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September 15th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

One Last Word on Michael Vick

Mike VickBy the way, the controversy over Michael Vick’s reinstatement to the NFL is still raging. Following Wednesday’s Philadelphia show, in which we had what I think was an intelligent discussion about Vick’s reinstatement, I do think some people moved their positions, but I don’t think any widespread peace has broken out between the two sides.

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know how much I love animals, dogs in particular. I’ve also made it clear just how outraged I am with anyone who engages in dogfighting. In my opinion, people who do this kind of thing are sick, and they are sick in such a way that it’s unlikely to expect any real change from them.

Nevertheless, I personally found the Philadelphia show to be very thought-provoking — so much so, I actually forgot we were doing a show because I was so engrossed in the discussion. I went into the discussion with an open mind, but in all honesty, I was skeptical about whether Vick was rehabilitated and whether he truly had earned the right to be back in the NFL. Still, I will say, I was impressed with what I heard from Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who I spoke with the day before we did the show. The coach believes Vick is sincere, is genuinely turning his life around and is determined to never go back to that place in his life where he thought it was perfectly fine to fight dogs.

I believe that Vick should be credited for serving his time in prison without complaint and publicly declaring that he has learned the error of his ways. I was also impressed with Governor Rendell’s logic that it sends a terribly negative message to other prisoners serving their time; that we still choose to deny them the right to earn a living after they have paid their debt to society.

If you watched the show, you know that the NAACP representative said he thought that a lot of what had happened to Michael Vick was about race. He believed Vick was being treated harshly simply because he is an African-American. White convicts who served their time, he went on to say, aren’t judged so harshly after they are released from prison. I’m curious what you think about that point of view. Personally, I just don’t see it, but of course, I could be missing something here. Maybe you’ll enlighten me.

I guess where I come down is that our opinions are after the fact. He has been re-signed, that’s the reality, but I believe the Eagles and the NFL should proceed with extreme caution. As I pointed out on the show, I’m not saying Vick is a sociopath (antisocial personality disorder). I can’t do that because I haven’t evaluated him or seen the results from anyone who has, but based on his conduct, he certainly could be. And if that’s the case, I’m not optimistic that he Eagles Vick Footballhas, or even can, get better. The fact is that the prognoses for people with these types of disorders, while varying from person to person, are generally, in my experience, not good.

Now let me be clear: I’m not saying he shouldn’t be given a second chance. But, what really bothers me is that there doesn’t seem to be much focus on whether or not he has really gotten any better. To really overcome this type of behavior and reasoning, it takes a lot of work with highly-trained professionals. Despite the progress that has been made in the prison environment in recent past, I’m guessing it is just not the therapeutic milieu Michael Vick is likely to flourish in.

In my opinion, giving him his NFL status back before he has done the work required of him is imprudent and untimely. I actually think it’s unfair to him: giving him too much too soon could very well be setting him up for failure. Just because his handlers and spin doctors have him saying the “right” things doesn’t mean he believes or means a word of it. Just because they have him interacting with students and animal advocates doesn’t mean he’s on his way to lasting change.

But as I said, at this point, we have to accept the facts: Vick is signed with the Eagles, and given starting quarterback Donovan McNabb’s rib injury, he may soon play. I sure hope he works as relentlessly with a professional therapist as he does practicing pass plays. As Pennsylvania Governor Rendell said on the show, the measure of his success or failure will not be on the field, but in his life off the field.

So, I’m going to watch all this unfold with an open mind. And I mean it when I say I’m going to be watching. We need to be very cautious about Michael Vick — very, very cautious. Time will tell as his behavior will speak much louder than the scripted words he is spewing.

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131 Responses to “One Last Word on Michael Vick”

  1. anthony says:

    i dont know why he would say that he didnt have any dogfights when everyone else is saying that he did. i dont know who to believe but i think someone is lying but thats not my call to make. its his.

  2. IH says:

    I am going to cheer for Michael Vick b/c he says that he has been redeemed/forgiven by the saving grace of Jesus Christ and that in itself is awesome! If anyone can change us it is Jesus!

  3. Sherry B says:

    Well I think it was a little bit too soon but I think thats where money talks.
    I think the coaches were turning and looking the other way because they know he is good at football and wanted him no matter what. He says he is doing this and that but do we really know if hes doing it. He needs all that money to get out of all the jams hes in. They probably gave him warnings and he going to abide by them for now. But if it was just a regular person and was not popular they would not be getting the treatment that he is getting. Making him look like a good guy. Yes he has paid his dues. He should have been without a football job for a long time. They were waiting for him to walkout the gates of jail and probably already had this all lined up before he even got out. But the dogs are still paying for it. Maybe they should have hired him as the towel and water guy. I don’t think he gets it truly gets it. I was really upset when I heard that he was hired right out of jail. Anyway thats how I feel but we will have to see, maybe half his income should be going to dog charities.

  4. Sherry B says:

    Oh and everyone in jail comes out redeem by Jesus Well that maybe true but they have a lot of time in jail to reflect and pray But they continue once they get out of jail. Thats the BIG question.

  5. Melissa says:

    I agree with you on a lot of points. Proof will be in his long-term actions. Right now I think he’s just doing what he has to do — but, I’m not there, so maybe he is sincere.

