Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison earlier this week for his role in funding a dogfighting operation and helping to kill the dogs that couldn’t perform. I’m stunned. I thought a year at most, as the prosecutors had proposed a 12 to 18 month sentence. Apparently, the federal judge that presided over the case is a dog lover.
As usual, Dave Zirin has written a great piece about the whole thing over at the Edge of Sports. This passage really hit me:
“The truth is that there is something perverse about animal rights fanatics baying for jail time outside the courthouse when there is so much good old fashioned human suffering that needs attention. I was in New Orleans shortly after Vick’s plea, and a young woman asked me, “Do you think if people knew how many pets died in Katrina, more people would care about what we are going through?”
I’m not going to defend Vick’s actions. At the same time, it is a joke to me that our country’s federal courts are busy convicting Michael Vick for dogfighting and possibly Barry Bonds for taking steroids. The leaders of our country (mostly rich, White, suited up politicians) have the blood of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians on their hands. They have the blood of thousands of innocent Gulf Coast residents killed by the inadequate response to Katrina on their hands. And yet, they are free and Vick will go to jail. Are you happy, America? Does your world feel safer with Vick and possibly Barry Bonds behind bars?