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Is Michael Vick a Changed Man?

Written by PETA | August 13, 2009

Thanks to Richard Cohen for his Washington Post piece in which he asks if some sports reporters have a special key on their typewriters for “He’s served his time.”

Michael Vick has indeed served his time, and that entitles him to walk free in our society. And as he walks, he can remember how lucky he is to have been able to afford an army of high-priced attorneys who got him a plea bargain so that he wouldn’t be charged with all the many abuses and crimes that took place when he purposely built a major gambling operation and the grounds on which to house it. He can remember how lucky he is to have been charged only with maiming and killing some dogs, although his carefully designed fighting operation went back at least 8 years. Serving his time entitles him to live in one of his big houses, but it doesn’t mean he’s sorry.

Did you see this video of Vick’s homecoming? Did you see any remorse in his eyes? As the champagne flows, does he look ashamed about the deeds he’s done? Vick shows as much remorse for the dogs he abused as he did his first night out of prison, when he went to a strip club. Perhaps that’s why the video, in which his eyes are blurred and his speech is slurred, has been pulled from YouTube by its poster, and the original version can no longer be found on the Web.

Michael Vick Sentencing
This is me holding the “Dogs Deserve Justice” sign outside the courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, during Vick’s sentencing.

So, Vick can no longer just blame a lack of parental guidance or bad influences in his youth. And the last USDA report blew out of the water his protest that he has always loved his “pets,” but didn’t see that the “pits” were also deserving of respect. That report reveals that Vick enjoyed throwing those “pets” into the ring with the fighting dogs and laughed as they were torn apart.

We gave the man the benefit of the doubt, but he tested positive for marijuana on the day he was taking an empathy course. Then, weeks before he was set to go to jail, he went into a pet shop in Newport News, Virginia, and bought a bulldog. Frankly, nothing sat right. We worried that “I’m sorry” might just be words in the wind. We didn’t want his empty words or his money (offered and rejected). We wanted him to take the latest neurological test that’s now being given to violent offenders—a test that can tell if the part of one’s brain that registers empathy is active. He wouldn’t do it. That’s when we said, “So long.”

Michael Vick may deserve to walk free, but he doesn’t deserve to be a football star or a hero to children, and no group has any business helping him do so. We thank Richard Cohen for remembering the dogs Vick personally electrocuted, held underwater in a swimming pool, strung up like hammocks, and slammed into the ground until their backs broke.

Written by Joel Bartlett

Commenting is closed.
  • emma says:

    kurt….because im english i have no right to comment or condemn???? omg i thought this site was for everyone from every country i didnt realise it was an all american topic. like i said clutching at straws. ive just spent the last 2 hours searching the net about all views on vick and i came across dog angel’s site the very man who brought vick and his ‘sport’ to light my view point is changing with everything i read and even though i will always think vicks a vile little man i think we have found someone to trust as dog angel still has contacts in vicks camp and he can reasure people that if he re offends he’ll be sorry. however i can not believe because im not american it hinders this argument please remind me in the future if anything this bad happens in england not to allow you to have an opinion ‘seems how you are american’ im gobsmacked.

  • Joe says:

    Excellent blog. Vick is garbage and anyone who cheers for him is also garbage.

  • Rebecca Garagozzo says:

    Michael Vick is NOT a changed man. His only regret is that he was caught. We need to protest this signing nationwide……..

  • Will says:

    Dave I couldn’t have said it better myself. Well put.

