There’s a large, vocal segment of the population that never wants Michael Vick within touching distance of a pooch again. They’re animal lovers, and they’re everywhere.
There’s also a large (larger?) segment of the population that sees Vick as a changed man who’s made a personal transformation, and is far removed from his Bad Newz Kennels roots. They’re football fans, and they’re mostly from Philadelphia.
Vick is and always will be a polarizing figure because animals are innocent, and they hold a special place in society. Therefore, anyone who willfully harms an animal and organizes a dogfighting ring touches a deep, fragile nerve. The rigid divide in opinion on Vick has faded somewhat since he’s been on good behavior following his release from prison, and we’ve once again grown used to seeing Vick the quarterback dominating and thriving as the Eagles starter over the past two years.
But are we ready for Vick the dog owner?
Vick was banned from owning a dog for three years, a sentence that expires this month. As his media tour continues to promote his new book and clothing line, the question would inevitably surface: is he going to get a dog?
In an interview that will air on CNN tonight at 9 p.m. ET, Piers Morgan asked him that question. Here’s the preview clip, and the answer is a good, solid maybe:
Vick stumbles over his words a bit, and chooses a few poor ones, which will surely result in the misinterpretation of his message by those hanging on every syllable, waiting to pounce. But the message should be clear.
This is a man who has served his time, and has been punished both through his prison sentence, and the dog ban. The impact of those punishments has gone beyond just Vick, as his children have also been denied something many kids desire: a puppy. That was part of the deal, and it’s something Vick understands. When you commit a heinous, serious crime that leads to a jail term, every facet of life is affected
Those punishments are over now, and Vick has gone about the process of getting his life back. For many, the wound he left with his dogfighting conviction is far too deep, and the image of Vick with a dog is far too haunting. But for Vick, dog ownership may be the final hurdle in his rehabilitation.