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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

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  • Dog Owner RF says:

    Mr. Jackson Animal cruelty doesn’t stop with animals. The behavior doesn’t go away. It’s the difference of knowing what is RIGHT vs WRONG. I’m sure we’ll see another abusive event come from Michael Vick in the near future whether it be an animal or human. So no we won’t “leave him be”. It’s not acceptable behavior… and he just bought another dog!

  • joe jackson says:

    honestly he did his time lost close to 200 million and not to mention his nike contract and tow years he cant get back in the nfl . yeah what he did was wrong but lets be honest he didnt kill a human being….there is a player who recently killed someone while drving drunk and he didnt serve but like 4 days in jail….WHATS WRONG WITH U PEOPLE LEAVE HIM BE…

  • DR says:

    I was horrified and sickened as I watched Larry King this week discussing the atrocities committed by Michael Vick. Someone who can be so cruel and inflict so much pain on another living creature is missing compassion and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong in his overall genetic makeup. This is not eliminated by serving 18 months in jail or by saying I am sorry. This person needs intensive psychological help before he should be allowed to have anything to do with animals. Sports and entertainment personalities are elevated to a higher level in our society children and some adults look up to these people and aspire to be like them. Michael Vick should not be reinstated to his position with the NFL he doesn’t deserve it. As for speaking out on behalf of abused animals how many of us would want to listen to a murderer profess his regrets and reasons why another should not commit the same act. Michael Vick is a murderer animals deserve our love and protection we are their voice. Michael Vick has earned large sums of money over the years let him use these funds to assist organizations who speak out for and protect animal rights. If sometime in the future after seeking professional help and proving his reform then maybe he can speak out against animal abuse.

  • Johnny says:

    It shouldn’t matter. He should be in jail for life.

  • Tina says:

    I live in Indianapolis IN and was always so very proud to say that Tony Dungy represented our citystate with so much dignity..and then along came Michael Vick! Shame on you Tony for going to bat for him. That was a total surprise. I do believe that we all make mistakes in life and deserve a second chance I wonder what poor ol’ Pete Rose thinks of this? Gambling seems so lame compared to this.

  • Aaron says:

    Why shouldn’t Vick be allowed to play in the NFL agaian? It’s his job. Are you hippies saying a man isn’t allowed to support his family because he was involved in dogfighting? Weird!

  • Tammy says:

    Has anyone from the media asked him why he threw his own house pets in there with the pitbulls and laughed while they were being torn to pieces? I do not believe a word from this so called man about any remorse. And I think him having to go around acting like he gives a damn now is a form of punishment for him too. You know he hates doing that. And why wasn’t he banned from owning any more animals?

  • A sad mother says:

    the man personally killed dogs with his bare hands pulled all the teeth out of bait dogs went to church and college and somehow he missed the memo he didn’t realize what he was doing was wrong…..he knew it was illegal cause he knew he had to hide it but he just didn’t know it was wrong to sadistically kill countless dogs for the fun of it.. I hope while he was in prison they made him watch Dogtown over and over and over and over and over. He can rot in hell and the eagles too for hiring him. Big deal he can still throw a football and Tony Dungy and Jesus are vouching for him to live a nice cushy life too bad his animals have to relive their torture at his hands and the scum that helped him every night in their dreams

  • tamra says:

    Funny how Vick served 18 months for his crimes. He is harrased and he is trying to do something to repair the harm he has done whether its in his heart or not he is doing it. Yet DMX when his case came up around the same time the 2nd time he has been brought up on Animal Cruelty charges serves what 90 days makes no reperations no apologys and hey guess what no Peta Harrasment.At least not as far as you are doing with Vick. I think what Vick did was atrocious. But DMX 2nd time around was just as hideous. Yet YOU looked over DMX in the media and went straight for the gold. Apparently only NFL Players get the red letter treatment with Peta. Maybe you could protest yourselves for not putting pressure on the criminals equally.Learn to have a little bit of fairness in your judging of people. I haven’t seen you protest to the record labels and such that DMX shouldn’t be allowed to sing.

