Open Letter to Art Rooney III Regarding Michael Vick
“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.” excerpt from ‘The Lost Dogs’.
Now, I want you to imagine actually doing this. Going through each action, deriving pleasure from it, so much so you keep going until you make sure the dog is dead. Can you do that Mr. Rooney?
I’m hoping your answer is no. So, why would you ever want someone on your team, representing your business and your home town who admitted to doing this or something similar ‘six to eight times’? The ‘six to eight times’ should give you pause, as well, because it speaks to a mind that had such little regard for the animals it was torturing to death, that it didn’t even think it was important to keep a tally.
That number is almost certainly a creation of Michael Dwayne Vick’s lawyers. This is an admission to a single incident ‘In or about, April, 2007″ according to the case, USA vs Michael Vick, Summary of the Facts. It is common dog fighting practice to kill under-performing dogs, dogs who have either lost a match or under-performed in trials. Michael Dwayne Vick has admitted to having a ‘fascination’ (why wasn’t it a revulsion?) with dog fighting since he was eight years old and his participation in dog fighting goes back long before his dog fighting business, ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ was formed. Vick admitted to participation in a number of fights between 2001 and 2007, with the qualifiers and the actual fights, it’s almost certain the number of killings is many times the amount he has admitted to.
The incredible cruelty of the killings should give anyone pause. These animals were tortured to death, by Vick’s own hand or at his direction for his amusement and the amusement of his friends. Dogs were hung so often, a dog ‘gallows’ was constructed on site for just that purpose. There were batteries with jumper cables and a drowning pool, where the cables could be attached to the dogs to electrocute them. There was evidence of claw marks in the pool were the dogs had struggled in vain to climb out. There were buckets for holding the dogs heads underwater until they were dead. There were shovels for bludgeoning the dogs to death. And if all else failed there was the tried and true method of slamming them to ground repeatedly which was described at the beginning of this missive.
And we haven’t even addressed the actual dog fighting, which in and of itself is inhumane in the extreme. Just do a search of the term and look at the images, associated with it. If it doesn’t turn your stomach, Mr. Rooney, I don’t know what will.
Now, the extreme ugliness of his cruelty to animals is not the only problem having Michael Dwayne Vick representing your business. Here is a list for your consideration, from Michael Vick’s Wikipedia page:
- “In early 2004, two men were arrested in Virginia for distributing marijuana. The truck they were driving was registered to Vick. Falcons coach Dan Reeves said he lectured Vick at that time on the importance of reputation, on choosing the right friends, and on staying out of trouble for the good of his team.”
- “On October 10, 2004, Vick and other members of his entourage, including employee and co-defendent, Quanis Phillips, were at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport on their way to board an AirTran flight. While they were passing through a security checkpoint, a security camera caught Phillips… picking up an expensive-appearing watch which belonged to… a security screener. After watching the theft on a videotape, (the security screener) filed a police report… Although Vick’s representatives declined to make him available for an Atlanta police inquiry, (the security screener) got the watch back six days later.”
- “After a loss to the New Orleans Saints on November 26, 2006 in the Georgia Dome, Vick made an obscene gesture at fans in an apparent reaction to booing, holding up both hands with the middle finger extended. He was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity.”
- “Vick surrendered a water bottle that had a hidden compartment to security personnel at Miami International Airport on January 17, 2007. “The compartment was hidden by the bottle’s label so that it appeared to be a full bottle of water when held upright,” police said. Test results indicated there were no illegal substances in the water bottle and Vick was cleared of any wrongdoing Vick announced that the water bottle was a jewelry stash box, and that the substance in question had been jewelry.”
Okay, why would you ‘stash’ jewelry in a fake compartment to get the jewelry through a metal detector when it almost certainly would set the detector off?
- June of 2010, Vick’s co-defendent, Quanis Phillips was shot after a confrontation with Vick. Phillips had attended Vick’s birthday party, “… there was a confrontation between Phillips and Vick inside the party, that the confrontation then moved outside, and that’s when Phillips was shot.” None of the witnesses, including Phillips, would cooperate with the police investigation, so, no charges could be brought. (NBC Sports, Mike Florio, June 25, 2010)
Now, Mr. Rooney can you honestly tell me that the Steelers would ever allow a player to stay on the team after they had done any of the things above? Not the Steelers organization I grew up with.
Has Michael Vick ‘paid his debt to society’? He repeatedly lied to the authorities about his involvement in the dog fighting and torture/killings until other co-defendants started turning evidence against him. He was never charged for all the counts of animal cruelty. If he were to face all those charges he could have been looking at 65 years in prison by some accounts. The reason dog fighting exists is for gambling. It is a gambling sport, one Vick participated in, so much so, he felt compelled to start his own fighting kennels. Was Vick charged with gambling, even though there were multiple reports of him being a major player in the gambling associated with the blood sport? No. Again his lawyers knew that would be the kiss of death for a professional athlete. He was charged with one count of “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fight Venture”, instead of the much heftier charge of animal cruelty, even though Vick admitted to torturing to death ‘six to eight’ dogs. So I would put to you, no, Mr. Rooney, he has not come close to paying his debt.
Is Michael Dwayne Vick reformed? In one interview, which was broadcast on ‘The Norm McDonald Show’, he was asked if he had any regrets, anything he would change about his life and his reply was, “I would change my prison sentence from 18 months down to 5.” In his “60 Minutes” interview, he said he felt disgust for what he was doing ‘In prison’. Not the first time he tortured a dog to death, not the second time. Not during all the dog fights where he saw dogs ripped to shreds. It wasn’t until he was found guilty and forced to live in prison. He hasn’t given any support monetary or otherwise to ‘Vicktory Dogs’, the organization that rehabilitated and cared for the dogs that were seized from Bad Newz Kennels. If you go to the Humane Society’s page on Vick you will only find an acknowledgement that they had an association with him. I defy anybody to read it as an endorsement. And as for his ‘efforts’ in the cause to stop dog fighting I would put to you that he has only done what is necessary to save his career. The torturing of animals is often a gateway for sociopaths to move on bigger and more horrible crimes. The organization PETA, formally asked the NFL to ask that Vick be subjected to psychological testing for the disorder. The NFL declined to do so.
Many fans have been dismayed by this signing. It has caused a deep division in the fan base of your business. It goes to the heart of the belief of whether or not their is such a thing as ‘the Steeler Way’. We fans fight the battle of public opinion for your business everyday and I can tell you this Michael Dwayne Vick issue is indefensible. Have you lost fans because of the Vick signing? That is almost certain. This letter, for example bears the endorsement of “Pittsburghers Against Michael Vick by Rally For Animals, Anti-Cruelty Group”, which has nearly 30,000 Facebook followers. It shouldn’t matter whether or not it effects your immediate bottom line, because there’s no reason it ever should have happened to begin with. Vick is in my opinion, an albatross. He’s never brought anything good to any team he’s ever been with. In my opinion and the opinion of many others, the sooner he’s off the team the better, but that Mr. Rooney, only you can decide.
Well, Mr Rooney, this is Michael Dwayne Vick. Can you tell me your namesake would have tolerated such a man to be on his team? Would he want someone like Vick representing his home town? Would he welcome such a divisive and polarizing personality? Would he want Michael Dwayne Vick associated with the Rooney name?
I can’t believe he would and I can’t believe you would either.