White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle caused a controversy when he admitted in an interview with MLB.com that when he watches the Eagles play he hopes that Mike Vick will get hurt.
The interview — which abruptly pulled the offending quote without explanation — was about Buehrle’s love for dogs and the work that he and his wife have done with animal shelters trying to get pets adopted.
The Buehrles have started an organization that works with local shelters to find homes for dogs and have recorded PSAs encouraging people to “Let [a dog] steal home. Adopt a pet.”
When Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick came up in the conversation Buehrle didn’t mince words, saying that he and his wife Jamie wish Vick would get injured while playing as further punishment for his involvement in dog fighting.
“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt…Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
Saving some and shooting others
But perhaps the most confusing aspect of the whole situation for me personally is why Buehrle has been branded an animal rights activist when he is an avid hunter. Of course I don’t want to see dogs die in shelters so I support people adopting pets but advocating for the lives of one species while going into the woods to murder another species shows a glaring failure of logic.
It’s hard enough to grasp when people work for the good of some animals while eating others but the contradiction becomes overwhelming when a person is killing for the fun of it.
When asked about the contradiction of wishing harm on Mike Vick while he himself kills animals for sport Buehrle responded by saying that hunting is legal and that you can buy hunting supplies in stores, as though that changes the moral question at all.
“Hunting is a sport. There are hunting stores out there. If that’s illegal, shame on my dad and my grandpa and his grandpa. It’s kind of been brought up throughout the history of America. The last time I knew dog fighting was a sport was never.”
It’s a weak justification. There are plenty of traditions in America that are legal now or were legal in the past that were morally reprehensible. Hunting isn’t a sport; it’s legalized murder.
I find myself playing the devil’s advocate in conversations about Mike Vick more often than I want to. But a person like Vick brings out the hypocrite in a lot of people, especially people like Mark Buehrle who think that some animals are companions that need to be loved like children and all other animals are targets.
What Mike Vick did is disgusting but regardless of how you feel about his sentence, suspension, or subsequent charity work you’re not in a position criticize him for killing animals if you’re killing animals for the same reason.