    For me personally, I’ll never forgive him. I can’t. It’s not in me. If it were up to me, I’d get a group of severely people-aggressive dogs, tie Vick’s hands and feet, and let them have at him. An eye for an eye, so to speak.

    I have a question about the antisocial personality disorder issue. People in other countries love bull fighting. Cock fighting is culturally accepted in parts of Mexico. In England, fox hunting is still popular — and, if they’re using a live scent, it may end with the fox being torn to shreds. Hunting retrievers here in the States are trained on live birds — birds with clipped wings, so they can be retrieved by young, eager dogs.

    My point is that there are “blood sports” that are popular all over the world. The difference here is that to MOST Americans dogs are pets. But if Vick doesn’t see dogs as pets — or even just THOSE dogs as pets — is it necessarily a sign of antisocial personality disorder? Can it not just be that he sees those dogs the way a matador sees the bull?

    Believe me, I’m not making excuses. I’m the type to catch spiders and wasps and take them outside to avoid hurting them. And I do understand the link between violence toward animals and sociopathic tendencies. I’m just not sure that all blood sports fall into that category, even though they are, undeniably, violence toward animals.

  6. Dr. Phil, you have begun to frustrate me.

    Not because of your various (safe) opinions voiced in your blog, but because you couch some of your most interesting notions in disingenuous ways. Your tongue may get stuck in your cheek!

    “I don’t drink, but…”
    “I haven’t examined him, but…”

    The worst of all, though? Your tacit approval of Joe Wilson’s staged and boorish behavior during a speech by the President of the United States.

    He was wrong… but he gets a bit of a good-old-boy wink and a nod — because you’d never want to criticize him for being “passionate.”

    Clearly, you are saying that Michael Vick is a sociopath. *That* is an interesting statement and I would love to hear you expound upon it.

    Vick was convicted, sentenced, and served that sentence. He will never be free from constant public scrutiny. It doesn’t matter in the least whether he can check off as accomplished any of the things you’d like to mandate, because those mandates only exist in DrPhil Land.

  7. Martha says:

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about Michael Vick in the news. I don’t give a hoot in hell what this man does or where he goes from now on, how he “cried in prison” or anything else. What he did was wrong, wrong, wrong. Just because he “cried” doesn’t mean he’s sorry; he’s just sorry he got caught! He’s no better than anyone else. Same goes for all this Michael Jackson hoopla!

  8. Luke Thomas says:

    Dog fighting is epidemic and rising in America-dog fighting involves the spread of vice, the distribution of illegal narcotics and highly illegal weapons which are used in armed robberies, are often found at dog fighting rings. By having the ICON of dog fighting-VICK-strut his stuff on the NFL field, it is encouraging youngsters to get their own pit bulls and do the Michael Vick. Young people are attracted to “bad boys”. They think its cool he went to prison and now is making millions and cheered by millions. It is telling young people dog fighters end up doing well. With the economy as bad as it is, unemployment massive, making $50,000.00+ per dog fight is pretty alluring and now it is synonymous with the NFL because a dog fighter is their star. Yes he “served his time” but what he has done is something he can NEVER erase. Michael Vick is Michael Vick-it is because of society’s demand for him, put him back on the field. The fault lies not with Vick, but a society who CHOOSES to make him their national hero and role model to their children. America has sunk to a new all-time low. Be assured dog fighting will rise, and when a person becomes the next victim of an armed robbery or that drugs became rampant in their community-next time you cheer Vick, know that dog fighting is behind supplying criminals with their drugs and illegal high powered weapons. Vick should not be America’s role model, but you all put him there. So blame yourselves.

    “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” –ALBERT EINSTEIN

  9. Carolyn says:

    More than just talking to students and animal advocates, I think that Vick should be made to train a puppy to become a therapy dog. It would take time and he would have to exercise a lot of patience and love with the animal. Perhaps if he learned to truly appreciate, care for and train an animal (for the purpose of later assisting another) it would introduce him to how nurturing an animal can truly be.
    I feel that the billboard “Vicks an Eagle, hide your beagle” will be in peoples minds for some time, I know it will be in mine.

  10. Dean Fitzgerald says:

    I agree with Luke Thomas. These people are role models, once convicted of ANY crime they should not be allowed to go back and become role models again.

  11. Dr. Phil I am as disillusioned as you by as many things. I wrote a paper I got an A on in college English called: “Masquerading to Power” about abuse of discrimination laws etc. as a ploy not when valid yet to deflect, excuse, or profit from to… (you name it). Yes, there IS discrimination like when every mother called to cancel their daughters coming to my mother’s first Bluebird Meeting since my dad “a disabled veteran”. Parents like their children to be proud of them too… I guess since I’m “white” with hearsay Native American roots that doesn’t count because not one person ever apologized.

    What about people wanting a FIRST CHANCE discriminated against who have earned a first chance?

    I’m discriminated against for being uninsured and, oh, you can abuse a “white” person cause what are they going to say “discrimination”? Just ask Lynn how I was jerked up during an undiagnosed allergic reaction vertigo because thought I was faking. Anyone who knows me knows there is no way I’d lie on a filthy hospital floor yet they didn’t know me nor care to know me just like my dad when everyone canceled coming to mom’s first Bluebird Meeting.

