never did. Never will.

Posted by: MaryDobes | December 30, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

It's simple economics. Vick got a second chance because he had a unique skill that could not be replicated by another worker without the baggage. If Steve Jobs were convicted of a felony and forced out at Apple, don't you think some company would give him another chance too?

Posted by: NickFlieg | December 30, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I am so over hearing about this whole thing with Michael Vick. He made a mistake he paid for his mistake and it is over. Has he really done anything so badly that we would want him to "die" for it? How ridiculous. Especially in light of the fact you have Ray Lewis that did commit murder, playing football and I don't see people threatening him. That is the reason I refuse to endorse the Ravens. Sorry Sandra your movie was good but as long as Ray Lewis plays I will not watch the Ravens.

Posted by: suziehll4 | December 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everything the writer said with one exception. Do not call Micheal Vick an animal. That's an insult to animals.

Posted by: dbander20 | December 30, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I usually don't agree with much of what Cohen writes, but he nailed this one.

The NFL, the Eagles, and all their ignorant fans, should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: jusaxn | December 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Careful Mr Cohen, once you start deconstructing the shibboleths of the PC left with Logic and Reason, you may not be able to ...stop.

Posted by: devluddite | December 30, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm not mistaken: There are any number of Wall Street brokers, bankers, etc. who were convicted of crimes committed in their profession that were BANNED from returning to their profession FOR LIFE. And those felonies did not involve loss of life of any living creatures. Vick got off easy.

Posted by: Paaa | December 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Comments by Mr. Cohen were amusing at best, especially in a region where many localities ban pit bulls and put them to sleep if they catch them. Where Mr. Cohen makes comparrisons to Mr. Vick to "some poor kid who got swiping something so he could get food to eat", he talks about these dangerous pit bulls like they are toy poodles. I guess those that run animal laboratories are thugs too just as those that participate in ridiculous sports like ultimate fighting or WWF wrestling. Congratulations Mr. Vick on your selection by coaches, players, and fans to the Pro Bowl.

Posted by: materda | December 30, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

You may not like him, but he is laughting all the way to the bank...

GO Vick... God loves you. That is all that counts.

Posted by: greenfox | December 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,
Who appointed you to decide who gets a second chance and who does't?
Was Michael Vick tried in a cout of law? Yes!! he was.
Did he serve his jail sentence? Yes!! he did.
Should Vick be allowed to make a living? Of course he should.
So, Mr. Cohen stop writting hateful, non sense columns.
thank you

Posted by: rabanito | December 30, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I typically enjoy your column, but you are way off the mark on this one. Mr. Vick got a second chance because he served his time, paid restitution and is allowed to re-enter society. What he did was awful, no one is denying that. To continue to vilify him does not bring those dogs back nor take away what he did. We let murders of humans regain their lives, but not Mr. Vick? Want justice, why not write a column calling for Mr. Kissinger to stand trial for war crimes.

Posted by: darrell5551 | December 30, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

So, now, even after serving his time, Vick is still unworthy of forgiveness.

Cohen is no doubt correct that Vick got his second chance because of his ability to play. I can't help but wonder, though, what the prevailing sentiment would be if a white player of his caliber had done the same thing.

My guess: He'd not only get a second (and possibly third) chance, but the slate would be wiped clean and we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Cohen. I suggest everyone read a blog by a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which has been taking care of Vick's victims. The blog describes a hypothetical call from Obama to the sanctuary to thank them for giving *Vick's victims* a second chance, which you think Obama would have done before calling to thank someone for giving the abuser a second chance.

http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2010/12/29/when-the-president-calls-about-the-vick-dogs/

Posted by: Sean100 | December 30, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Animal cruelty is ugly.

Hate and retribution are uglier.

Move on.

Peace.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 30, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

[So, now, even after serving his time, Vick is still unworthy of forgiveness.

Cohen is no doubt correct that Vick got his second chance because of his ability to play. I can't help but wonder, though, what the prevailing sentiment would be if a white player of his caliber had done the same thing.]

