Michael Vick is in the news again. After almost four years, Nike has again signed Michael Vick to a lucrative endorsement deal. How does that make you feel?
As an American I am ashamed to admit the culture of celebrity-worship in this country is growing. I understand sports are a big thing to a lot of people. Sports stars are paid an inordinate amount of money to play games. Children and grown-ups alike are awed by them, admire and worship them and pay good money to watch them play those games. What’s wrong with this picture?
Vick’s history with dog fighting is well known. In 2007 he pleaded guilty to racketeering charges for bankrolling his infamous Bad Newz Kennels. Because he pled guilty to those charges he served no time for animal cruelty due to his actual participation in the beating, drowning and electrocution of under-performing pit bull dogs. He served 18 months of a 23 month sentence and shortly thereafter was welcomed back into the NFL (National Football League) when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a third string quarterback in August, 2009.
Over the past couple of years Vick continues to be in the news. In December, 2009 The Philadelphia Eagles players voted Vick the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. Call me callous, but I still think that was a public relations ploy put in place by the Eagles’ administration. Recently Vick received the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Award for Subway Sportsman of the Year. Many were not pleased. Here is a Care2 petition asking BET to retract the award.
Sure, he has worked with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in their End Dogfighting Campaign by talking with kids at schools about the evils of dog fighting. Many animal advocates were horrified by the teaming of an organization like HSUS — that speaks out against the depraved dog fighting culture — with one of that culture’s most well known participants. Have Vick’s efforts convinced any children to avoid the dog fighting life? Who knows for sure?
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Nike spokesman Derek Kent. “We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete, Michael acknowledges his past mistakes. We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field.”
Let’s face it; money talks. And professional football is all about the money. But isn’t a dog’s life more important than money?
If you are appalled by Nike’s endorsement of Michael Vick consider letting your feelings be known. Sign the Care2 petition. But more importantly, pledge to boycott Nike until they dump Vick. There is a Facebook campaign going to boycott Nike.
A comment on that Facebook page by Donna Orsinski-Meanquale sums up the feelings of many animal lovers: “I would walk barefoot in the heat of the day before I would ever put shoes on that Michael Vick promoted! He is a worthless human being!”
Where do you come down on this? Please comment..
Photo credit: Flickr: Peter Schinkel