  • jamaal says:

    Hey everyone this is my first time leaving a comment here and honestly probably the first time I’ve been on PETA’s website. I know that my comments will probably differ from most of yours I haven’t read them all but I’m hoping my thoughts will be just as respected as anyone elses. So here goes! Football is hands down my favorite sport and you can’t help but be made aware of the Vick saga if you’re even remotely into sports news. I have to admit that my number one problem isn’t that Vick returned to the NFL but to the Eagles. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and the two teams are in the same division! But on a more serious note and here is where I ask for respect as much as I respect your opinions I believe that the man paid his debt to society and that should be enough. There are many many men and women who commit horrible acts some worst than Vick and we society give them a second chance. But that term doesn’t mean sweeping the act under the rug. We society legal system NFL all agree that what he did was wrong but again he’s not the only one. Now I don’t ever want to disrespect the memory of the deceased but recently another NFL legend was killed by his girlfriend whom he was cheating on his wife with. I have no doubt Steve McNair was great on the field and probably had much influence off the field. But all anyone talks about is his ‘legacy’ that he’s leaving on football. What about the ‘legacy’ left to his four children? His wife? Millions of youngsters who look up to him? Or aside from football what about the governor of South Carolina who used tax payer dollars to fund his adulteress trips to South America? I’m not a member of PETA ASPCA or the Humane Society and I admit that honestly I hope you can appreciate that. But I still don’t agree with what Vick did. And not only Vick but all the other men and women involved he wasn’t having dog fights alone in his house. I think we have to look at our priorities and really ask ourselves what’s important. Are not homicide cheating on your wifekids illegally using tax payer money etc. just as bad if not worse? Michael Vick made a dumb choice but how many of us who have lived long enough on this earth haven’t made dumb choices? Maybe not the same as Vick but bad nonetheless. Can we forgive him and move forward? Can we trust that the courts and the NFL have deemed the appropriate punishment? Let’s focus on feeding hungry children clothing the needy staying faithfully married and raising healthy generations and let Michael Vick go back to doing his job. Because I guarantee in 2 years we’ll have forgotten about it anyway. And if he does do something else stupid between now and then DUI domestic violence theft are we going to bring up the dog fighting again? I hope you can appreciate my commentsopinions. And even if you disagree with this Biblebelieving politicallyconservative footballloving meateater then I hope you can at very least respect my thoughts as you would like yours respected. Let’s learn from the mistakes ask God for the strength to forgive and even in the midst of differences…get ready for some football!!!

  • MARY KATHRYN says:


  • Matt says:

    I don’t condone what Vick did but I do believe that he should get a 2nd chance. Please PETA activists stay AWAY from my Eagles and the LinC. Eagles fans won’t put up with your protests all season long. I love MY dog but I want to see Vick get a shot…

  • Mark says:

    The Eagles need to be made aware that they are going to have to deal with this as long as he is on there roster

  • Tamra says:

    I am outraged that the humane society is backing him. They will never get another dime from me…. Speaking from emotion? MAYBE WE ARE. Forgive us but murdering dogs in the most barbaric of ways is very emotional. Again you want second chances redemption forgiveness and all that other nonsense fine. Let him have his second chance working a job with hourly wages volunteering etc. Don’t give him 1.6 million and take him back into the NFL. I don’t care if that is “his” profession or not. He should have thought about that before he committed those crimes!! PS. Code you meant your comment for me not Steve. The names are posted below the posts.

  • n. tran says:

    A lot of emotions flying on this message board hard to see the objective postings. Anyway Vick isn’t off the hook yet. A lot of people are talking about the millions he will make and how that should all go to animal charity and organizations. Actually his earnings will go straight to the people companies and banks that he owes tens of millions to. I’m happy that Vick has an opportunity to make his living again so he can have the opportunity to pay back the companies and banks that he owes money to. It’s not fair for those companies and banks to be left in the dust holding their in their hands. You can’t blame them for investing into Vick’s ventures because no one knew what Vick did the entire world was fooled. If Vick doesn’t play football like how all of you guys don’t wnat him to the biggest losers will be his investors.

  • Arnie says:

    In my widest dreams I didn’t think that the Eagles would stoop so low as to sign Vick. It is a known fact that serial killers start by murdering animals then working their way up to children and then finally graduating to adults usually women. I am no longer a fan of the NFL and have forbidden my children from watching or going to anything that has to do with the NFL. Time will show how wrong they were doing this. God have mercy on their souls.

