Monday, August 17, 2009

Forgiving Michael Vick. Or, you know, not.

I watched his 60 Minutes interview last night. I was conflicted, but I did it, without any expectations. Clarification: the only expectation I had was that 60 Minutes would actually start on time. Thanks, PGA Championship.

Expectations or not, I was unimpressed. The interview was sterile, coached, boring. No deep, probing questions or insights. Vick expressed no emotion, paying lip service to his remorse—which mostly appeared to be for his incarceration and the loss of his career, not the torture and murder of his dogs.

This morning, Salon ran a really thoughtful piece on forgiving Vick. I won’t parse it here, but I do respect his right to play football again. I don’t care much for football either way, but as the law stands, he’s eligible to be reinstated. I’m glad he has Tony Dungy mentoring him (for all my apathy towards the NFL, I do recognize Dungy as a class act), and I look forward to seeing if Wayne Pacelle’s gamble on Vick pays off for the HSUS. Pacelle raises an interesting point when he refers to himself as a “participating skeptic”: he’s willing to engage with Vick and give him a chance to redeem himself, but he’s not invested in Vick’s motivation and hasn’t forgiven him. I think I feel the same way: I want nothing to do with Vick, but I won’t expend any more energy towards despising him, either. His conduct was disgusting and reprehensible, and I wouldn’t want to be around him (or have my dog around him, either), but I don’t need the negativity that hating him brings. As psychotherapist Jeanne Safer explains, “We don’t have a word in the language for healthy nonforgiveness.” It’s a concept worth exploring. I believe in second chances, even if I don’t agree with said chances including multi-million dollar contracts.

Michael Vick, I wash my hands of you. One day, I hope to meet one of the dogs you brutalized, to scratch her ears and look in her eyes and recognize a soul who has been transformed thanks to a truly lifesaving second chance.

Little Red, one of Michael Vick's former bait dogs, snuggles with a buddy. Photo by Molly Wald, courtesy of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were such a football fan ;-)