***

The problem is that many of us feel that the punishment was lenient for the acts. Unfortunately, the laws and those prosecuting the laws do not adequately consider the interests of animals. The sentience of animals, and dogs, is indisputable, yet he spent less than 2 years in prison for having fighting dogs maul each other and "bait" dogs (often stolen pets), and killing underperforming dogs by crushing them on pavement, shooting them, electrocuting them, hanging them, drowning them (Vick has admitted all but the drowning).

Bringing race into the discussion is pathetic. You really think that people who care about dogs and other animals would be any less angry if a white player had done it? The only way it would have likely played out differently, is that the President would not have gotten personally involved, that as someone who identifies himself as black, Obama probably identifies with Vick more than he would have with a white quarterback.

Posted by: Sean100 | December 30, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time anyone complained about a white person returning to their job after being convicted of a crime and serving time? A black man cannot catch a break in this country.

Posted by: rgray | December 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The white man can hunt down animals, the white man can build huge agriculture­al farms that abuse millions of animals, the white man can spill oil on animals, the white man can sell fur coats, the white man can own a circus that abuses all kinds of animals, the white man can build dog tracks that abuse greyhounds (whom are shot and electrocuted), the white man can overbreed dogs to the point where two million are put down every year due to overpopulattion, the white man can do anything he wants without much attention at all.

A black man abuses an animal and he's the next coming of satan. Some things never change. I'd rather be a pitbull in a dog fighting ring then one of the millions of pigs abused at agricultural farms or say a veal cow - now that's disgusting, but because the perpetrators are white, we'll never hear how sickening that is, have you read any of the other articles on the PETA site?

You should look up the definition of a thug Mr. Cohen, it's not a black man who has been convicted of one crime. Your drive by editorials on the black community are not appreciated.

Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Bringing race into the discussion is pathetic. You really think that people who care about dogs and other animals would be any less angry if a white player had done it? Posted by: Sean100

--------------------------
I appreciate your observation.

The issue isn't whether or not someone should be less angry or more angry. Everyone should be angry at that kind of cruelty. I wanted Vick fed to the dogs, that's how angry I was when I heard about it.

The question I was raising had more to do with the differential expectations and overall harsher treatment of minorities, not only in the justice system (look at the sentences for crack vs. powder cocaine), but the continued calls for retribution even after someone has paid his debt. Maybe it wasn't harsh enough or long enough, but that was a judgment made by the legal system.

I just don't think it would be the same with a white player. But, in the absence of an actual similar case to compare, I'll admit I could be wrong.

Peace.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 30, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

From the front page of peta.org Mr. Cohen,

Donna Karan Bunny Butcher
Donna Karan is aware of the suffering that animals endure on fur farms, but her clothing lines contain rabbit skins. Ask Donna Karan executives to dump fur for good!

I'll expect your opinion piece on how Donna Karan is a "thug" and the next coming of Satan next week, just pretend Mrs. Karan is black.

Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

So midway sailor how do you feel about Greyhound tracks?

http://www.animalrightsflorida.org/greyhound.htm

If nothing else Mike Vick is no longer abusing animals yet he continues to draw the ire of the general public while many current and ongoing white animal abusers are ignored. I can go on and on, and I didn't bring race into this the racist media and public did, and yes that's exactly what they are, give me a break.

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/

What about puppy mills, where is the outrage? This crap is still legal.

I could go on and on, why doesn't the white community address it's own dog killers instead of continuing to rant and rave about Mike Vick.


Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad to see this editorial in the paper. I only wish it had been a front-page article, just like Obama's message about Vick. I am disgusted by this lack of understanding on Obama's part. I voted for him, I respect him, but he really stepped into the dog poop on this one.

