Mark Buehrle thinks Vick hasn't paid his debt
By now you probably know that Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle revealed to an MLB.com writer that he and his wife would root for Michael Vick to get hurt during games.
The story now posted on MLB.com doesn't include the quotes about Vick any more; it merely references him as a vague, nefarious character in the world-wide quest to save canines upon which the Buehrle family has embarked.
According to a screen shot posted by The Huffington Post -- that parasite of the news business -- Buehrle's quotes were tweeted out by the the MLB.com reporter, Scott Merkin, and they are as follows:
This is from Mark Buehrle on Vick: "He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game ....
.... and I know it's bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt. ...
More Mark: "Everything you've done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys."
Mark's right. Something bad should happen. Like, say, going to jail. Which actually happened to Vick. For 18 months. He lost his freedom for 18 months. That's bad.
But apparently not enough. Buehrle, you see, is a dog lover. So much so, the lead to the story tells us, that he considers his dogs to be on the same level as his children.
It's really Jamie, Mark's wife, who leads the charge, though. She has dedicated her life to ensuring the humane treatment of dogs everywhere. This, indeed, is a noble undertaking. We, as a society, are lucky to have someone such as Jamie who has the time and resources to make a difference for pups who need a good home.
Yet her view -- apparently shared by Mark -- is hard to reconcile. Here's Jamie, discussing the importance of dogs having a loving family:
"I don't understand people who say they have kids and don't have time for their dogs anymore," said Jamie, during a recent interview at SoxFest. "I'll do anything for my dogs. The biggest thing is people have a choice where their life ends up. They can make decisions for the most part and better their life.
"Dogs don't have that choice. Animals in general don't have that voice. People abuse them, leave them in animal shelters, drop them on the side of the road and they have no voice to change it."
Let's set aside, for a moment, the second sentence in the second paragraph, which seems to insinuate that, while most animals cannot speak out, there might be exceptions.
Instead, focus on the argument at hand. Dogs need care, whereas humans are able to care for themselves. That's an acceptable worldview, I suppose, given the way dogs have been bred and domesticated through the years.
Yet even Mark and Jamie make the comparison of dogs to children. Kids need care in much the same way puppies do, and even more so than dogs -- which generally stick to learning things like Frisbee chasing and rolling over -- they need strong guidance.
Though I don't know Mike Vick's full biography, I know the outline: born to unwed teenagers, grew up in the projects, parents worked long hours to support him, drug dealers ruled the neighborhoods, drive-by shootings weren't unusual, etc. He's said repeatedly that sports kept him off the street. It didn't do the same for his friends. Drugs, gambling, dog fighting ... it was a part of the culture they knew.
Sure, Vick should have been able to rise above that by the time he was a multi-millionaire NFL star. He'd gone off to Virginia Tech because of football. Dozens of men and women with strong ethics and morals had opened their hearts wide to him as a result. He no doubt had coaches and their wives, tutors and advisers, professors and administrators there offering to help.
He folded, though, and reverted back. It was a stupid, shameful thing to do and it had despicable consequences for too many dogs.
It also cost a man 18 months during the prime of his life.
His debt is paid.
Here's what Mark and Jamie should remember the next time their hearts quicken at the thought of a charging linebacker wrenching Vick's knee into useless mess:There are thousands upon thousands of kids who dream of some day being on the same level as their dogs.