    It was Super Bowl Sunday so I guess I interrupted game so got tackled, literally. For standing up for myself for being offered then prescribed medications allergic too. I still have the prescripts. I’d want to know if ran place. Patients aren’t the enemy and when a mistake is made a patient shouldn’t be assaulted for noticing. Didn’t complain, after assaulted, because so unbelievable didn’t think I’d be believed and unaware wrenching cranial muscle spasms I had that night from neck injury during incident.

    I just sat in chair at home crying petting my dogs hoping I didn’t die thinking a bigger stroke since ER resident doc first thought I had a mini stroke or heart attack. Afraid to go to another ER that’d I’d be treated like gum on bottom of medical professions shoes and would not believe me as I could hardly believe myself. Continued baby aspirin a day for definite sure since ER resident doc first thought mini heart attack then an ear virus.

    Since a baby aspirin a day such a small amount cheeks didn’t flush until about day 54 so looked up aspirin on internet and reyessyndrome.org was kind enough to answer saying likely baby aspirin a day the culprit. Dizziness stopped and gradually over time began to feel better except could no longer lie on back due to neck injury w/o shock like sensations. A doctor that didn’t want to see me for a B-12 shot told me “neck injury” when said… just describe over the phone your symptoms. When I looked up shock like sensations B-12 deficiency had come up so why I wanted B-12 shot… Doctor said no not B-12 deficiency… and he thought more likely a neck injury when jerked up & neck popped during vertigo.

    LOLz and I thought hospital didn’t bill me since felt bad about incident and because sat on bill so I wouldn’t complain to send to a collection agency so I paid almost $900 to wait 5+ hours to be seen, be offered medication allergic to, then after apologized to prescribed medication charted allergic to so collapse at discharge having an undiagnosed ototoxic allergic reaction to aspirin with vertigo then jerked up because invalid assumptions made. Anyone, who has had vertigo knows how awful it is. Hospital did finally apologize when Tort Law expired saying for that reason, unfortunately, couldn’t provide any remedy.

    God, please I wish I had the luxury to be a minority and say “discrimination” and be heard. I was referred to three doctors until one canceled when I arrived saying I’m not going to take your money like other doctors because I know I’m not going to accept you as a patient since you are uninsured. Yet the others did. If it doesn’t stop me from going being told I have to pay cash at time of appointment then I’m given shoddy care so I don’t want to go back. Yes, it’s true.

    I’m sick of the “youthful indiscretions” from Main Street to the Congress/White House to the football field and basketball courts and baseball field to… (IT IS A PRIVILEGE to serve country and play professional sports to be honored and a moral responsibility to set a shining example and BE a positive role model.)

    Beyond that, as I’ve said since 1980, we need EMOTIONAL AND LIFE SKILL EDUCATION K-12 (daily) classes because our EQ’s are as important as our IQ’s. Our HQ’s too as we all have a healthy life choice deficit from the kitchen table to the court room table to the sportsmanship bargaining table. It is all about money and “even bad publicity is good publicity,” they say. Who is this they? They do get it right sometimes though.

    BTW: My college history professor at South OKC Junior College at 7777 S. May said indentured white slaves given the most treacherous jobs so most never got their freedom as many lost lives as slaves. My maternal great grandparents share croppers so… I’m missing the discrimination point to justify or rationalize what can’t be that is denied those who truly are discriminated against of all races. We’ve been politically corrected into incorrectness. IMO

  12. Alice Ensley says:

    I in no way condone dog fighting or Michael Vick’s part in it. I lived for 20+ years in the Hampton Roads area where Michael grew up. He did not come from a good area and I have to believe he is somewhat a victim of his environment. I feel like he’s served his time and now he has to prove himself. Only time will tell.

  13. T says:

    The main problem I have with his “second chance” is that he never served time for dogfighting, so in turn, he never plead guilty to the crime. He pled guilty to federal racketeering and not guilty to the numerous counts of animal cruelty. If he really was a changed man, he would have given up the hundreds of other organizations he knows about in the dog fighting world and served time for the actual cruelty that was committed… the barbaric torturing and assasination of animals in ways that make my stomach turn… applying jumper cables to the dogs ears, connecting the cables to a car, and throwing them in a pool, shooting, hanging… if he really wants to show he is such a “model” citizen now, step up and give up the names of EVERY person he knows involved in the criminal activity.

  14. I have two dogs both of which I love dearly. So the idea that anyone would abusedogs, much less make money from an activity that abuses dogs. That being said however, I think abuse to children is a much more serious problem. But, sadly, I don;t hear nealy the outcry protecting our children. That being said however, i wonder if Michael Vick is truly sorry about what he did, or is he merely saying what his therapists and the Eagles organization want to hear because he wants to play? Mr. Vick and other sports personalities need to remember that whether they like it or not, whether they want it or not, they are role models to their fans. If Mr. Vick is not sincere or the Eagles organization reinstates him too quickly, what message are they sending? Philly is my hometown, and I want the Eagles to win as much as anyone, (even though I’m in Seahawks territory at least for now)but I also want people in Mr. Vicks’ position to be held properly accountable. Also, meaning no disrespect, why is everyone so quick to play the race card? Does anybody who follows Philadelphia sports remember when Pete rose whio played for the Phillies for a time was made to account for his gambling habits? As I recall, he never played again, and it was years before he made the Hall of Fame. So we need to be careful niot only how we punish but how long we punish celebrities for their indescetions.