Posted by: allycat53 | December 30, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

So midway sailor how do you feel about Greyhound tracks?
Posted by: geber22
------------------------
Don't like them.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 30, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I am a program subervisor of a drug and alcohol program. I am earning my Masters degree last 2 classes doing my internship at animal shelter. I put Vicks in the same arena as a child abuser. The majority of his rescued dogs went to a place called Dog Town. He should not be a football player let alone an animal owner. He should have served more time. He needs to send a monthly support payment to the shelters who are caring for the dogs. I watched the show featuring Dog Town and his dogs and just cried, it was so heart breaking. Animals are like babys who can not talk and tell whats is going on or what is wrong. I agree with the author of this artical he is only playing because he is a good football player but after Tuesday night game Vicks went one way and the ball went another so questioning his playing abilities, is he being over rated. I hope he reads all these comments...He really has not served his time he still has to answer to God and Jesus about the abuse and murder of God's animals.....God beless the dogs and God bless the shelter staff who have taken on caring and lovimng theses dogs!!!!!

Posted by: tatobabs | December 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Very well said Mr. Cowen and I couldn't agree more.

I know a young man who also went to a "dog fight" at about the same age as when Vick was a youth. He found it replusive and has since worked to put an END to the adject cruelity and sickness of it. HE made a choice in direction, as where his character at that early age would go, as did Vick!

|If WE as HUMAN beings don't stand for something, we FALL for anything. Kudos for telling IT like it IS.

Posted by: Fayclis | December 30, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama's undignified support of the sadistic beast MV further demonstrates his total lack of fitness to be President. Every time Obama makes a comment, the Republicans become stronger. Thank you Obama.

Posted by: jwhite67 | December 30, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

It's apparent from the many comments of the Post's Avenging Angels that no punishment is adequate for Vick, and no restitution will ever be enough.

Some, no doubt, agree with Tucker Carlson that Vick should be "executed."

But I wonder if that would even be enough for them...

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 30, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid artile. People who serve time and get out of jail are not only entitled, but are forced by probation rules to have a job. The fact that he is good at his job should be no reason to write such vitriol.
He served his time, he is due no further punishment.
Why would you be so mean spirited to continue to beat a man who has served his time?

Posted by: rugcutter1 | December 30, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Geber: I think this got a lot of attention because it's sensational. I'm vegan, I understand your point. But the institutionalized abuse of animals isn't a white or black thing. Nor is this situation. It got a lot of attention because it involved dogs, it involved a celebrity, and it involved cruelty that was so outrageous. We also have some surviving victims as sympathetic as can be; it's hard to hear their stories and the struggles they still have and not be enraged.

But yeah, I wish there was as much attention drawn toward what is done to other animals. I stopped watching Inside the NFL after they showed (white Vikings lineman) Jared Allen in a tree stand tossing a spear into the back of an elk and watching the elk run off with the spear in his back. The hosts thought it was awesome and manly. I thought Allen was no better than Vick.

I just wouldn't say the differing reactions were because of race, it's because of how we view different animals and different activities regardless of race.

Posted by: Sean100 | December 30, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

There's plenty of sanctimony on all sides of this issue. Look in the mirror for some, Richard. Do you eat beef or pork or chicken, Richard? Why don't you discuss a little about how those animals are treated before they end up on your table?

What's most repellent about your article is the paragraph you devote to describing Vick as a person. Do you agree with Tucker Carlson, proud Christian, who opined that Vick should have been executed? Who are you to judge someone so severely?

You could write every column from now to your eternity lamenting what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld et al. did to human beings it still wouldn't balance your intemperate outrage of today.

Posted by: dicka1 | December 30, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Sean even if they deny it, I'm going to make it about race, the institutions are run by white people, the media, the factory farms, the fur coat makers, they need to get off Michael Vick's back, period. Clean up your own house and then post about dogfighting being so savage, because compared to the crap that goes on to other animals in this country it's not savage, not even close! A veal cow vs a pitbull in a dog fighting ring, hands down I'd rather be the pitbull every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Geber22, although I do not agree with your conclusion, I agree with many of your points. Veal calves have horrible lives. I have long since stopped eating pork or beef because of the way those animals are treated, and in the last year cut out dairy except for eggs from pasture raised hens. I don't mean "cage free" which is a BS label. I mean pastured, for real.