  • Kay Rogers says:

    Everyone deserves a second chance and their is not one of us who have not made a mistake in judgement. I am a animal lover but I am also a person who believes in forgiveness. Forgive Vick just like you have been forgiven for your mistakes. It is the christian thing to do and stop playing GOD!

  • marianne ashley says:

    michael vick is only remorseful because he got caught. he didn’t care about the dogs then and he doesn’t care now. if the opportunity came up again he was sure he’d get away with it he’d do it again. hw should still be in jail.

  • Gypsie Dragoo says:

    What has to happen with these people before we stop them forever. All they have to do is say they are sorry and then we say okay what can we do to make you happy. And how much money do you want? Shame on the Eagles. Its not fair to the other good moral men on the team.

  • Karen says:

    Roger Goodell made a big mistake allowing Mike Vick back in the NFL. What did Mike Vick do the minute he was released from home confinement prison? With the nation watching his every move the idiot went to a strip club. Come on folks he was allowed to spend the last 6 months of his prison sentence to home confinement. Remember he does have a livein girlfriend. The only reason why so many NFL players wanted Mike back was because Mike didn’t release their names as spectators gamblers in dog fighting.

  • Ken says:

    Yes Michael Vick did some horrible things and if he had done them to my dogs I would have had to serve time as well for his murder. But everybody does things that they regret. Is he sorry probably not. Should he play again in the NFL probably not. But is it right to continue to run him down and protest him and his team now that he has done what the courts said to do probably not. Is it the Christian attitude to never forgive a man that says he is trying to do better and even is helping with humane orginazations now probably not. Then why keep this going? Untill he gets into trouble again for the same thing…please leave him and his team alone. It just makes you look bad not him.

  • Kurt K says:

    Emma Don’t get me wrong I didn’t mean that sense you are from the UK that you couldn’t comment I was trying to suggest that sense you are from the UK you may not have the full understanding about the NFL rules. I would never suggest that you couldn’t comment on a subject strickly because you are not from the country of origin. That would be censorship and as an American I am fully against that. Sorry for the bad wording.

  • Robin Gardella says:

    I am sickened beyond words at Vick’s cruelty and psychopathic glee at inflicting pain on animals much more evolved than himself evidently. A business like the Eagles only understands one thing money. What we need to do is not only protest the Eagles but all advertisers who air commercials during their games. THIS is how we can protest and hurt them the most!

  • Terri Edwards says:

    Micheal Vick is a thug. What he did to those animals is unacceptable to me even if he has “served his time”. What other criminals get off like he has and offered a million dollars for working. This society need to wake up and quit supporting these so called athletes. Once a thug always a thug!

  • Heather Lee says:

    Well he’s coming to Philly my hometown. It makes me ill. I work in one of the more ghettoish neighborhoods of the city and it won’t surprise me at all to see many of the residents wearing Vick jerseys. After all raising pits for fighting is a common theme here. Sick sick sick.

  • Maegan says:

    Hearing all the new things about this man in the news makes me sick to my stomach. It kills me to know anyone can commit the acts of violence and cruelty to animals and have a chance to live the dream. This isn’t his 1st “2nd chance”!! What about the drug in the sports bottle and the “Ron Mexico” If someone would have looked at each incident and NOT let it just blow by this might have never happened. His excuse of growing up and seeing it being part of why he did what he did is outragous.. Each and every person has 1 life and their own choices.. The news has made many attempts to make people aware dogfighting and animal cruelty is NOT OK For him to be able to use that excuse after all the protesters and media coverage is insane. For all those people who believe in 2nd chances investigate how many 2nd chances this degenerate has been given. I’m a fan of football animals of all kinds and an owner of a pit bull who lives to give and receive love.