  15. Anita says:

    I don’t believe in dogfighting. It’s cruel and inhumane. Does it make a person who participates in dogfighting a sociopath, who knows? There are dogfighting rings or whatever they’re called, uncovered occasionally here in my area, white people, in this area anyway. None of them have done jail time that I’m aware of. They make the news when they’re caught and then they kind of fade away. Michael Vick has become the poster child for dogfighting because of his celebrity status. Is he sorry he mistreated the dogs? I don’t know, is he sorry he got caught? I’d say yeah, he’s sorry he got caught. Will he ever do it again? I seriously doubt it. Does he have to be sorry he mistreated the dogs, not in my opinion, as long as this has stopped him from ever doing it again. Should he not be allowed to play football? I’m not the one to make that decision.As long as he never participates in dogfighting what difference does it make whether he plays football or not? IMO as long as he never fights dogs again, that’s the most important outcome of this whole thing. I love animals and don’t want to see them mistreated. My dogs have come from the pound and one was being given away at Wal Mart.

  16. Dottie says:

    I have to say, I was absolutely mortifyed when I heard that my favorite football team aquired Michael Vick. I have devoted my entire life to the care and welfare of animals and this whole situation just sickens me. I believe that the Eagle’s organization has done all this for a marketing strategy. Even bad publicity, is publicity none the less. Vick is the creepy “side show” freak that will get butts into the seats of the stadiums every Sunday. This was all done because of greed. As long as the money rolls in, who cares about who brings it in.

  17. MzB says:

    I am a so tired of everyone who thinks that Micheal Vick is such a horrible person for the dogfighting situation. I am by no way loyal to Mr. Vick or care anything about him. I am only speaking about this situation because we as Americans have truely forgotten about the things that truely matter in life. I like dogs more that I can say I like Mr. Vick since he is just someone I do not know. How can Dr. Phil condone a woman who drags her child around on a harnest but strike down a man who lets his dogs fight(not any of you who are mad at him, but the ones he paid for with his own money, so his property). I guess in today’s society a dog is more important than a child. I do not care whether the child thought it was a game or not the mother should have had enough common sense to know what is right and what is wrong. I think that Dr. Phil and everyone who is so upset with fact that this man is moving on should mind their own business . If the judge who was over this case wanted any of your opinions or if he had valued any of them they would have contacted you to testify. He has paid his debt to society and is moving on with his life and career nevermind that it is one that we all have to see. If you all petitioned this much for all the killers and drug dealers and child molestors maybe we could get some real criminals behind bars.

  18. MikeV says:

    I am a dog LOVER. I have 2 pitbulls. I love my dogs & will take to fight to defend them.
    HOWEVER, I feel Michael Vick HAS paid his debt. Leave the guy alone.
    This country is absurd. People all over the world realize animals ARE animals. There are people in parts of the world who EAT dogs, so should we ban trade with those countries?
    Michael Vick was not solely responsible, he may have financed it, known about it, and participated, but if there wasn’t a market for it, it wouldn’t have happened.
    People have done worse and are allowed to come back into society.
    A murderer has more options than the IDIOTS of Philadelphia are giving to Vick.
    Remember, this is the city that beat up Santa Claus at an Eagles game.
    What’s more traumatic to our kids, hearing about what Vick did or seeing Santa pummeled?
    If Vick is not allowed to work, regardless of his profession, then all the murders, rapist, thieves, & so on should not be allowed to work. Then we will see how everyone will feel when they live off of our tax dollars.

  19. Bklyn_40 says:

    I am appaulled. Why won’t people let Vick alone. He paid his debt. Should we totally trust, NO! That would be foolish. But give the guy a chance. He has been tortured enough. He is in severe debt due to this. He has paid dearly. Murderers are allowed to resume their past lives, why not Vick?
    Any other country wouldn’t give this a 2nd thought, why are we????

  20. April says:

    I think it might be wise for me to just keep my opinion to myself about the ‘dog-fighting’ situation, but that aside, I think Vick deserves a second chance with society. However, I do not think he should be allowed right back into the NFL so soon. Wouldn’t it be wise to have some sort of program setup for people fresh out of prison forcing them to go through some evaluations, work-related programs, etc for a certain length of time to prove that they have been rehabilitated before being allowed to go right back to there professions….especially someone in the public eye. I think that it is sending a very bad message to kids these days.

  21. April says:

    After reading some of the other responses…I have one more thing to say! To all of you who seem to think it is okay to mistreat animals because the dogs were Vicks and his property: Yes! Dogs are animals…Yes! Dogs are dogs not human….however, dogs (and all animals for that manner) are living, breathing, creatures with feelings and emotions, just like us, created in God’s eyes…created NOT for our pleasure of mistreating, harming, or using for our entertainment. They were each created by God for there own reason and have there own contribution to society and our ecosystem. We over time domesticated certain animals for companionship, hunting, etc. and it angers me to think that people believe it is their right to mistreat them for recreational purposes, or for any other reason!! Have some compassion please!!!