Posted by: lilifreak | December 30, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

And I can't stand Sarah Palin for her treatment of animals either. But it's still a step or two shy of the kind of prolonged, sadistic torture Vick did. I can name lots of white people who should be on chain gangs for what they do to animals. The issue with Vick is yes, it's doggies, and also he is a freakin football star. The adulation and embrace, not to mention money, this serial torturer is getting is really amping up the anger for many of us. Show me a white guy who is being as ballyhooed as a star, paid like that, and generally fawned over the way Vick is now after doing something just like what Vick did, and I will show you a comparable level of outrage, I promise.

Problem is, you can't find such a person. Not because there aren't equally horrible white animal abusers (there are -- did you see the kitten vaccuum video) but because NONE OF THEM ARE BEING EMBRACED BY OUR SOCIETY like Vick is! None is a footbal megastar megamillionaire with Presidents calling them! It's outraging us!

Posted by: lilifreak | December 30, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, here:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/prof-melissa-harris-perry-ties-michael-vick-case-to-slavery-civil-rights-on-msnbc/

An African American saying the embrace of Vick IS about race.

IMHO -
Michael Vick's crimes against dogs are no more or less bad because he is black. Duh.

And although it is true that equally horrific cruelty is committed against farm animals produced for food (if you want to ascribe ALL of that to white people, go right ahead, I won't mind), it is also true that this cruelty is generally hidden from the public. People go to the store and buy sanitized packages of "meat product" and never face the truth. If they suspect it, they push the thought away, and let themselves buy into the false adverstising showing "happy California cows" and "Gladys" the chicken surfing the internet and eating corndogs in Frank Perdue's barn. These are total lies, but Americans are able to shield themselves from it.

About what Vick did, there can be no delusion. It was on prime time for weeks.

The fact that Vick can be embraced by society more broadly, in spite of these unspeakable acts against our most beloved companion animals -- dogs -- the exact sadistic acts we all know he performed -- says a lot that is very disturbing about our culture that is not specifically racial. It has more to do with our morals as a society. It makes a strong statement that stardom will excuse anything, and extreme cruelty to animals doesn't matter. Even now.

The President's call showed he shares those cultural values. Or absence thereof.

But the defense of Vick on the part of African Americans -- perhaps Obama included -- seems to be at least in part, about race.

And that is very disturbing.

I didn't have a problem with the "not guilty" verdict in the OJ trial. The evidence was questionably handled, the cops considered no one else, Cochran was brilliant. I agree that a fair jury could have found reasonable doubt. (If the bar had been preponderence, I think they would have found differently, and I believe he killed her, but I also believe the jury verdict was defensible given a bar of "reasonable doubt").

His acquittal was not deeply disturbing to me. I trusted the verdict was fair. What was, however, disturbing to me was the reaction of the African Americans around me. Cheering, as though it were a civil rights victory.

An African American woman overheard me say I believed that OJ killed Nicole, and threatened to report me because she found my remark racist. Disturbing.

Watching the African American reaction to the Vick thing gives me the same sick feeling.

Cheer Obama's election because he's black? Great. Me too, in part. His being African American was just one of many reasons to be happy about his election.

But cheer OJ's acquittal, or Vick's embrace, as a matter of racial pride?

Disturbing.

Make the outrage over what he did "racist"?

Disturbing.


Posted by: lilifreak | December 30, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

You would think that while President Obama is relaxing in the sun his thoughts would turn to the unemployed, home foreclosures, the economy, North Korea, US men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the havoc mother nature created on both coasts.

With all that, our President found time to worry about a professional millionaire quarterback and his second chance. I guess Bo will weigh in with his thoughts on the matter when Obama gets back to the White House.

Too bad the President didn't feel the need to initiate legislation these last two years to create programs to aid the regular folks getting out of jail who need a second chance. I'm afraid our man in the White House just does not get it.

Posted by: NewEra | December 30, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Lilfreak I love the excuses you make for the double treatment but I don't buy them. Sorry you'll get no pass from me ignorance is not an excuse. Are you trying to imply that the author of this article is in all of his ignorance does not understand the hypocrisy of his blasting Vick while we abuse millions of animals in this country?

Forget farm animals, what about greyhounds tracks and puppy mills? Is that average American so stupid that they don't understand a dog they get from the breeder is one less dog that will be taken from a shelter?