  • Dean says:

    Take this scenario The eagles win the SuperBowl next year I freakin hope NOT Vick will get the opportunity to attend the White House invite for the champs. Will the savior of the universe Barack Obama turn him away? Or will he welcome him into the his home?

  • Dean says:

    I’m an avid NFL fan. I’m also the owner of a Black and Tan CKC Spaniel named “Killer” he’s 15 pounds and has a loving personality. Ironic name right?. I look at it in different ways. 1 Vick forced animals to fight each other for survival and for sport and they were trained as such. Smaller weaker animals were used in some of their training These dogs stolen out of peoples’ backyards sometimesIt disgusts me to think that THAT could have been my little Killer. I thought that Vick could have been sentenced to at least 5 years. 2 My love for the NFL was put on a sour note when Vick was taken away because I loved to watch him play except when he beat my Steelers 3 One day he WILL be judged by whatever creator put him here. Just live with patience on the matter and it will happen. Just not in YOUR time and as fast as you want it. You want to make the laws? Run for some highviz office and maybe you can. Until then you only have the Freedom of Speech. Exercise it as much as you like but stop preaching like you can decide. 4Most importantly I don’t view animals on our level therefore they do not get the same rights. Humane treatment is a MUST so I’m with you on that. I would still sacrifice my dog’s life to save my wife’s as much as it would hurt. He doesn’t decide what goes on in my house but he’s fine with it or else he wouldn’t run to me to be held when I come home. He’s treated ethically and lovingly. I must say that I’m stuck on whether or not I care to watch Michael Vick play because I watch the NFL as often as time allows. This doesn’t make me wrong just on the fence. He committed a crime went through the court system served the punishment and is moving on with his life. Like I said you may not like it but it’s the sometimes sad reality we live in governed by the people we elect into office.

  • Mena Keyes says:

    Eagles fans boycott the Philadelphia Eagles because they are getting Michael Vick. I received emails to Join the boycott The Philadelphia Eagles today. My family and friends are all longtime fans of the Eagles and I have received so many posts from them on Facebook to boycott anything Eagles related.

  • Meme says:

    DBrown…I had a pretty shitty life in my opinion but I’m not out abusing animals and I’m not desensitized to pain I actually LEARNED from my life and childhood and decided NOT to be that way…so the “It don’t have nothing to do with empathy” comment is CRAP. I see what you’re saying…but I’m so sick of people using their childhood and “I grew up in the ghetto” as an excuse for everything. He’s a grown man. He knows what’s right and wrong. It’s not like he’s an impressionable 13 year old who can be easily influenced by his peers.

  • Elizabeth Scalzo says:

    Well it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles need Vick more than the respect of the fans. It is time to let all of the sponsors of the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles know that its time for a change ….a boycott of products and viewers will be a great thing….start writing to the sponsors…stop buying the merchandise or better yet publicly burning it.

  • Shawn says:

    I agree the acts Michael Vick has demonstrated are horrendous and inexcusable and he should have to pay for his actions and take all responsibility for his conduct. The animals he tortured nor do any other animals deserve to be treated in that manner. But who among us can say we have lived a flawless life. Who among us can say we have never done anything wrong or things that we are not proud of that we too wanted forgiveness for. I am of the true belief that if Mr. Vick does anything that shows any resemblance of his former actions then he should lose everything including his freedom FOREVER. As for now we should practice something we have all participated in and been taught since an early age forgiveness. I’m not saying you have to support Mr. Vick or the Philadelphia Eagles but allow him to make positive conscious strides to better himself and maybe help stop a whole new generation of youth from making the same horrible horrific mistakes he made throughout his life. Boycotting the games and other events Mr. Vick appears at will not help the effort to stop these despicable acts. As an intelligent group PETA should really put the pressure on Mr. Vick to show he is truly willing to stop other from conducting these heinous crimes by putting him to task and letting him see again first hand what these maimed animals look like when they are rescued. Have him participate in the rehabilitation process to care for them and retrain then to help other not hurt them. As a positive organization PETA should look to help by conducting itself with positive actions not antiVick hatred.