  22. Jay says:

    look alot of people need to suck it up , and move on
    he made a mistake , he has served his time why should he constantly be ridiculed is it because he is a man of color , okay he engaged in dog fighting it was wrong why should we continue to judge him and deprive him of making a living and supporting his family . now there are many nfl players who abuse there wives , have killed people
    and all you so called dog lovers want to constantly harp on Vick , but how many of you love ,mankind and help mankind more than you help dogs many of you will drive pass a man in need but u run home and kiss and love your dogs , don’t get me wrong i love animals i am a Vegan have been for 13 years but i strongly believe this is Petas soapbox now they can throw paint on people degrade people , all for the sake of animals get over it .. he served his time

  23. Carolyn says:

    Michael Vick displayed behavior that is extremely cold and uncaring. It shows his feelings towards life and animals. He served time in jail and is seriously in debt and some say that he has paid his dues and has the right to return back to his high profile and high paying job. The teams that want him do so strictly in a selfish manner because he is a good player and they want to win. They really don’t care one way or the other what he did, they just want to win. Then here comes that claim that he is being discriminated against because of his race. I am so tired of hearing that excuse from people. I don’t think that race has anything to do with what people are feeling or any actions against him. Animals are creations of God’s and God gave us the job of caring for his creations and he gave us the honor of being higher beings in the life chain compared to animals. What Michael Vick did is an action against God’s, our creator and the creator of those same animals he chose to be so cruel to. I agree with Dr. Phil that there is a possiblity that Vick is a sociopath because based on the description of a sociopath, he does display the characteristics. If he his, he started on animals and will move on to humans possibly because a sociopath has no regard to life period, except maybe their own,

    I think it would be very fair to allow Vick to have his old life back once all the animals he mistreated has their lives back. Everyone is so worried about Michael Vick and his rights but we can’t forget that he took away the rights of all those dogs to be treated humanely. I have seen people in jail become “saved” and “follow Jesus” and become almost saintly. It is a normal part of jail behavior. Cons are just that, cons. After they are out, they return to their own selves very soon. This has become a case that money, race, winning, etc. has taken priority over life and the very creatures gave us the job of caring for. What is really important people? I think we all seem to forget the basics in life and get caught up in a bunch of things that really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. Michael Vick will be judged by God eventually for all of his actions, just as we all will. He will see things differently than we of the world do, I am so very sure. I just pray for Mr. Vick and hope he truly does find his way to what is right, good and true. He isn’t there yet, nothing has changed and he hasn’t worked through whatever the issues are that caused his behavior and until that happens things will remain as they have been.

  24. smcfall says:

    Well great if MV has changed his ways. I just will have to think that is true but I know it is still going on and animal abuse in my book is something I cant and wont except. I believe animals are Gods true gift to the world, and most humans are too selfish and stupid to see that. Sad because the world would be a much, much better place just letting that info sink in.
    We spend all stinking day dwelling on how pepole get there feelings hurt by others because of skin color,but dont take a minute to think about the insane abuse animals go through every day. WHY just because they cant talk,scream out about it like we can. Sorry I’m just so upset thinking about it :(

  25. Linda RH says:

    Dr Phil, as far as the claim of racism in the arrest and conviction of Michael Vick, I agree with you in that I don’t see it. I thought the majority of Americans was past this, but in recent months accusations of “racism” have been brought up over and over again.
    In my opinion, it’s becoming the new equivalent of the Spanish Inquistion- the goal of intimidating and wealth redistribution was disguised in accusations of witchcraft. In those days if you wished to dominate your neighbor, and coveted your neighbor’s possessions, you accused them of witchcraft. This became widespread in Europe and even had a short lifespan here. It had very little to do with religion and everything to do with greed and control.
    I believe most thinking Americans see through the aims of those that cry “RACISM!” in recent days, and I’m speaking of Americans of all colors, genders, and religions.
    As far as Michael Vick’s reinstatement as a football player, look at the sport. To excel it helps to have a bloodthirsty and brutal sort of mindset. There are many exceptions, and many exceptional players that aren’t found breaking some law or moral rule, and these men deserve to be held up as positive examples. However, there are many that have the physical attributes to excel, but don’t have the mental attributes to compartmentalize the mindset and keep it on the field.
    Do you blame it on the owners, coaches, and others that work for the sports franchises? No, their goal is to make a living bringing us the sports we want to see, it is not up to them to oversee the mental health of their players. Nor are they trained to do so.
    I see what you’re saying about the fact that it may be too soon for Vick to be exposed to the same temptations, that proof of his “enlightenment” is thin. It would be up to him to examine himself, and say, “I’m not ready, I need more help, time, etc.” Sadly, most of us don’t self examine until we have hit rock bottom, myself included. Has he hit his bottom? You would have a better guess at this than I do, or his coaches for that matter.
    I guess we will just have to wait and see, and let him know that he is being watched. (And do the follow up and make sure he is watched!) Whether he abstains from animal cruelty because he has changed his heart, or because he is afraid of being incarcerated again, is all the same.
    And I liked the idea someone mentioned that he be mandated to join a program that helps train dogs for the blind and other disabilities.

    In the meantime, the “racist screamers” should butt out.

  26. Joey says:

    I am so sick of people wondering why people care about dogs instead of people.
    I care about dogs (and all animals) because not enough people do.