  • bonbowl says:

    If he is so damn sorry he did this.. He knows who else is doing it and they need to be turned in.. No way should he be allowed to play he needs to clean up his friends act.. it is now time to face up Vick.. turn em in if you want to win. Prove yourself.. stop crying about your career

  • Nan W says:

    1st Vicks was allowed to finish part of jail at home under house arrest. 2nd Most abusers do not change even after caught and punished. A person was known to buy a dog start feeding it then start to starve it. He was reproted dog taken he bought another. Did it again. He had to be watched was but he never changed. Anyone able to laugh at abuseor laugh while abusing has no conscience. It matters not how much jail and fines Vicks paid. He thought he was right. People change only after they want to do so. He was forced for being caught. Like a drug addict in rehab. The folks wanting to quit agree it’s hard they must stay in a 12 Step program after rehab or they go back to using. Vicks used drugs also. So Vicks buys another dog is allowed to finish sentence under house arrest hired can’t play for a couple months but is paid big money again. Vicks must be watched. Just like the man I described above. All those waiting for God to punish people. God gave us free will for sure. God made us stewards of the planet including all in it. We are responsible for one another and that includes taking proper care of the defenseless and voiceless.

  • JJ says:

    Send Michael Vick back home.He is not a changed man. 60 Minutes did all of us an injustice by letting Vick speak. Show us the money Vick and donate your salary to the Humane Society.

  • Tim W says:

    I watched mike’s interview with james brown tonight. I don’t take repentance lightly. Repentance means to change the way one thinks and to turn away from. I do forgive mike BUT I don’t believe he is changed. In his interview I didn’t hear anything about change. I did hear he was sorry for losing his stardom and life for two years. I didn’t hear where he regrets what he did to those animals or how he would implement action to discourage dogfighting. Repentance takes place within one’s heart and is shown by action. It takes time to give someone trust again. I believe the NFL made a huge mistake for bringing him back so soon without seeing his actions over an extended period of time.

  • eric glanz says:

    I want him at the bottom of the same swimming pool he violently murdered dogs in. He deserves the exact same treatment and death that he executed on those poor animals. How about hooking some jumper cables to his Bs like he did to those poor dogs? Lousy piece of ST! i hope the EAGLES are picketed!

  • Heidi says:

    Is PETA organizing a protest against this jackass on opening day? He can’t even speak properly during this 60minute interview. He does NOT feel bad at all for what he did. And how’s the Humane Society working with him?? Maybe I’m too enraged while watching this interview but he seems pathetic and only care about fixing his image something he isn’t capable of without an educated team to tell him what to say. What a fn LOSER!!!!

  • patricia says:

    Micheal Vick deserve to be kick off of the eagles football team!! there should be a protest against him!! he is an evil evil man!!

  • Dave Daller says:

    Tell the eagles that oj is available! Anything for a stuper bowl appearance.

  • robyn feudo says:

    newspaper are saying that peta is being quiet….why are we not organizing protests? why isnt making waves…..we need to make more noise sponsors will listen they will be afraid if pets starts some protests.

  • Chuz says:

    I’d like to see more media attention on factory farms and slaughter houses. If we held them as accountable as we do Vick it would be a step in the right direction. He’s a small fry.

  • shanay king says:

    I’m a huge fan of Micheal vicks and I was very disappointed when I heard that he was fighting dogs. However those without sin can cast the first stone.

  • Lynn says:

    What makes me so angry is that the NFL has reinstated Vick after his admitted guilt to killing innocent dogs. He now has a criminal record and in no way is an example of what the NFL should stand for! Maybe everyone needs a second chance but not as an NFL player making millions of dollars. He could get a job somewhere else. The NFL should have higher standards and it should be a privilege to play not a guarantee. Vick does not live up the the type of standards we hold for our families and children. I would really like to see the NFL take a firmer stand on these issues.

  • Pytn says:

    The only reason these sports stars are even held in such high esteem is because of you fanatic sports fans. Why should ANY athlete be paid such exorbitant monies? Stop worshipping them the fall won’t be so hard when they do something you don’t like. No athlete should ever be referred to as a hero how twisted is that?! You people are part of the problem but will take no accountability when things go wrong. And you have the nerve to judge others?!

  • Evan says:

    “And as he walks he can remember how lucky he is to have been able to afford an army of highpriced attorneys who got him a plea bargain so that he wouldn’t be charged with all the many abuses and crimes that took place ” How lucky? They took all his money and the authorities made an example of him. He did WAY more time than most people do for dog fighting.

