Since I know someone’s going to ask me about this today, I thought I’d just get it out of the way. So, how about that one hundred million dollar deal for Mike Vick?
Let me first give my football opinion (because that’s why you read an animal welfare blog, right?). Vick’s just not that good a quarterback. Consider that his first year closing games in Philadelphia his QB rating was only .9 better than Donovan McNabb, who was then traded. Consider that prior to coming to Philly, Vick’s best QB rating year (81.6 in 2002/3) was only better than McNabb’s second worst year ever, excluding their rookie years. That’s right, in ten years as a starter with the Eagles, Donovan had eight years with better ratings than Vick’s career high.
As a quarterback Vick is over rated, past the age at which they should be referring to him as the franchise future, and is definitely overpaid. And I still can’t watch the Eagles because I just don’t like the slightly elated feeling I get when our own guy gets sacked. After all, I’m supposed to be humane.
As far as the whole ex-con, dog torturing thing goes, I still stick by my belief that the NFL should have a self-imposed ban on hiring violent felons in order to maintain some level of moral authority. But they made their decision to be a corporate entity placing money above morality long before Vick’s re-hiring, so what’s one more bad decision?
Vick has been living up to his agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (no relation to the Humane Society of Berks County), such as it is. He has given his talks and mostly been saying the right, if occasionally moronic things. As a human being, I don’t begrudge his being offered a chance to atone and even forgiveness from those inclined to give it. Heck, I’ve made my share of mistakes and received many second chances. Of course, I never drowned dogs for fun and money. Besides, I don’t think anyone really expected some Siddhartha like transformation from him. The dude’s just a football player, after all, not Buddha.
The most important thing I think Vick and HSUS have done was promote a Federal bill criminalizing involving minors in dog fighting. If he is nothing else, Vick is the poster child for the results of bringing kids to dog fights. I hope the photo opp on the Capitol steps gave pause to every humane organization near his childhood neighborhood in Virginia who weren’t there to save Vick as a boy from being turned into the “man” he is today- or at least was a few years ago. After all, we don’t just have a responsibility to the animals, we have a responsibility to children who their lives ruined and their souls ripped up into little Voldemort sized morsels by being exposed to blood sports.
But the final thing that springs to mind are the meetings I and others had with Joe Banner, Eagles President, after the signing of Vick on 2009. He said they had made a decision that Vick was reformed, they recognized that the signing brought a lot of baggage, and that they were committed to make a very real and substantial investment in animal welfare. They did that through their TAWK grant program.
The grant program has funded numerous animal welfare programs in the region and was accepted by many organizations, even the most boastfully strident among us. The $50,000 grant received by the HSBC funded the VetMobile, a mobile veterinary unit which has been used to provide low and no cost care to the pets of the poor, serve as a mobile Ani-Meals On Wheels distribution site, functions as a mobile adoption location, been used to help stem the annual and devastating parvo outbreaks in Reading, and has been deployed to assist in major cruelty cases. None of these things could have been done without that Eagles TAWK grant.
I say again, Joe Banner kept his word. I still think signing Vick was both a bad football decision given his less than stellar talent and a bad corporate decision for the NFL. But vastly more concrete good has come out of the TAWK grant program than would have if the Eagles had hired, oh, I don’t know, a rapist or something. For some reason that’s one duck no one wants to seem to call a duck. Or call Pittsburgh Pennsylvania’s second largest city.
Of course, I do think that if the Eagles created a $500,000 grant program for a signing deal in the couple millions for Vick in 2009, now that they have made a deal of one hundred million maybe it’s time to shake that tree again a see how much more good I can get the Eagles to do for animals.
So I’m going to ask for another TAWK grant and I hope they come through with a big one. We have a really great project coming up that will help a lot of animals and people and we could use their help.
Hmmmm….You don’t think the Eagles actually read this blog do you? Uh, oh. I hope they give me a second chance, despite my big mouth.