    In a natural disaster, who gets rescued first – people or animals?

    People don’t seem to hesitate to give up a pet when times get tough. They give up their animals because an apartment won’t let them have them, or they can’t feed or care for them. When was the last time someone you knew gave up their child because an apartment wouldn’t let them have the child in the apartment or they couldn’t feed them or provide medical care for them? It doesn’t happen with people, but it happens all the time with animals.

    I realize a dog is a dog, a cat a cat. I realize some countries eat dogs and cats.

    I realize there are a ton of people out there who eat beef and chicken and fish – I’m not one of them and never will be.

    When you hear and see what people do to each other, is it really surprising that they do such horrible things to animals?

    Society doesn’t value life, human or otherwise, the way it should. It’s very sad.

  27. i feel everyone deserves a 2nd chance.and i agree that time will tell.i know i have relatives in the carolinas and fighting pit bulls is done a lot.a few years ago it was cock fighting and pit bull fighting.so to me this was a sport to them and not necessiarly sociopathic behavior.personally i cannot even look at a fight on the internet.it sickens me and is very troubling.i do not know michael vic but i cannot say he is anti-social or not but maybe he is not and will not benefit grom counselling.i heard in the show he was raised doing this and maybe this is just in his blood.i feel raising horses to death and getting them hurt and having to shoot them is bad also.as is racing dogs til they kill over just so they can bring money into race tracks.i do not wish to partake in anything to do with harming any animal but i do feel michael deserves a 2nd chance. and for all the people complaining i wonder how much complaining they will do if he takes the team to the superbowl. and maybe wins!

  28. Lee says:

    Has anyone seen his dogs on the show Dogtown. It was so horrible to watch! He is not even remorseful of what he has done!!!! He pulled the TEETH out of one of his dogs so that she could not bite another dog!!!! The dog named Cherry had to be carried because it was so scared of humans!!! Humans!!!! I am so outraged by what he did. He should be at that shelter volunteering to help rehabilitate his dogs til they have been all rehabilitated!!!! Sending him to jail did nothing for him!!!!!

  29. Leah M says:

    Life is what we make of it. It sounds “cliche” but yet it is a fact. Humans have the capacity of making choices and each choice will have a consequence. The sooner we realize that, the better off we will be. We can’t expect our neighbors and the rest of society to baby sit our children. If we made a choice to be a parent then it is our SOLE responsiblity to care for our children and by care I mean provide not just food, clothing and shelter but also provide LOVE and let our children know they are the MOST important thing in our lives. Instill MORAL values by example, who better than a parent to do that? Nothing more gratifying than seeing our children grow up to be PRODUCTIVE members of society.

  30. S J says:

    Thank you for your piece on Michael Vick while in Philly. For those who cry give Vick a second chance and he paid his dues……I say this….Vick only paid his debt to the criminal justice system for racketeering and he had 7 years of second chances while particpating in dog fighting. He has a history of bad behavior that goes beyond dog fighting and gambling. Remember the Ron Mexico incident, the Bud Melton murder, failed drug testing, lack of work ethic while with the Falcons, bankruptcy, children out of wedlock, strip club and bars, and drinking at bar after being reinstated to NFL. I am doubtful that the behavior and attitude of Vick is something that can be changed. Someone who abuses, tortures and kills animals has some severe mental issues and is not the type of individual that should be in a multi million dollar industry looked up to my our youth. I think those involved in football are over looking all of this for the sake of the all mighty dollar, and that scares me. We should all keep a watch on Vick, it is just a matter of time before he resorts to his old behaviors, for now he knows he is under the publics eye and his only regret is getting caught. Please follow his story, and keep the public informed.

  31. Jein says:

    I would no more want a pedophile rehabilitating around children as I no more want a horrific dog abuser given community service around dogs. I am disagreeable of abusers being made examples by platforms of speaking engagements amongst young minds as children..in schools, etc – Children walk away with a knowledge that horrific acts gets a grand stage!

  32. JF says:

    I disagree with the NFL bringing Michael back so soon. I think this sends the wrong message to especially young people that it is okay to do a serious crime, spend a few months in jail, and just go back to living with all you started out with. My concern is that he does need to continue to work through this. He needs to be off the field while he is at it. Not because he did not “repent” properly but because our young people need to know this is a serious matter. I pray he will continue his walk with God and at some point be the football icon he started out to be eventually.

  33. Dear Dr. Phil,
    It took me this long to find my way to your blog!
    My comment is not about Michael Vick but about the governor of Pennsylvania. I have been struggling with my weight for many years with little success. My doctor has told me to eat less (which I do) but I have very little choice in the foods presented as I live in our health care facility where the meals are planned for us. The only thing I have not been able to do is give up sweets. However the governor, for some reason, really inspired me and I have begun to give up sweets!! I have slipped once or twice but for the most part have really passed them up. Since last week I have lost only three pounds but am proud of myself for not eating candy especially.
    I am 84 years old and crippled with arthritis thus not able to walk except with a walker and even then, because of pulmonary hypertension, cannot walk far. Therefore exercise is out of the question.
    Whatever spot the governor touched, I just wanted to share with you my joy at having seen this show. (I tape and watch your show every day and often share bits with the Sisters who eat with me.)
    Thanks so much for all you do.
    S. Ann Kevin

  34. Jacinthe Bourque says:

    I to am a very big dog lover , this pass summer we had to have our poor dog put down because of cansor and it was very panful and to hear of something like this is very hard but I think that he did his penalty and should go back to work and in his case his work is football, the fact that he is talking about it is a bonus is my opinion and you are right what kind of exanple would we be giving to the the other in jail if they thought that when they came out there was nothing out here for them that is crazy, I do think he needs to be kept an eye on cause for a while I beleive that celeraties thought they could get away with anything but I think that is slowly changing now but we should not make example of them eather it should not go from one end to the other..