Michael Vick's crimes against dogs? What crimes dogfighting? Dogfighting is a legal crime, it can't be a moral one, not in this country, not with all the crap we do to animals. Don't tell me what Mike Vick did is sadistic we do way worse in this country to animals all the time, and there are 100 of millions of accomplices. The treatment of that pork on your fork is as morally disturbing as fighting pitbulls. How can something that is the norm be sadistic. His sadism is no more or less than those folks at the Denny's down the street, sorry.

Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Cohen's outrage (and that of all who share it) is completely justifiable; his cynicism and demeaning of those he judges guilty of "sickening sanctimony" is not.
Vick has served the sentence the justice system imposed and has since expressed contrition and regret. He should be given a second chance, as should any felon or criminal who pays his debt and gives similar evidence of rehabilitation. This is simple justice, simple humanity, not "sickening sanctimony." Without it our world would be unlivable.

Compassion for humans should be greater than (not a replacement for) compassion for animals. All animals.

Cohen's cynicism and arrogant dismissal of those who do not share it is unfortunate. When he expresses contrition and a promise not to repeat that offense, he should be forgiven by the rest of us poor fallible creatures. That's human.

Posted by: castleb | December 30, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Cohen's outrage (and that of all who share it) is completely justifiable; his cynicism and demeaning of those he judges guilty of "sickening sanctimony" is not.
Vick has served the sentence the justice system imposed and has since expressed contrition and regret. He should be given a second chance, as should any felon or criminal who pays his debt and gives similar evidence of rehabilitation. This is simple justice, simple humanity, not "sickening sanctimony." Without it our world would be unlivable.

Compassion for humans should be greater than (not a replacement for) compassion for animals. All animals.

Cohen's cynicism and arrogant dismissal of those who do not share it is unfortunate. When he expresses contrition and a promise not to repeat that offense, he should be forgiven by the rest of us poor fallible creatures. That's human.

Posted by: castleb | December 30, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

As usual the WP intelligensia "can't see the forrest for the trees"...Obama commended the owner Jeff Lurie for giving Vick a 2nd chance. At the time Lurie already HAD a pro bowl Quarterback (McNabb) starting for his team. The Eagles also had their FUTURE starting QB when they drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007. The owner SHOULD get credit. When the Eagles signed Vick, there was very little "upside" because his team didn't really NEED another quarterback. The "downside" came with predictable and unyielding effect. The media and fans BLASTED the Eagles ownership for bringing in the convicted dog killer.....Sure, we can talk about 63% passing efficiency for Michael Vick, circa 2010. But NO ONE saw that coming. Michael Vick has never had a year that's come close to this one in passing efficiency. The Eagles head coach (Andy Reid) had both of his sons incarcerated for a time. Maybe his own personal experience gave the coach the will to suggest giving the QB another chance...If the author was a true football fan he would have filled in the details. Jeff Lurie did not sign an all-pro athlete who promised to take his team to the playoffs. He signed a disgraced athlete who lost his popularity, his freedom, and his economic security. The owner absorb a big PR hit, nasty letters and cancelled season tickets....Two years later, there came redemption which was confirmed by an unsolicited call from the POTUS. Instead of taking a "pass", Lurie stuck his neck out for a convicted felon when he didn't need another quarterback. The President said "bravo!"....I agree.

Posted by: Digifyouwill | December 30, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Right on point digifyouwill, that's the other side to the stupidity of this article, Lurie is indeed worthy of praise.

Posted by: geber22 | December 30, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Michael Vick is an vicious ignorant thug.

Barack Obama is a smooth talking leftist ideologue product of affirmative action big city machine politician with more than a touch of narcissism and a propensity for self-serving dealmaking who has cleverly used his race to get ahead and get over.

Obama's comments about Vick were designed to pander to the core of the base of his support.

Astute observers in corridors of power around the world and other quarters consider that the current president's greatest long term political liability and obstacle to re-election is the fast growing international awareness of the fact that he continues to conceal virtually the entire paper trail of his existence from birth to the White House in a tight shroud of secrecy.