  • Lora Roberts says:

    that man will never understand the meaning of what he did ! and he never should have been allowed to make living as a professional football player again i guess that is the new “role model” for the nfl. do something unforgivable and get away with it !!!!!!! plus how the organization claim they have the blessing of animal rights organizations in their decision to hire him !? ..

  • s KC says:

    I hope we can see where this guys 6 mil is going to be spent and make sure most of it goes to animal proection sources and especially to fight against his crime.. dog fighting in all states. I really don’t believe it will any more than I believe he is in the least rehabed. Good luck Eagles you will need it!!!

  • steven says:

    There are alot of people who let their emotions control their thoughts and their life. I read one comment about not ever forgiving Vick for his role in dog fighting. The lord forgives all sins all you have to do is believe and ask for forgiveness. Since when is a person not allowed to work after heshe gets out of prison? Playing football is Michael vicks profession. Fortunately for him it just has more perks than others.

  • Dave says:

    I truly believe in the ethicalhummane treatment of all animals. I support many of PETA’s efforts and visions. However I am starting to question the hearts of many of PETA’s finest members. Vick did a horrible understatement thing for many years. Killing and torturing dogs to me is like killing or torturing a person. However when he serves his mandated time and vows to change as a person and move forward from his terrible decisions how can anyone doubt his sincerety? I’ve read countless posts of people saying “He’s not sorry” “He won’t change” “He’s bringing shame to Philadelphia”. How does anyone know? As a son of God as an American should Michael Vick be given a chance to move forward? Instead of dwelling on his past mistakes which he’s openly admitted to and gotten professional psychological help for it would be advantageous and ethical for PETA to allow him to try and change his life. Support his efforts as he goes into the communitry and speaks to those about animal cruelty and the mistakes he’s made. Accept his donations to hummane societies as trying to payback his debts. Football is entertainment. And while the players are role models they are still people. Mistakes have been and will continue to be made by highly visible public figures. Embrace Michael Vick as a human being and move forward with him. Nothing can change his past but he can be responsible for his future and working with PETA and the Hummane Society to try and put an end to dog fighting. I think some PETA members speak too much on emotion and not about what’s going to be best for the future. If everyone in PETA protests all of the NFL Michael Vick Philadelphia…what’s that going to accomplish? Is the goal to hurt Michael Vick? Give the man a chance to redeem himself.

  • Nikki says:

    Just letting you know for your own safety. PROTESTERS should be wearing football gear if you go to Philly and protest their practicesgames. Not just because some of their extreme love for their team and football…but because they’ll be drunk too!

  • Mo says:

    I think we should concetrate on the real animals that are still out there organizing dog fights all over the country and let this guy prove to himself he can be a decent human being. I don’t buy the whole I’m sorry for what I did bull its more like I’m sorry I got caught the question is now that he did get caught and did “his time” how will he vindicate himself? As a good human being I feel sorry for him because what goes around comes around and bites you in the ass!

  • John witts says:

    Hello to all I dont really post here but I love the website. This is kind of a warning to people that will protest at the game . Philly fans are kind of ruff and they love there sports please becareful out there. I have seen them upclose. Have a nice weekend

  • Kayla says:

    How can this loser purchase a bulldog? I don’t understand how he is even allowed to have any animals?! Please someone explain how he can have animals?!

  • Denise Ritchie says:

    Let me start by saying that Michael Vick and dog fighting make me sick!!! However you have asked what example does it send to children that Michael Vick is now back in the NFL? It shows people can act with the love animals show and allow for forgiveness and a second chance. Also I hope he truly has learned who can better reach the kids that are still fighting dogs and maybe get them to stop? No offense but your organization is not making a dent in that. Give him a chance to make the difference we can’t.