  • Ashleigh says:

    I find it digusting that people think that money a piece of effing paper that YOU give value too is more important then life. Micheal Vick is a coward and deserves to rot. He may have a lot of money but he doesn’t have a heart. Just another self involved piece of st who thinks he can buy his way out of anything.

  • MJ says:

    Michael Vick made a mistake that will haunt his football career forever and rightly so. I could care less how sorry and remorseful he is. As far as I’m concerned the only thing he is sorry about is getting caught. Plenty of time money and effort are expended by organizations educating the public about dog fighting and the only positive thing to come out of the Michael Vick fiasco was bringing attention to the suffering of animals used in illegal dog fighting rings.

  • Alexandra Burkowsky says:

    I believe that what Michael Vick did is absolutely horrific! I am an advocate for animal rights 100! I truly believe that people can change despite past illegal malicious behavior. Instead of spending so much time energy protesting against him we should make him work in our favor. Make him a spokesperson for animal rights! This will send a very strong message for people who grew up in a negative environment as he did. I feel that this would make a bigger impact than anything else!

  • Joey S says:

    Wow I can not believe that people are comparing what Michael Vick did to hunting. Are you kidding me. People say he served his time are you kidding me. He served 2 years for gambling not for the acts of abuse he got bs probation for that. And do you really think he is doing public service because he wants to ummm no it is because that other POS Roger Goodell told him he had to. People only think Vick was a Bystander he was not he was an organizer and an active participant in the brutalizing torturing and murdering of innocent dogs. That is a sick and twisted individual. HIS SECOND CHANCE IS THAT HE IS ALLOWED TO WALK FREE PERIOD. IT DOES NOT ENTITLE HIM TO BE A ROLE MODEL TO CHILDREN. HE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN OJ SIMPSON AND WHAT DID THAT POS DO WITH HIS SECOND CHANCE…LETS SEE HE IS SITTING IN JAIL WHERE HE BELONGS. I am all for forgiveness I do not judge people for I know that the Lord is our only judge but that does not mean I have to sit back and support and organization that glorifies sick and twisted people and allows them to be role models to children. GO PETA

  • donna says:

    I do not think he is sorry for anything except getting caught and once he gets back in the NFL for good and the story dies downwe’ll see just how much he continues to help animals. He is such a joke.

  • Becky Alke says:

    Psychopaths don’t change. They lie. They pay the fee for their wrong doing and say I’m so sorry and strangely get put back into the limelight and paid millions again. What’s wrong with this picture sportsfans? Right is right wrong is wrong. Mr. Vick is NOT done paying his debt because he’ll do it all over again undercover in hiding just like the first time. PETA DON’T LET UP THE FIGHT. We know better with people like Vick. I cannot even imagine the state of terror of the animals he handled. No mercy for people like Vick. Snohomish WA

  • Marta says:

    Michael Vick the NFL and the Eagles should be run out of town. It’s sickening how money trumps all. What Vick did is not a mistake or a mere lapse in judgement. This wasn’t a DWI a bar fight or even a cocaine addiction or a domestic disturbance. Vick’s behavior is pathological. He is a broken man who cannot be fixed by a brief prison stay community service and slick pr. He is a hard wired animal abuser. And he didn’t “do the time”. He was involuntarily incarcerated and for a very very short period of time. He should not be given any credit for that. He’s not one of those old timer lifers who are worthy of redemption because of the wisdom self awareness and humility that come with age and decades of confinement. Why is it that less than a year ago a good portion of the American public wanted Michael Phelps’ career destroyed because he did a bong hit? And Pete Rose still can’t get into the hall of fame because of a albiet serious gambling scandal that’s now ancient history. Yet here we have the greedy opportunistic pimping Eagles forking over $1.6 million to a man who not very long ago tortured mutilated and executed animals all in the name of sick sport. There is no reason for Eagles NFL fans to be torn on this issue. You’ve got sports writers out there saying that at the end of the day all fans really want is a winning team. Really? How insulting. Vick is a disgrace and he should at least for now be treated as one. He could have used his riches for good works. Hell he could have blown it all on fancy cars homes drugs and high priced hookers. Instead he put his time and money into a most depraved and inhumane activity. This whole thing makes me want to puke.

