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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Although what Vick and others involved in dogfighting have done to dogs is horrible, Dave Zirin has an excellent point that condemnation of Vick to the point of not even considering the possibility that he might (eventually) deserve forgiveness or the possibility of redemption is mighty peculiar. Would the public response to Vick's crimes have been the same had Vick been white? I seriously doubt it.

And unless they have been vegan their whole adult lives, those who express the wish that Vick should be punished for the rest of his life are not innocent in terms of their treatment of animals. Like Vick, people who hunt, fish, or even just eat animal products bear responsibility for inflicting suffering and death on animals purely for their own pleasure. And almost all of us have at least done the latter for much if not all of our lives. We can't change the past, but we can learn from our mistakes and stop regarding animals as things that we can treat however we wish--and so can Michael Vick. Will he? Who knows? But there's no reason that I'm aware of to assume that he can't.

Jeff Melton

Bloomington, IN

Aug 3 2009 - 10:07pm

Web Letter

Sure, he deserves a second chance. That second chance doesn't need to involve a lucrative contract. It can involve remedial job training, time in a halfway house, drug tests, the hassle of not being able to leave the city or the county in which he resided at the time the crime was committed, a bitchy parole officer, etc. The man didn't get jacked up the river for slinging pot or petty theft. He can tough it out like every other guy on parole. If he deserves a second chance, he can earn it out of the limelight and maybe learn that a second chance isn't as easy as taking a few meetings with the ASPCA and expressing "genuine regret." Twenty three months wasn't nearly long enough, if you ask me. The jail time was punishment. It sets him back at zero. It doesn't guarantee redemption.

C.T. Bland

Gainesville, FL

Jul 29 2009 - 2:07pm

Web Letter

I find this article troubling. Comparing Michael Vick to Dick Cheney is disingenuous and a non sequitur: they are completely unrelated felons, and one man's crime has nothing to do with the other's crimes. By that reasoning, if Cheney doesn't get locked up, Bernie Madoff should go free because he didn't torture people or invade any countries.

As for second chances, well, of course Vick deserves a second chance. Problem is, he's in the entertainment business and so it's more complicated than if he were a chef or a computer programmer. But if someone wants to take a chance on an aging QB who is an at-best average passer but a hell of a runner, be my guest. I'm just waiting for a repeat of this article if Big Ben does time; I'm sure Mr. Zirin will want him to have a second chance too.

James P. Levy

Syosset, NY

Jul 28 2009 - 4:03pm