  • Will says:

    Well I’m going to keep trying… “So Goodell suspends Dante Stallworth for 1 year including playoffs and Superbowl if applicable with no pay but Michael Vick is only suspended til Week 6 and he still gets paid. Where is the justice in that?” Nina Weiland. It’s obvious Ms. Weiland hasn’t paid a bit of attention to this case. Vick has missed the last two years and spent that time in jail. There’s your justice.

  • Pam says:

    I guess it must be true…If you have $$ fame you CAN get away with MURDER!!!

  • Kurt K says:

    Emma The fact that you are from the U.K. further hinders your arguement on this. This means you know even less about the US. I stated that what Vick did was terrible and he deserved what he got. He was convicted by a jury of his peers and senteced by a judge. He did what the law required of him. According to our laws he is all sqaure. He is not a teacher or a poice officer he has never worked as an accountant. He is a professional football player and that is what does best. To fault the guy for going back to the only thing he knows is ridiculous. You keep suggesting than I am acting like I am a 5 year old. I am the one looking at this from an objective point of view. You are letting you personal feelings and emotions cloud your judgement. Like I said what he did was very wrong. However if he keeps himself out of trouble he deserves forgivness. That doesn’t mean you have to forget what he did. Whether you like it or not Michael Vick has done more for your cause than ten years of protests. He brought dog fighting to light.

  • Merry Jo Edwards says:

    Please let me know how I can join PETA and what I can do to protest the decision by the Eagles to sign Vick on to their team. I’ve posted comments on several websites about this irresponsible decision and want to help in any way I can to help people understand what a bad decision this was. Shame on the Eagles organization!

  • D-Brown says:

    “So Vick can no longer just blame a lack of parental guidance or bad influences in his youth…” None of you get it. You will never understand what it’s like to grow up where you see drugs and violence everyday. And then you wonder why people fight dogs. You see much worse in the hood. You get used to it and desensitized to it. It don’t have nothing to do with empathy. The root cause is in these poor areas where violence is. You wanna stop dog fighting? Then go help the people clean up their neighborhoods and end the violence instead of trying to persecute one man to make a point.

  • emma says:

    philly…when some demented animal killer then goes on to kill humans which they more often than not do u wanna hope your not the victim. but then again if you were its o.k cause then we can say ‘never mind cause philly was only a moron’

  • akarki says:

    Honestly everyone he’s done two years in prison served the consequences of his actions. And coming from Newport Virginia Michael Vick was not the only one why don’t all you guys protesting Vick visit some of these cities? dog fighting still exists at a nightly basis all around. What Vick did was horrible disgusting but no one mentions how everyone he grew up with and the community he grew up with accepted dog fighting instead of blaming the man why not the environment he was raised in? Vick paid his dues made his mistakes and im GLAD eagles gave him a 2nd chance life is all about 2nd chances.

  • Tamra says:

    Ok you want to give him a second chance? Then give him a second chance….. just not a second chance where he is paid 1.6 million dollars for one year playing a sport that most can only dream of.

  • Melanie H says:

    Maybe those of you who support Vick are as inhuman as he is. Any form of life is precious Vick’s behavior and lack of remorse is so very evident. People like him are sociopaths can’t you see through him?

  • emma says:

    kurt you are quite right i am educated in footballnot im from the u.k where football is different to american football so yes i dont know much about american football i admit however i am very educated in whats right and wrong because im over the age of 5!!! the fact i am not a sports writer and i dont know the concept of the american game has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact this guy is a complete twat and does’nt deserve his place in sports whether or not he kicks a ball or throws a ball has nothing to do with this disscusion so trying to point out a ridiculous error on my part just goes to show your clutching at straws. and for your information ‘dear’ just because of his upbringing doesnt make the guy completely stupid and unaware of his actions he did it because he got off on it and he’s prob taught the same cruel sport to his children and the fact you and many others on here are supporting him is frightfully disturbing considering exactly what he did to the dogs. do you honestly think he went straight out and bought a bulldog pup out of love? yeah right but hold on you are telling us to wait untill he tortures that one before we write him off for good yeah we’ll just wait and see what pain yet another dog gets put through first shall we??? how can you say you definately know he wont do it again? what are you..his alter ego??. our david beckham is getting slated for playing for italy and missing some games on his return but this convicted dog killer and torturer is being welcomed with open arms and forgiven. get your priorities right people.

