There are some White people who put the interests of animals above those of other human beings — specifically the darker ones. Normally, I’d try to exercise subtlety and restraint when articulating such a sentiment, but since New York Times columnist Juliet Macur (pictured) didn’t mince words in her column “Before Signing a Strong Arm, Teams Should Heed Vick’s Dark Past,” why should I? I knew Macur’s musings would appeal to me as much as the taste of deep fried elephant dung given the way she kicked it off: ” Michael Vick, the quarterback known as much for his rap sheet as his athletic skill.”
Well, that certainly depends on what circles you’re referring to. Perhaps it’s Macur’s circle of influence that is leading this narrative, even though it is highly debatable in everyone else’s.
I do not fault her for writing from her background, but I do loathe how that background has seemed to frame her perspective.
In this hard-to-read diatribe, Macur sends off a warning to teams who may look to sign Vick should the Philadelphia Eagles let him go and allow him to be a starter (he lost his starter job to Nick Foles this season): “They should remember this: Vick was the mastermind behind his dogfighting operation. He bankrolled it, gave it a home base, encouraged it.”
Macur then goes on to discuss some of the dogs who lost their lives due to Vick’s dogfighting ring. You can understand her issue with Vick’s treatment of dogs. After all, in her Twitter bio, Macur notes, “My writing partner is a Labrador retriever.”
So she has a strong love of Lassie. So be it, but her bias clouds her judgment about a larger issue with respect to a felon rightly being given a chance to re-enter society.
Sure, Macur lists some of Vicks’ acts of penance — including donating $200,000 to help renovate a football field in Philadelphia; working with the Humane Society; supporting a bill on Capitol Hill that would make it a felony to bring a child to a dogfight, a measure which would fight the very practice that caused him to go on to perpetuate the culture as an adult.
Still, Macur writes:
Teams evaluating Vick should think about those horrors before offering him a chance to wear their jersey. They should say, ‘Can’t we give our fans someone better to cheer for?’ Fans should demand someone better.
Someone around Juliet Macur ought to demand she get a damn grip. Assuming she’s never made a mistake in her life, Saint Juliet Macur is essentially arguing that there is no such thing as forgiveness or redemption. That once you commit a wrong, you must walk around with a Scarlet Letter. That there is no act or gesture that would warrant a second chance.
This is a dangerous message to profess in general, but again, even more poisonous when you consider who Michael Vick is outside of a football player: a Black ex-felon. If the Juliet Macurs of the world can’t even give a famous Black football player another chance after paying his debt to society for committing an egregious act, imagine how they would treat their less successful brethren.
I imagine Macur was somewhat aware of the racial implications of her column, which is why she briefly included this portion in her piece:
Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper made racist remarks about African Americans — on a team filled with African Americans — and still ended up starting in the playoffs, the recipient of roaring cheers.
Saints Coach Sean Payton was suspended last year for a bounty program in which players were paid to inflict serious injuries on their opponents, and still he was hailed for ushering the Saints to their first ever road playoff win.
Nice try, but no. The aforementioned dogs got a much more thoughtful and lengthier swan song, so spare me this cheap way of deflecting rightful criticism that you display more compassion for animals than Black human beings, Juliet Macur.
Felons — yes, especially the minority ones — have a hard time earning a second chance, but damn all of that because Juliet Macur loves the hell out of dogs. I understand her issue with what Michael Vick did, but the act is now discussed in past tense all the same. He paid his debt to society. He has repeatedly tried to make amends. He has also lent meaningful support to fighting the culture altogether.
What more do you want from this man, Juliet Macur?
Actually, who cares what else you want. Michael Vick paid his debt to society, made amends, and has returned to his life accordingly. If such an opportunity were extended to other former felons, we’d have a less-crowded prison system and an all-around better society.
But such realizations can only come from thinking about the collective — a trick Juliet Macur was unfortunately never taught.