  • Roni says:

    If anyone has a response to DBrown’s email I am interested too. I live in the Philadelphia area and I am so saddened upset and in disbelief by this signing. I will not watch any of the Eagle games and I will welcome the opportunity to join other PETA protesters outside The Lincoln Financial Center. I also want to hit the pockets of all Sponsors. Thank you Barabara for the detailed list of those Sponsors. I really believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed a deal with the devil and if a Super Bowl is won it was won with with the blood of those poor animals.

  • Sheila says:

    Bravo Mr. Cohen am sick of hearing he did his time paid for the crimes blah blah blah it’s all empty words yes he gets out of jail for doing his time but paid for the crime? not even close. let him work in an animal hospital for two years work directly with animals that have been devastated by vicious humans. the world is watching this unrepentant criminal.

  • Lee says:

    BPaul being a black male and reading your post it really hits home. God allowed us to have dominion over the earth. What Vick did was obviously not what God had intended. He sinned. Well I have sinned. And I will guess that 100 of the individuals on this blog fall short of the Glory. The real questions is has he repented? Hopefully he can turn this mistake into a testimony for the betterment of others who may not see the harm in dogfighting. I support Vick to be a better example in the body of Christ regardless of his football career…

  • Jeffrey J Brown says:

    Like a lot of other people this is my first time on the PETA website. Is PETA going to post a list of corporate NFL sponsors advertisers?

  • Richard L Buttrey says:

    Dear Sir Please let it be known that I will never watch a broadcast which contains a team that employs Michael Vick. I am an avid sports fan and attend many games but I cannot and will not condone the use of a player who profited from such a sickening display as dogfighting. I fear anyone so depraved cannot possibly be cured after a sentence of only two years. I will use my voice and that of my many disabled friends families employess and clients to let advertisers be aware of our concern. The next time you pet your dog think about holding his head underwater until he is drowned and then say that Mr. Vick deserves a second chance. I know many who truly deserve a second chancehe is not one of them. Sincerely Richard L Buttrey

  • Mike J. says:

    Good for the Eagles. I am happy that the Eagles are an understanding organization and are willing to give Vick the chance to show his remorse. Everyone deserves forgiveness and a second chance. There are a handful of other NFL players who have done far worse things then Vick and I see no one complaining about them. You all preach monster or killer but if you were educated about the NFL and pretty much any american sport you would know that Michael Vick isn’t as bad as others. Gun charges Abuse Battery Manslaughter etc. etc. Let the man play and let the man find himself. Donovan McNabb is a great mentor for Vick and the Eagles organization is one of the premier organizations in the league. Good for you Eagles and I hope Vick finds the right path and follows it.

  • susan says:

    Tanya you are really stupid!!!!!!!!! John Doe you are 100 right. I worked as a nurse in a jail and they are very well taken care of. Bill if you remember OJ was found not guilty. And Code and Seth Nix quit your preaching of god. Go to church and spare us from youe sermons. Vick is a prick. Enough said!!!

  • BPaul says:

    There is a culture of dog fighting in the US. Yes it’s inhumane and disgusting. However they’re was a time when dogs were used to terrorize black men women and children in this country. Some peoplefamilies were raised to see dogs as nothing more than weapons and not as pets which may have helped create a culture of dog fighting. This doesn’t excuse the people that partake in dog fighting but there is a reason why some people are emotionally detached from these dogs. Mr. Vick commited these sick crimes and has been punished. Hopefully PETA and it’s supporters can see that because of Mr. Vicks case there has been a huge amount of awareness about the serious penalties and moral outrage that dog fighting produces. Let Mr. Vick go on with his career and continue to raise awareness of this issue. He can reach communities and kids that otherwise may not pay any attention. with peace and respect BPaul.

  • Traci Peters says:

    Michael Vick should be banned from the NFL. Didn’t he make enough money from the NFL? Then he reduces himself into killing helpless animals to make more money. He says he changed thats a joke he just got caught. He should never be allowed to play football in the NFL and be in the public eye!!

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