The following editorial by Gary appeared in the Florida Sun-Sentinel and Oakland Press (Michigan) on Sunday, September 9, 2007.
Civil rights icon Dick Gregory explained, "Under the leadership of Dr. King, I became convinced that non-violence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other, but in their practice of killing animals for food and sport."
Ironically, Michael Vick, his diehard fans and the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP are at polar opposites with Gregory because supporting, defending, excusing or engaging in animal cruelty continue to be everyone's favorite pastime. Rationalizing cruelty and forgetting about victims are the other hobbies humans love most.
For more than 2,000 straight days, hundreds of dogs at Vick's Virginia compound were forced to attack each other while cheering spectators wagered thousands of dollars on which dog would rip the other dog to pieces. Vick's love of violence continued long after the winning dogs' jaws were pried off of the losing dogs' throats. When some of his dogs didn't win, they were slammed to the ground, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. Any talk about Vick making a 'mistake' or being 'immature' is false. Throwing a pass into double coverage is a mistake. Giving someone the finger is immature. Shoving the heads of dogs into a 5-gallon bucket of water until they die is evil, malicious and purely premeditated.
These facts didn't seem to sway R. L. White, who heads the Atlanta NAACP. He recently asked the NFL not to "permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country." Unless it's self-defense or defense of another, people who murder animals or humans—along with child molesters and rapists—don't deserve equal rights, future career guarantees or the Atlanta NAACP's support. Since the NAACP went out of its way to involve itself in a case that has nothing to do with the violation of Vick's civil rights, I am forced to ask: How much money did Vick donate in order to get the NAACP's outspoken support?
If certain people or influential organizations are defending Vick's psychopathic behavior because of his skin color, then it's just as immoral as anyone condemning him because of it.
White's other comment about Vick receiving "more negative press than if he had killed a human being" can be impugned with two letters: OJ! Simpson has received close to 15 years of negative press. How about the years of unfavorable coverage for Jon Benet Ramsey's parents? Robert "Baretta" Blake and Phil Spector have gotten tons of bad press. How about the negative press Bush receives about the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis and 3,300 American soldiers?
Speaking of White's hypocritical "negative press" statement, didn't the NAACP make a national spectacle out of Michael Richards and Don Imus? Both received way more negative press than Vick, even though the only remnants of their behavior were hurt feelings, not dead bodies. Is the NAACP prepared to ask CBS to bring Imus back after a short hiatus, or urge The Laugh Factory to give Richards another 10 minutes of stage time?
Furthermore, if people are outraged because Vick oversaw the torture and murder of dozens of dogs in the blood-sport of dog-fighting, why aren't people outraged about America's annual torture and murder of 10 billion land animals for the blood-tradition of meat-eating? If you think the dogs that Vick killed suffered greatly, you should see what farm animals endure before their flesh winds up on a grill at Outback. You can view a clip on my www.adaptt.org website. It is deceitful to condemn one form of cruelty to animals and not another, especially when it all happens because of tradition, habit, arrogance and profit. And spare me the invalid comments about humans being more valuable than animals. That discriminatory belief (speciesism) is also the foundation of racism, sexism and heterosexism. Slavery, oppression and discrimination only occur when one group believes they're more important than another.
A lifetime ban from the NFL and the maximum amount of jail time should be Vick's punishment. Better yet, he should be forced to live and die like a pit bull in a dog-fighting ring. Then maybe he, White and many others will finally understand what inequality is all about.
Last Chance for Animals has information about the cruelty of cockfighting.