According to their Web site, “The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of neglected children and ending the cycle of abuse. The purpose is to raise awareness and the prevention of child abuse. That objective is coupled with the Foundation’s commitment to celebrating players of inspiration in the NFL.”
Under no circumstances am I able to comprehend how a man who admitted to not only abusing, but torturing, his own dogs for sport and personal enjoyment can serve as an inspiration. Prison cannot rehabilitate a person who tortured animals. Sometimes intense psychological intervention cannot rehabilitate a person who tortured animals.
I consider myself a decent, if imperfect, Christian. I believe in second chances and I believe in forgiveness. Awarding this honor has nothing to do with forgiveness or a second chance. The award is named in honor of a respected humanitarian. Michael Vick is certainly no kind of humanitarian and I am mystified how dodging full accountability for truly heinous crimes and playing mediocre football fit into the vision of this foundation.
Animal abusers often victimize not only animals, but also people, particularly children. Animal cruelty is very often a link to child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and criminal assault—even murder. Second chances for Michael Vick shouldn’t be based on fulfilling a debt to society, but fulfilling a responsibility to it, something I think he has failed to do.
A large contingent of under-served youth, including black and Latino children and teenagers, learn from television and by example. Placing Michael Vick in a position to be celebrated as courageous teaches these kids that they can do terrible, terrifying things, and escape consequences. We can do without this kind of inspiration. This story doesn’t teach forgiveness or about second chances because nothing in this story speaks of remorse or healing, beyond a carefully constructed script from which Vick has read. Even then, he never mentions his victims: the dogs.
Is this the kind of message we want to send the youth of our community?
by Melissa Garcia Logan