  35. Linda RH says:

    To Jein- good point you made about not letting Vick around dogs as a rehabilitation project. You compared it to a pedophile taking care of children as rehabilitation.
    I’m not sure if the comparison is a fair one, but it is worth thinking about. I guess it shows that I’m one of those that don’t equate animals quite the same as humans.

  36. Ann Scribner says:

    Let’s all consider the fact the Pete Rose was banned for life from baseball for betting on games. He is not allowed to be in the hall of fame and we are letting Michael Vick return to the game he plays and he can continue to earn a living. Yes he did serve his time in prison and I and this nation can hope he has changed. Chances are he will be in the football hall of fame. Does this sound reasonable. He fought dogs to the death. He killed dogs that did not live up to his standards. And we ban another sports hero for life for gambling.

  37. Tay Ma says:

    I would like to start by saying that it is true that cruelty, whether to animals or people, is tolerated far too much in America. When I look at my society I think about the fact that of all the women I know and hang out with, I do not know one that has not been treated like an animal by a man; many times a spouse or boyfriend. So it is in our community that women are property, passed from friends and enemies to friends and enemies depending on the currency or audacity. These same women detest their situations, but welfare and a judgemental society have conditioned them to question only themselves, and only internally, lest they receive a harsher fate than that of their current situation. This operant conditioning causes these women to repress everything yielding self-destruction because of faulty decision making. It is not that th person is not able to make a better decision, it is more that all the decisions have usually been made for the person, and she does not believe herself worthy or capable to run her own life.

    Michael Vick may be from a society similar to this. Think about it. A person’s eyes and ears are the sole receptors of what will be produced from his or her hands if s/he is not a follower of heart. If he always saw dog-fights and that they produce a lot of money, power, and respect, being in the type of society where these things are vital for esteem, he will definitely either be a participant or fighter of the same sport. Obviously, Vick was a participant. Being a person who has seen a lot of violence firsthand, I believe that if he was dogfighting, that we probably wouldn’t ever know it, because it would be possible for him to never attend nor have any type of contact with his actual fighters, in which, it would not be a lie for him to say that he never fought dogs. Who will determine how serious a case this is? I am sure that those who are the determiners are also guilty of crimes just as brutal, but perhaps in a different view, such as neglect of family members, which can also lead to dangerous and sometimes even fatal habits.

    The thing is, the spotlight is put on this man, and for good reason, but those who are critical of his return to the field are not thinking about this man’s right to still continue his life outside of captivity. It is funny how we criticize our own faults in others rather than in ourselves. Does this make any of you incapable of performing your job? Would it make your co-workers less inviting to work with you if they knew you were an essential team-player? Furthermore, if you truly believed in your heart that you had changed, or at least were capable of change, how would you be affected by those who consistently doubted you? Would you strive to prove them wrong? In your persistence to prove them wrong, would you doubt yourself at all? Do you believe that doubt would also initiate recurrence of some of the same behaviors that you are trying to change?

    A strong-willed person may say no, but there is a limit to everyone’s will. If everyone in the world turned against you, who would fight for you? Dr. Phil I believe that you are wrong by saying that a person of sociopathic nature cannot change. Many people trust your words of wisdom and it is proven that when psychologists suggest or diagnose a certain illness, though I do understand that you did not say Mr. Vick was a sociopath, it may condition them to believe the things you say about it are true. It may be a sound argument that many sociopaths do not recover from their condition, but if a person is trying to change with all factors remaining the same in his or her life, then the contributing element to their condition will obviously still be present. This is almost a guaranteed way to fail. Moving to another state does not mean that a person will leave everything in his or her household in the old state, and even if the person does there are still emotional and mental links to the old life. There is a sure way for a person to commit to a reformed life, and that is by the breaking down of the old self and rebuilding of a new being. The only way to successfully do this is with Jesus Christ. Without Him, any attempt to conceal or overcome any condition will fail.

    The bond of Jesus and a being is more than just a happy time for people to rejoice about. It is a relationship that is formed by Master for servant. That may sound weird, but it is truth. The Lord does not want any of His children to suffer. By asking Him into our hearts, we are signing all issues and concerns to Him as He wants us to do. “Cast all your cares upon me…” says the Lord “… and I will give you rest.” Now excuse the lack of documentation as the scripture slips me at this moment, but I know this to be real from personal experience. Every day will not be a wonderful day physically, but every day can be an enjoyable and fulfilled day if we would only “trust in the Lord with all our might, and lean not to our own understanding (Proverbs, 5-6.)” The Lord can and will deliver a sociopath, psychopath, and anyone else who needs deliverance if that person will acknowledge Him and trust in Him.