American voters of all political persuasions remember the Obama 2008 campaign repeatedly promising that their administration would uphold the highest ethical standards with a particular emphasis on transparency.

A vast majority of these voters believe that the process of running for the office of President of the United States should be the toughest public job interview on the planet.

The sad fact remains that the current president could not be hired as a janitor in a federal building with the amount of verifiable background information that he has provided.

Barack Obama's original typewritten long form birth certificate, school records, SAT and LSAT scores, college and law school admission records and grade transcripts and thesis papers, medical records, passport history, Illinois state senate tenure records, presidential campaign foreign donor lists, complete White House visitor logs and other relevant records and documents have all never been released or allowed to be subjected to any sort of scrutiny, despite several years of repeated requests for disclosure by numerous individuals and non-traditional media organizations.

The Obama 2008 campaign and subsequent administration have to date spent a considerable sum on legal fees, estimated in the millions of dollars, to fight Freedom of Information Act filings and other requests to examine this material.

The mainstream media has given Obama an astonishing free pass on this basic issue of personal truth and transparency.

It had become customary in the postwar modern era for presidential candidates to allow for the release and scrutiny of the substantive body of their personal records and credentials, indeed up until 2008 in large measure precisely because of a strong interest from the mainstream media.

The appearance of Barack Obama upon the national political scene changed that dynamic, and he received a special exception from this traditional practice.

Barack Obama's true origins, past associations, ideological convictions, behavioral influences and ongoing relationships are matters of great concern to an increasing number of people who just want to know the truth about this man.

Posted by: FlashHarry | December 31, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

You know nothing about what you are writing about. So Vick's "father" warned him about dog fighting? Is this the same father that demanding nearly $1M from Vick, and when he didn't get it ran to the newspapers? And you really believe a word he says? Come on now, tell the full story! Vick has made the most of the second chance he has been given, and hopefully will inspire others to both make the most of their second chances, and to extend them to others less fortunate.

Posted by: sherberg | December 31, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't think what he did was that big a deal. Maybe had he staged cats fighting or dogs attacking cats instead, there would not be all of this overblown outrage.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 31, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Troy Dale West gets less than 4 months in jail for beating Tasha Hill unconscious because of her race in front of her 7 year old daugher...Granted, what Vick Did was wrong, but please all this over Dogs?
raise your voice over abuse against women and children!!


http://www.bvblackspin.com/2010/12/13/white-man-who-beat-black-army-reservist-in-front-of-her-child-se/

Posted by: lisea_99 | December 31, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

To those who made excuses of "well this person did this" or "this person did this and got away with it". SHAME ON YOU.

For those who say "it's only a dog" SHAME ON YOU.

There is NO excuse for what Vick did PERIOD. It does NOT matter the colour of the skin but what DOES matter is the content of the character. ANY man who enjoys training, brutilizing and terrorizing animals for ENTERTAINMENT and/or MONEY is one sick human being. PERIOD.
What don't people "GET" about THAT fact?

Posted by: Fayclis | December 31, 2010 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Why did Mike get a second chance? His ridiculous athletic ability, of course. Was that ever in question?

Basically you raised a question to support your own ends, to call out Michael Vick about what he already served time for. You have no content so you fill your 450 word column with denigrating an already damaged public image. Bravo Mr. Cohen!

Only time will tell if Michael Vick has genuinely changed, so quit being a rabble rouser and spend your time writing on something more worthy.

Posted by: KyleCrews | December 31, 2010 5:03 AM | Report abuse

"Well Mr. Cohen everybody agrees that what he did was disgusting. Now what? Perhaps we should disfigure him, lock him in a box with angry bees or do as some others suggest and just murder him. Would that satisfy you? Surely you'd rather be in the town square to hear his parting words just before the gallows drop. Who the hell's being sanctimonious?"

