And THIS he gets passionate about?Posted by in Uncategorized
Mr. President, please.
No matter how many times I hope to put this one behind us, somehow it keeps coming back up. It was reported that President Obama recently spoke with Eagles owner Jeff Lurie and among the topics was Obama’s “passionate” props for giving Mike Vick a “second chance”. His last flash of passion was anger directed at his base for their being mad he broke a campaign pledge to repeal taxes for the rich. Watch out dogs, he’s probably mad at you now.
For the President’s benefit, let me run through this once more. Yes, convicts deserve second chances. I hire people with criminal records myself sometimes. Yes, I still applaud the Eagles for turning an enormous pile of lemons of their own harvesting into a tub of lemonade in the form of a huge grant program to help animals. Again, the HSBC took a big glass of that to build our VetMobile which helps lots of animals and people as a result. Yes, I still think it was right for the HSUS (no relation) to work with him to help other kids avoid the same crimes (not mistakes, crimes). Yes, I still think that much of the hostility directed at Vick had maybe a tiny bit to do with race and that there was no introspection on the part of animal welfare professionals that had we done our job when Vick was twelve, he might be cruelty free now and still not winning the Super Bowl for the Falcons.
But Mr. President, there are second chances and there are second chances. The Eagles hiring Vick was a bad idea then and I still think it’s a bad idea now. It has nothing to do with giving millionaire felons a second chance to integrate into society. The NFL, among all professional sports, has played the “role model” card better than any other. They want to pretend that they are representative of something better. As a result, they are not just any business. That’s why they should not hire convicted dog fighting racketeers. Or those convicted of manslaughter, domestic violence or sexual assault or all of the other nastiness to which they turn a blind eye when the perpetrator is someone talented on whose back they can get rich.
To the Vick apologists out there, this is not about fairness and second chances. Some jobs are different and I’d like to think mega-million dollar salary pro sports, played on fields subsidized across the country and right here in Pennsylvania with our tax dollars are one of those different jobs. If Vick had been a teacher, he could not get his job back. If he had been a police officer, no job. One would hope that if he had been a politician it would be the same, but we’ve all seen evidence of the contrary there. But it should be the same in that job, too.
Vick’s second chance could have come in any of a million different ways. But it did not have to be this one and it certainly doesn’t call for the President of the United States getting passionate about it to the nice billionaire who hired this down and out ex-con. I’ve certainly never received a call for any of the hand ups I’ve provided as an employer (Hey, Ben Roethlisberger, call me. The next time you get caught with your pants down in a public bathroom with a young woman while your posse keeps her friends out and finally get fired, I’ve got a second chance for you in my kennel. Maybe you can find redemption and I can get a call from the President!).
So, Mr. President, I’m just a dummy who works with dogs. You’ve very cleverly done things that made sense after the fact (I know I’m waiting to see what Keith Olbermann has to say about those millionaire tax cuts now that we got to see it was a loss leader for DADT repeal and START II). Maybe this was intended to be a Sista Souljah or “Kanye’s a jackass” moment. But it’s got the feeling of you shooting your mouth off with the owner of a football team.
Hey, we’ve all been there. I know I have. But I learned a little trick for when I’m about to say something that will make me look stupid, insensitive and out of touch.
Start the sentence with, “Off the record….”
Shoot, I think I was supposed to start this piece that way.