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I'm Glad the President Spoke Out About Vick: It's Just What He Said That Bothered Me


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I understand President Obama’s choice to speak out on Michael Vick. The President reportedly phoned to congratulate Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie for giving the convicted felon a second chance. 

President Obama explained that a level playing field rarely exists for
prisoners who have completed their sentences. Vick’s success gives all
of them hope. And the President has been following Vick, in part, simply because he’s a football fan.

Vick, who is having a career comeback year, after spending nearly 2-years
in jail for charges associated with dogfighting, may even lead the
Eagles to a Super Bowl. Vick could be the league’s Most Valuable Player,
Comeback Player of the Year and already has been named to the NFL Pro
Bowl.

I don’t begrudge the President’s option to speak out on social issues, that’s been happening (according to history buffs) dating back to the Father of our Country.

I have no problem with the President serving as an ethical as well as political voice for America. Though, to me, a phone call to the Eagles owner seems above and beyond. No
matter, my real questions are about the content of what President Obama had to say, and how this redemption – or better put, celebration of Vick is absolutely inconsistent and counter to the President’s long history of concern about the erosion of the family, ethical responsibilities of parents, and particularly fathers not being appropriate role models. And not only has the President long weighed in on these topics, so has Michelle.  
I could offer thousands of hyperlinks on the topic.
*Speaking in Chicago in 2008, the President said, “They (fathers) have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men”.
*Less than a year later, in Arlington VA, 2009 the President said, If we want our children to succeed in life, we need father’s to step up.What truly makes a man a father is the ability to raise a child and invest in that child.”

Melia and Sasha with the four-legged member of the First Family, Bo. The President has said countless times that dogs are members of the family.

And this entire conversation began, ironically, because Vick said that it would assist his rehabilitation to get a dog for his daughters.

Also, I don’t even need a hyperlink for this – it’s common knowledge, how the President and First Lady had repeatedly spoken about how having a dog would be like adding another member to their family….And once they got Bo (their Portuguese Water Dog), they’ve been very public about calling Bo a family member. Dogs, say the Obama’s (and most of America) are supposed to be members of the family.

Not only do the Obama’s have a long history of speaking out against
domestic violence, but on September 30, 2009, the President even signed a proclamation naming October Domestic Violence Awareness month. And as recently as October 2010, the President launched a multi-agency campaign against domestic violence. In June, 2009, the President named Lynn Rosenthal Domestic Violence Czar. 

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This is hugely relevant, and inconsistent. We KNOW there’s the Link
between fighting dogs (animal abuse) and spousal abuse and/or child
abuse. Do the Obama’s not know this? Or perhaps, they don’t care –
because like most people in America they are far more swayed by a successful
sports superstar than by the character of the individual. Some are even
calling Vick a hero for his accomplishments on the field.

Illustration of a vaccine that kills cancer cells….Do the scientists working on these cancer killing vaccines receive encouraging calls from the President? Are they hailed as heroes?

To me, the heroes
of 2010 are medical researchers who are helping us to find ways to win
the war against cancer
; heroes are our military families and their loved
ones overseas fighting for our country and there are heroes among us
who every day make a difference in some way to make this a kinder world.

The Government wouldn’t pay for this statue honoring working dogs of the military since World War II, and saving countless human lives. Obama supported the idea, though and supports the military of course. Then, heroes come back from overseas injured physically and/or psychologically with few resources. Where does the President stand to help them? Ironic, many could use an assistance dog (there’s a shortage at the moment). Many also benefit from animal assisted therapy programs. Perhaps, they could benefit from additional funds to support.

How has Michael Vick done that? What has he really accomplished?

We spend millions on buying Vick’s jersey (and other Vick merchandising
with much more on the way should the Eagles partake in the Super Bowl) – not only
Eagle fans, but all over the country. How much do we spend supporting
organizations like the American Humane Association, whose mission it is
to protect children and animals? I am on the Board of Directors of the
American Humane Association, but I use this organization as only one
example and to make a point.  

Yes, people on my blog and some others may complain – but it seems
America is ready to offer Vick far more than redemption, from the President on down, it seems Vick is to be celebrated.

Vick, whom endorsers shunned after the dogfighting controversy, is now
the pitchman for a Nissan dealer in Woodbury, N.J.,
outside
Philadelphia.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the NFL donated proceeds of sales of Vick’s jersey (it’s logo material, so the NFL receives some profit) to an organization that protects both children and animals.

I think if Vick’s ‘handlers’ manage to swing an adoption of a nice
little puppy, Vick is well on his way to resurrecting his potential with
a myriad of FAR larger and luctrative sponsors. My guess,
the Humane Society of the United States is on board with Vick because they have been, and in hopes of ultimately
profiting from Vick’s good fortune. It’s one thing to offer redemption –
it’s another to celebrate Vick and go as far as to call him a hero. That is what’s happening out there, like it or not.  

Michael Vick did pay his price to society, and I believe he has the right to be gainfully employed and succeed at his chosen profession. Good for him that he’s managed to pull that off under great pressure. But this doesn’t give him the ‘right’ to have a dog. First, it’s not a ‘right.’ Second, judges presumably deny the opportunity to have a dog to other convicted dogfighters for a reason. Most of all, Vick having a dog is so pointedly counter to all the reasons that ironically the President and First Lady have made so eloquently themselves about fathers being appropriate role models, about family values and about family violence and abuse.  

Apparently, what I am about to say is quite unpopular – but Vick is hardly a hero.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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