  • diogy says:

    Philly That’s what serial killers say too!

  • Judge and Jury says:

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

  • Rachel says:

    I think everybody who wants to give this waste of space Michael Vick a second chance because he’s “served his debt” should have him over to their house to babysit or better yet insist that your local school board hire him to work with their children.

  • Shadeymonk says:

    Everyone deserves a second chance. And yes if he is sorry and redeems himself then I would want my kids looking up to him. They would be able to see that we as humans aren’t always perfect but we CAN learn from our mistakes. All of that assumes he has learned from his mistakes. But no one can prove that if he doesn’t get a chance to show it. So I welcome him back in the NFL hopefully as a changed man. He’s paid his debt to society now he gets his chance to show that he learned something.

  • Melanie H says:

    I don’t agree with anyone who says Vick paid his debt to society. When you knowingly and willingly kill and torture animals that is not a mistake. You make a conscience decision to do it he ENJOYED doing it. No amount of prison time can fix what is wrong with Vick and he certainly does not deserve a second chance. He should be cleaning dog kennels the rest of his life that would be proper punishment.

  • sarah beagley says:

    I really think Vick deserves this second chance in Philly… He did his time and lost millions of dollars… he should be alowed to do his job again…

  • Philly says:

    They were only dogs not humans.

  • Linda Parella says:

    Michael Vick is a sick Monster and certainly not a role model for anyone. He should feel the pain those poor innocent dogs felt never mind live a life of luxury. If it was up to me he would still be locked up in a jail cell.

  • Doreen Lowery says:

    I understood Mr. Vick was not supposed to have any animals maybe I was wrong but someone needs to watch out for the bulldog he bought. I knew that the NFL would take him back they don’t care about the animals either. It’s all about game and the big M money.

  • Jay says:

    Help! I’m looking for a Philadelphia area protest today to protest the Eagles and Michael Vick.

  • Stacey O'Neale says:

    I don’t believe that Michael Vick is sorry. He’s only sorry that he got caught and lost all his money. What he did was abuse helpess animals for a number of years. Who will ever know the full extent of what he did. We only know what he got caught doing. He is a horrible human being and he does not deserve a second chance. He deserves to be poor and in jail.

  • Doug says:

    Although I am a season ticket holder of my former beloved football team the signing of that prick is absolutely disgusting. If I can help in any way here is the list of the corporate sponsors for the Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Group 94 WYSP radio Acme Markets Budweiser Miller Lite Nova Care Rehab Pepsi Sovereign Bank U.S. Airways Verizon Wireless 711 AAA AFLAC Best Buy CJ’s Tires Chrysler Comcast Comcast SportsNet Dietz and Watson Dunkin Donuts Gatorade Geico Heineken Idearc Media Independence Blue Cross Jeep Taco BellKFC MasterCard Motorola Papa John’s Pizza Pepcid The Original Philadelphia Cheesesteak Company Pennsylvania Lottery Philadelphia Inquirrer and Philadelphia Daily News American Red Cross ReMax Rite Aid Pharmacy Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA Snapple Splenda Tastykake TEVA Speciality Pharmaceuticals Jefferson University Hospitals Ticketmaster Ticket Exchange Waste Management Good luck in your efforts.

  • Nina Weiland says:

    So Goodell suspends Dante Stallworth for 1 year including playoffs and Superbowl if applicable with no pay but Michael Vick is only suspended til Week 6 and he still gets paid. Where is the justice in that?

  • Susan Cosby says:

    Vick deserves a second chance and is a good person