Armchair GM: Michael Vick is Destroying My Ability to Enjoy Steelers Football
Please read the first paragraph (at least) of this article before you comment on this post. Thanks.
“As that dog lay on the ground, fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs and Michael Vick grabbed its back legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn’t kill it. So, Phillips and Vick slammed it again. The two men kept at it, alternating back and forth, pounding the creature against the ground until, at last, the little red dog was dead.” Court documents quoted in the book ‘The Lost Dogs’
Sorry I had to hit you with that without warning but I’m really sick of people defending the man. And that’s one of the milder passages from the book, ‘The Lost Dogs’, of what went on at ‘Bad Newz Kennels’. If you still want to defend him after reading that promo I would ask everyone to say a prayer for you.
Living the Nightmare
Watching Ben go down and watching Michael Vick come in and ‘lead’ the Steelers is something so horrid and foreign to my perception of what the Steelers are about it may as well have been taking place in a David Lynch movie.
Mike Tomlin’s fist pump and hug with Michael Vick after his absolutely terrible performance at the end the Rams game just about made me want to throw up.
I’m serious. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I see him in a Steelers uniform.
From a Lifelong Steelers Fan
I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan of 45 years. Yeah, that’s right, scary but true. My life with the team I love, the Pittsburgh Steelers begins in 1970. They were the laughing stock of the NFL. They were a team who had never done anything. Art Rooney (the Old Man) had just brought in this Chuck Noll guy, who had a reputation for being tough, to try to make the hapless franchise into a winner Mean Joe Greene was an out of control rookie. Terry Bradshaw was yet to take a snap from center. There as no Swann, no Stallworth, no Franco, no Jack Lambert, No Mel Blount and no Steel Curtain. The Steelers going to a Super Bowl??? Yeah, right. In your dreams.
I’ve been with the team through thick and thin. Through the glory days of the 70’s Super Bowl years, through Cliff Stoudt proving Chuck Noll’s saying that the quarterback was, indeed, one eleventh of the offense. Through interminable decline and malaise of the 80’s. Through Bubby F-ing Brister. Through the early years of the Cowher era. Through the Super Bowl loss to the hated Cowboys. Through the Kordell Stewart pretending to be an NFL caliber quarterback days. All the way back to the return to former glory with 2 wins in 3 Super Bowl appearances and up to today, while I write this article.
In that time I’ve lived in Arizona, Florida and Los Angeles with a little stint in the heart of darkness, Dallas, Texas. But no matter where I lived there was always a core community of Steelers fans. We would gather at the local Steelers bar and in recent years watch NFL Game Pass at one another’s house. One of the things that was a characteristic of all Steelers fans and one of the reasons the team ‘travels so well’ is the belief that the Steelers represent a higher standard, not only in football but in the Rooney’s approach to the business. The fact that they were the first to start a black quarterback by choice, their leadership in fighting for the Rooney Rule, making it a requirement that minorities be interviewed for coaching positions, the Steelers unspoken 3 strikes rule on problem players, showing both understanding that we are all human and firmness that there a was a standard to be upheld, this with the toughness and no nonsense attitude form the core of the Steeler Way.
I’ve never not loved the Steelers. They are part of my DNA.
Lately, under Mike Tomlin, it can be said, the Steelers standard has been lowered. The tolerance of Ben’s past questionable activities, even though no charges were ever filed, have been a sore spot. Multiple occurrences with substance abuse among players, though hardly the sole domain of the Steelers franchise, have sullied that reputation. But nothing prepared me for the nightmare I am now living having a person who not only forced dog’s to fight each other in a vicious and cruel blood sport but killed dogs, electrocuting, hanging, drowning and beating to death helpless animals with his own hands for his own amusement.
I’m now in the impossible position of cheering for a team while hoping with all my heart it’s quarterback fails miserably.
Mike Tomlin, because this is totally Mike Tomlin’s call, has forced this horrid situation even when Matt Cassell (now gone to Dallas) Rex Grossman, who has actually led his team to Super Bowl, something Vick has never done and Matt Flynn, ALL better options for a backup quarterback, became available they were not even considered. It is Tomlin who hosted a football camp with Vick and Tomlin who reportedly wanted to sign Vick right after he got out of prison for racketeering charges.
So, no, Michael Vick has never served a day for cruelty to animals. Those charges which would have been a considerable were dropped due to his crafty lawyers. He repeatedly lied and only began telling the truth when others had turned witness against him. He does nothing to help and shows no interest in Vicktory Dogs, the organization who found homes for and rehabilitated dogs that were liberated from his cruelty. He has only done what was needed to preserve his career.
Maybe some of you can look beyond that. Maybe some of you can think that ‘winning’ is more important than the life of an animal who only wants love and is genetically hardwired to look to human beings for that love. Maybe some of you can get it out of your head that a pit bull has the intelligence of 2 to 3 year old child and has the simplicity of heart of a child. Maybe some of you can get the image out of your head of what their short lives were like in a hellish existence where they had to attack or be attacked and then, when they failed, were tortured to death by the one they were conditioned to look to for love and comfort. Maybe you can get the incredible level of cruelty Michael Vick inflicted on these poor animals, with his own hands for his own amusement, out of your mind and go on as if all is well.
Maybe you can but I really don’t know that I can.
As always but with sadness,