Columnist: Racism why Vick cannot own a dog

Before Michael Vick made big news on the field, helping lead the Philadelphia Eagles’ dramatic comeback Sunday against the New York Giants, he made some news off the field.

Vick has said he would like to be a dog owner again, particularly because his young children would enjoy growing up with an animal.

Vick, of course, has paid his debt to society for his crimes, and he’s done so in a very public fashion. Now, he’s successfully rehabbed his image on the field and is working to do so off the field. But owning a dog right now would violate the terms of his probation.

On Huffington Post, columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson suggests that racism plays a real part in Vick not being permitted to be a pet owner at this point. Vick has said it would be a big step for him in the rehabilitation process, and the president of the Humane Society of the United State supports the notion.

But as Hutchinson notes this is the same Humane Society that rushed to judgment with Vick and worked to paint him as heinous as “serial killers, pedophiles and terrorists.”

“Despite Vick's 19 month sentence served, full cooperation with federal authorities in identifying dog fighting rings, storybook triumphant comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles, his earning the accolades of coaches, the NFL establishment and sportswriters for his gracious, thoughtfulness, and exemplary comportment on and off the field, Vick is still a much hated figure among many,” Hutchinson wrote.

“He was not just a dog torturer. He was a rich and famous African-American celeb that went bad. That instantly stirred a mob vendetta against Vick. The Atlanta NAACP understood that. It publicly pleaded against rushing to judgment about his guilt and begged that Vick not be permanently barred from the NFL. It took much heat for that and drew the inevitable squawk that it was playing the race card. But it understood that in the case of men such as Vick, even when they admit guilt and plead for forgiveness, the words mercy and compassion are alien terms.”

Much of what Hutchinson writes makes sense, and you can see where he forms his opinion. When it comes to the Humane Society, I think they’re color blind in their pursuit of those they believe have done harm to animals. Are others treating Vick with racism? Only Vick would no best. Given the nature of his crimes, you can understand him being prevented from owning an animal as part of the punishment. Perhaps the courts will remove those restrictions in the future.

In the time being, let’s enjoy what he’s doing on the football field. Besides, he’s got not time to do proper dog training during the season.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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