It started with random channel surfing where I stumbled upon the show TMZ on TV as they interviewed comedian Marlon Wayans about Michael Vick, the former NFL quarterback who went to prison for running a dogfighting ring. The conversation revolved around Vick’s controversial comments about former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who Vick said should “cut his hair short and be presentable” if he wanted another job in the league (I guess Vick forgot he wore cornrows when he played for the Atlanta Falcons). During the segment, Wayans repeatedly made jokes about not wanting Vick to get angry and “sic pit bulls on him.” I took to Twitter to let Wayans know I didn’t find those jokes funny or appropriate, and I asked if he even knew what Vick did to the dogs on his property. To my surprise, Wayans tweeted back he did know, and he had a dog he loved and treated well. He then took a selfie with his dog — a grey-and-white fluffball that appears to be some kind of a Shih-Tzu mix — and sent it to me.
The tweet storm went from an angry, defensive tone to a saccharine sweet exchange of mutual dog photos, but it made me realize Wayans just didn’t get it when it came to Michael Vick — and he’s not alone. Just days after my conversation with Wayans, the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame announced it had selected Vick for induction despite the fact he doesn’t meet the criteria, which states players “must be of good character and reputation” and not have “been a source of embarrassment to the university in any way.” Then, on Aug. 25, Fox Sports announced it had hired Vick as an NFL studio analyst. There are petitions online asking both Virginia Tech and Fox to reconsider (please visit change.org and search “Michael Vick” to sign them).
As the petitioner states to Fox, it’s one thing to provide a convicted felon with a second chance; it’s quite another when that felon shows zero remorse except when forced. Vick did more than run a dogfighting ring — he actively participated in the torture and murder of dogs that either refused to fight or lost when they did. He admitted to hanging, drowning, and slamming dogs to the ground until their skulls cracked. He also electrocuted dogs by dousing them with water and throwing live wires on them, or by clipping jumper cables to their ears, connecting the cables to the battery terminals of running cars, tossing the dogs in the swimming pool, and laughing as they scrambled for their lives. He even used his children’s pets as bait.
Before going to prison, Vick was court ordered to pay for the care of the nearly 50 dogs confiscated from his property. He contributed less than $200,000 and never a penny more. He has refused to meet the survivors, and he no longer speaks out about the evils of dogfighting (something he agreed to do with the Humane Society of the United States after he was released from prison). He does, however, have another dog.
During another channel surf, I found a VH1 series called Baller Wives, which follows the histrionics of the wives of current and former pro athletes in Miami. Vick and his wife, Kijafa, appear on the show, as does their Rottweiler. Yes, another strong, muscular dog. In the press release for the show, VH1 never mentions Vick’s past, stating simply the couple has been “married since 2012 and have two beautiful daughters and a new baby on the way.” When asked how he met his wife, Vick says: “Long story short: I bagged her. That’s all that matters.” Classy. …
It’s time once again for the Bay Area Pet Fair, now in its seventh year. Hosted by Pet Food Express, it’s the largest pet adoption event in California. This year’s fair moves to larger digs at the Alameda County Fairgrounds (4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton) on the weekend of Sept. 16 and 17 and will feature more than 70 rescues and shelters and over 50,000 attendees, some 1,500 of whom are expected to adopt a new pet (dogs, cats, and a variety of other small animals will be looking for their forever homes). Admission and parking are free, well-behaved pets on leash are welcome, and there will be live shows and demos, activities for people and pets, a variety of food and drink options, giveaways and prizes, and tons of samples and goodies to take home.
Since Pet Food Express began hosting the Bay Area Pet Fair in 2011, 4,760 pets have been adopted, more than a pet a minute during fair hours. And for each animal adopted at the fair, Pet Food Express donates an additional $50 to the rescue groups, totaling more than $280,000 in the last six years. For more information, visit bayareapetfair.org.