"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."
~ C. S. Lewis

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Vick served punishment, detractors are hypocrites

by Julio Cespedes

I thought about it long and hard this weekend, and I decided that my family is comprised of four people: my mom, my dad, my sister and me. That's it. Sorry Alejandro, I don't think you count as number five. And, no, Alejandro isn't my gardener. He's my dog.

He's a beast. He's the perfect size. Not too big, but not too small. You can call him a mutt, but I call him a lab-collie mix. He's an awesome bird dog. Anytime anyone sees him, they wish he was theirs.

But isn't this how anyone views their dog? We all think ours is the best. Why am I talking about this anyway? Some of you already know where this is going. It's simple: Michael Vick.

Since exploding onto the NFL scene in 2001, Vick divided people with his talent and potential. I don't think he was as good as his diehard fans sculpted him out to be, but he surely was not as horrible and overrated as his haters declared. Week in, week out, his every move was seen as budding ammunition in the for/against Vick dispute, and depending on the week, the rascal was selling arms to both sides.

But that was nearly three years ago. Since then, Michael Vick has served hard jail time for dog abuse charges for his involvement with dog fighting. But now he is being given a second chance in the NFL, and this is sparking huge controversy. I have even heard and read about people who genuinely believe that Vick deserves to be killed.

Do you remember the wrestler Chris Benoit? How did the media handle his crime? It revolved around a tragic family man who was pulled into a life of consistent drugs, and steroid use that ravaged his body, threw him into depression and caused him to commit a heinous crime. They insinuated that it was not his fault. Imagine if Vick had killed his wife and children!

What about Dany Heatley, the hockey player who killed his teammate while driving at extremely reckless speeds? Heatley did not go to jail, get suspended, or get any really negative feedback from fans and media.

What about the Patrick Kearney rape case? That happened in his house nonetheless while he was present. When is he going to be suspended? Is dog fighting more heinous than rape? When will the NFL say something about this?

Or how about Falcon tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who killed his dog with a hammer because he was allegedly mad at his girlfriend? No, that was not a typo. He killed his dog with a hammer.

These guys have all broken the law and have yet to be punished for it as severely as Mr. Vick is being punished by the NFL, the media or our legal system. The fact of the matter is that all professional sports organizations are littered with human examples of much more heinous crimes. There are wife and girlfriend beaters, child abusers, drug addicts, killers and felons of every order who play professional sports. Just look it up yourselves. I don't have space to keep listing examples.

So to you Vick haters, I sincerely hope you are all vegetarians. As I see it, raising cattle to be slaughtered for human consumption (or pigs, goats, lamb or fish for that matter) is no different than raising and training dogs to fight, even to the death. The slaughter of animals is no less of a cause of death to the animals than a dog fight is a cause of death to the dogs. The consumption of animals is no more necessary than a dog fight. Both are ultimately for human pleasure. Meat is a luxury. Many go their entire natural lives without ever consuming meat.

You better be as eager to refute the meat and poultry industries as you are to refute Vick. The reason why your Walt Disney-raised children know nothing is because you are happy being ignorant. Have you forgotten about Cruela Deville? She wanted to turn those dogs into jackets! And you let your children watch that movie! How horrible! If these dogs looked like snakes or spiders you would have no problem with fighting. I love my dog! Don't get me wrong. I am going to cry and bury him when he dies, and I know that I am charged with the responsibility of taking care of him, but I also realize he is just an animal.

Where is the logic? You wear leather, right? You eat meat, right? Where is the outrage about the industries that allow you those pleasures? The reason you are not upset with them is that you don't see the "cruelty" that goes into killing a pig. Barely out of the womb, piglets are held up by one leg and subjected to the following: without anesthetic, their genitals and tails are cut off, their ears are sliced and their teeth are pulled out with pliers. This is how they begin their lives. The rest of it will be spent in a space barely large enough to move. This is a sentient animal with a nervous system fully capable of feeling pain just like you do.

But you know what? At least at this juncture in my life, I love to eat bacon, beef and poultry products. Maybe I'm sick and sadistic and am damning myself for saying that, because deep down, sometimes I do feel that maybe God really did charge us to love animals and take care of them like he takes care of us. Maybe it is his way of testing our compassion and capacity for love. I really do respect people who can sleep with their dog and let them eat with them at the dinner table. That is a beautiful thing to see, but I also realize the meat industry exists because I love the pleasure of eating a waffle with bacon on it (so yummy), much in the same way that Vick enjoyed watching dogs do battle. So you won't hear me saying a word about Vick, because I know that if I said anything, I would be the world's biggest hypocrite.

So the next time you hear someone talking smack about Vick simply ask them if he or she is a vegan. They'll know where you're headed with that question. If they refuse to answer or say no, do what I do: Laugh at them and walk away. They'll feel naked, stupid, hypocritical and pompous, and you'll be instantly revered among your friends.


Julio Cespedes is a senior majoring in biological engineering. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..