As with most libs, you automatically project your own inner demons onto someone else. Nowhere in the article does Cohen mention anything concerning any form of retribution whatsoever. If you were capable of reading anything implicit in the article, I think it's implicit that Cohen is merely stating that perhaps Vick should not have been allowed to return to the NFL to play football. This may, indeed, constitute cruel and unusual punishment in your view, since Vick is most likely not capable of earning a living in any other fashion. What this situation does, however, point up is that there are obviously millions of so-called Americans who care more about the careers of rich, spoiled athletes than they do about helpless animals (in this particular case). In my opinion, the gallows are too good for Vick. That, however, is my opinion, and it is found nowhere in this article. If you wish to attack me for this view, that's fair. But don't wrongly attribute a projection of your own inner demons upon this opinion writer. That isn't fair.

Posted by: MaxJrSamples | December 31, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I strongly disagree with the President holding Vick up as a shining example of a rehabbed criminal. Rather sickening.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | December 31, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Seems to be a double standard for sport
stars vs. ordinary people. The cruelty of
Mr. Vick's criminal "hobby" brings to mind
the Simpson case in California... Hire
the best lawyers and ultimately sports worshippers of their true religion rationalize "forgiving" the perpetrator because of his athletic talents. But sooner or later, what goes around must come around. One encouraging
aspect of reading these comments is how
many readers are outraged on behalf of the
victims who cannot speak for themselves.
But if it is true that dog fighting is a common diversion in every city, as one
commenter remarked, why is it permitted?
What sort of persons enjoy such a spectacle? Maybe the same ones that get so
worked up about legitimate violent sports?

Posted by: vadata060440 | December 31, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I am absolutely floored by what I have been reading. The hate being spewed concerning Vick and President Obama shows the real pulse in our "great nation." What kind of person can kill, torture, and fight a dog? Well the same kind of person that could drag a human being behind a truck until their bodies come completely apart simply because he was black. I won't mention the ugly history this nation has concerning slavery and the ill treatment of blacks. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Such judgment is passed on a man for how he has treated animals, but a pass is given to one who used lies to lure a nation to war causing thousands of men and women to lose their lives. We will all pay for our own enquities in due time.

Posted by: pagekl | December 31, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I think what Michael Vick did was very wrong and he deserved to go to prison for the dogfighting crime.

Having said that, given Mr. Cohen's condemnation of Vick's cruel crimes, I must assume that Mr. Cohen is also opposed to abortion of unborn human babies.

After all, while we agree that it's sick to electrocute and drown canines, can't we also agree that it's also sick to physically dismantle the bodies of unborn babies that are, in some cases, capable of living outside of the mother's body unassisted?

If not, it would suggest caring more about the lives and well-being of animals than for the lives and well-being of living beings that will, if not aborted, take his or her first breath within the next few months.

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | January 2, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I think what Michael Vick did was very wrong and he deserved to go to prison for the dogfighting crime.

Having said that, given Mr. Cohen's condemnation of Vick's cruel crimes, I must assume that Mr. Cohen is also opposed to abortion of unborn human babies.

After all, while we agree that it's sick to electrocute and drown canines, can't we also agree that it's also sick to physically dismantle the bodies of unborn babies that are, in some cases, capable of living outside of the mother's body unassisted?

If not, it would suggest caring more about the lives and well-being of animals than for the lives and well-being of living beings that will, if not aborted, take his or her first breath within the next few months.

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | January 2, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

playing "Spot the Black Posters" ...

Posted by: tatzen | January 3, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's cut to the chase here.

1) Vick did serve time for the crimes he committed and therefore we should not continue to punish him for what he did in the past. Everyone does deserve a chance to change and improve themselves.

2) Just because Vick served time doesn't mean we should all pretend like "it never happened and it should not be talked about anymore".

Contrary to the posts here, it really IS possible to subscribe to both points of view simultaneously.

I just think those who do are being drowned out by the noise from the extremes on each side.

Posted by: ironchefofmunchies | January 4, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I rarely, if EVER agree with Cohen, but this column mirrors my thoughts exactly. Well said Mr. Cohen!

Posted by: leatherman1 | January 4, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

This article is exactly right. Michael Vick is a horrible person. He knew exactly what he was doing and it was horrible. The poor dogs that suffered deserve a voice. Thank you Mr. Cohen for writing this article

Posted by: tamarakukla | January 4, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company