Last August, Michael Vick, after serving time in prison for his involvement in dog fighting, signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. I was supportive. He had served his time and I said most everyone deserves a second chance.
The dog lovers really growled and showed their teeth. They accused me of not understanding the brutality of his crime. Well, where are they now?
This week another football player got a second chance - this time, after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter. A year ago, wide-receiver Donte Stallworth struck and killed a 59-year-old pedestrian after having too much to drink. He also served his time and had a one year suspension from the NFL. This week, he signed a contract to play with the Baltimore Ravens.
My question is where is all the controversy? Where are the same people, who last summer, were shouting and about all the injustice? When you compare all the noise we heard in 2009 over Michael Vick, to the silence we hear now, it makes me wonder if our society values the life of a dog over that of a 59-year-old man.
I stand by what I said. I think most everyone deserves a second chance - including Mr. Stallworth - but am I the only one with a consistent opinion on this?
That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emailed comments from viewers:
Your "consistent opinion" is based on faulty reasoning. Do you really equate an accident--even while drunk--with the intentional brutality of dogfighting? If you had stuck to your point about second chances, maybe you could have sold it. Comparing intentional kidnapping, torture, and murder of a human to what was done to these dogs: Consistent. Saying people who objected to Vick's return value dogs above humans: Unfair. Illogical. Dumb.
Hi Gary,I just saw your comment about the uproar about Vick from the animal lovers, but not much said about the DWI, resulting in a death by Stallworth. I am a Dog lover and view them as innocent creatures on this earth.Michael Vick forced them to fight and kept them in horrible conditions.It was a deliberate act of animal cruelty.Stallworth however ,did not set out to kill the pedestrian,it was the result of DWI which is very bad,but I do not see it as a deliberate act.I think Stallworth should have received more jail time for his act,but for some reason I do not feel the same hate and disgust for him that I feel for Vick.Thanks for letting me have my sayso about this
There is no comparison to mr. Stallworth and Mr. Vick . 1st of all Mr. Stallworth has a drinking problem and was not done deliberately he needs medical help, mr Vick was doing it for Financial gain and done repeatedly to defenseless animals , its not a matter of animal vs humans its the intent . otherwise , I suppose you would be willing to give terrorist , murders and rapist a second chance ! wake up
To be honest, I think there was more publicity about Michael Vick than Dante Stallworth. Many of my sports fan friends didn't even hear about Stallworth until I told them, so I think media has a part to play in that. However, my issue with both situations is that I believe the punishment did NOT fit the crime. I think that they both got off VERY easy because of their superstar status.
the only reason there's no controversy, stallworth owned his crime, pleaded guilty and showed remorse from day one, vick tried to push the blame every which direction from friends to the "culture" card, and when there was no other way out he finally owned it, and he made money off of taking lives, even if it was animal lives.
I would agree with you,these Athletes you spoke of on 2/18/10 have paid their debt to society according to the law.But,I'm not going to pat them on the back
I never agree with you on much, but you hit the nail on the head ! It's just another sign of the morals and priorities of this world!
O.K., here's my outrage. I think everyone deserves a second chance if they earn it. I don't think second chances come in the form of a glorified, high-paying job. And I don't believe anyone who has ever watched Michael Vick's interviews could possibly believe he is sincere in his contrition. I find him despicable, but that's nothing compared to what I feel about Dante Stallworth and the way the NFL handled this. I think it's disgusting that he took someone's life due to his reckless partying and one year was all the NFL deemed appropriate for this. He goes on and lives his life as normal while the family of the person he killed must live lives of grief and pain. A life is gone, and he just waltzes back into the NFL. How anyone can see the justice in this is beyond me.
Normally you are on target, but not this time. It has nothing to do with the dog versus human. It has to do with the violence displayed over multiply events. I don't think either one of them should be allowed to return to the NFL but having said that, let me explain. I agree that drunk drivers should be held responsible for their actions but do you think that it was intentional that Stalworth ran over a human. The intentional part of his was misjudgment on drinking and then driving. It was not only intentional but a source of entertain to have dog fights and then torture them to death after that.
Anyone with that type of meanness would more than likely kill or beat a human if given the right circumstances. He's special because he, actually both of them, earn money in a sports driven country. All is forgiven because of that, whether it is a Tiger Woods, a Vick or Bryant. Our love for the game(s) overrides any moral responsibility for which someone in their public life should be held.
Both sentences were light, thanks to good lawyers and well rehearsed apologies, but the cases are completely different. One was a horrible accident due to a stupid, reckless mistake and lack of judgement. The other was a knowing, willing participation in torture while taking pleasure in the process. It's hard to doubt the sincerity of Stallworth's apology, but Michael Vick is only sorry that he got caught.
But yes, they both deserve a second chance
Neither player deserves to return to the NFL, but there is a difference --
Stallworth made a stupid decision to drive drunk, but did not intend to kill someone. However, his actions did result in a death and he must pay the consequences. He deserves prison time and should be banned from the NFL.
Vick knowingly condoned, participated in, and supported the repeated torture and killing of animals, and expressed no remorse or regret until he was caught. This shows a kind of person that should not have the benefits of an NFL career, even after his prison time.
Their second chances involve being out of prison and getting on with their lives, not being NFL players, Their actions should preclude them for enjoying that benefit -- they gave that up by their actions.
To state that reaction to each case should be compared to the other, is just plain.........foolish.
Donte Stallworth killed a human being and Michael Vick killed animals. They are both murderers and should not be allowed to be back playing football. Is this who we what as roll models for our children?? People who murdered, yes did their time, and then are rewarded by going back to their high paying jobs. Other murders are not as fortunate as these two, but then they are not footballs players and they run with a different pack don't they? To me they are still murderers and should be treated as such forever.
I did respond on the Michael Vick controversy when presented on your segment of the news. I agree that penalties should be much stiffer for anyone who join in activities which are illegal and outside the parameters of our legal system. In responding to the Michael Vick case, it was a heinous crime, one which was planned, and one which was carried out on a continuing basis for a long period of time. I feel that the case you referred to in your latest commentary is just as worthy of being publicized and that the punishment should be dealt with in accordance with the laws of our nation. The football player (Stalworthy) should have known better than to get behind the wheel of an automobile, after consuming any amount of alcohol. Then to kill an innocent human being does make this case heinous, also. What is at the crux of these issues, to me, and what sickens me in these types of instances, is that the NFL has been so slack in handing out punishments (outside what legal punishment is given). All professional sports team players should be held to a higher standard; they are payed ridiculously high salaries. Yet we see television promos of how these athletes contribute to their communities through service organizations (some most likely are sincere in their service), but are all of them? To me the real process of punishment (other than the legal ramifications), is for the sports organizations to set in stone some extreme guidelines for pro athletes to adhere to. If they do not adhere to them, then they are out, permanently.
Thanks you for re-enforcing the idea that life is equally important for Man and Animals