    How, you may ask, can I do this? It is simple: Bow your head and say this prayer,
    “Jesus, I (do or do not) know what it is in me that sparks the desire to do these things that I do or am thinking of doing. It is not my desire to hurt anyone nor is it my desire to be hurt, but Father i want to be freed from the opression of my flesh. Please fill me with your Spirit, and help me to receive love and support from your followers so that I may change. Forgive me for my impure thoughts and for my inexcusable actions and create a newer model of me that can understand Your word and will adhere to it. I thank You for hearing my cry, and ask that you guide my feet toward your purpose for me as you touch my heart and initiate change. In Jesus Name.”

    With this, it is already done. Remember that when you put your faith and trust in god that it is necessary to keep it there to prevent the evil one from reaching his goal; your destruction. Do not let this happen to you.


  38. Lisa KEYMASTERS group says:

    Hi Dr Phil
    I never followed the M.V. story. What I heard was a man that claimed he wasn’t face to face involved. I heard a lot of denials of his physical involvement My opinion is: if he was telling the truth than he turned a blind eye to an abusive tragedy against animals that didn’t have a voice for themselves. So my question is:
    What happens to people who aren’t famous, This person is no different from the next. He should have the same consequences as the next person. And have to answer to the same people. I don’t think the consequences for breaking this law comes close to the amount of damage it does to the animal. I wish the consequences were more severe for even first time offenders, then maybe there would be less people doing it. I spend a lot of time at rescues, and there are plenty of community hours that an offender can do that doesn’t put them in the same cage or yard with these innocent animals. I wonder how M.V or any other abuser would feel if they were put into a ring and forced to have the crud beat out of them. I don’t know what special priveleges this guy got if any. And I don’t believe it has anything to do with color. He’s lucky they didn’t do to him what he allowed to happen to those dogs. I don’t feel that his punishment fit the crime. Or the rewards he is now receiving now that he is out.

    I once heard a smart adult man say: you can tell future behaviors by relevant past behaviors. I think this guy needs to show some new behaviors. As far as football or any other sport. They care what will win the game. And if he is a good player, this is a business move on their part. I don’t believe they are doing it to show M.V.that is was okay to do what he did.

    I like what Sherry B says:
    September 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm about him spending a majority of his paycheck on dog charities. The SPCA’s in every state could use his money to help save other abused animals.

  39. Renee F. says:

    Hi Dr. Phil:
    I also believe everyone deserves a second chance; but is Michael Vick truly sorry? True, he served his time but has he been rehabilitated? Has he learned from his mistakes? What kind person participates in sport that fights dogs to their deaths? As far as there being any racial overtones connected with this; both white and black prisoners would encounter problems upon their re-entry into society. Also, alot of young people see him as a role model; what example does this set? My instincts tell me that he’s not truly sorry. Time will tell if he’s being sincere; he’ll have to re-earn the trust. Meanwhile, I say, he’s been re-signed, let’s see what he does…

  40. JenniferR says:

    I am one that does believe the comments rep Wilson was it got away with , feels like he would not have done that were it Gore or Kerry saying the same thing, so believe in that case the disregard was because of race. I however, do not think that was the case with vick, except that there are a disproportionate # of black men involved in professional sports. It was his status, and not his race that put him out there to get the hammer. NPR fresh air talked about this topic as well and it seems it has to do with some local cultures and poverty in particular, except in the high stakes gambling rings. This has absolutely got to stop. If we are a nation of people filled with folks who find this to be okay to put these animals in this situation we are deteriorating beyond redemption. we can not let people become so damaged that they find this okay.

  41. J. Stacy Drisdom-Allen says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    While I am an avid viewer and am currently seeking your help, I am moved to tell you how I feel about your position with this Michael Vick issue. You are a powerful man, a celebrity and commonly known to be for the “under-dog” – pun intended. I am concerned with your statements referring to him as a possible sociopath. I wonder if it was a good move to make those statements. Even you said that you could not call it as you have not evaluated him. But I wonder if even putting that term in the same sentence does not give a specific impression. I wonder if it gives the impression that maybe just maybe you really feel that way, but legally you must add the rhetoric that you “can’t call it.” You don’t find it a bit irresponsible? You know and I know that your words have more power than most. I would hate to see that all of his nay-sayers rise up (as they clearly have) with this term as a result of your statements. What if you are wrong? What then? Sorry Vick? That’s not you. What if you are right? Told you so? That’s not you either. I look at you being the guy, the celebrity with the integrity that can accurately go ahead and evaluate this man and help us put a period on this situation, so the healing can begin. I don’t see you as the guy that wants to start some rumor. I see you as a fact based guy. So why not just evaluate him and get it over with? I think it would be a great show! I even think you would draw an even larger male viewing that day! And it would help us to not judge so harshly or maybe to learn to go with our instincts. I don’t know, but I am sure it would be better than just guessing about a man who clearly could use some good help. What do you say?

  42. J. Stacy Drisdom-Allen says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    I forgot to answer your direct question from the blog in regards to the racism card. I will qualify myself by stating that I am African American. I will also qualify that I do not speak for all African Americans. From an objective point of view, we can not call this a racial situation until a white person, male, NFL quarterback with the same reputation has undergone the same thing. Personally, I do not think this is race based. What I will say that may cause some controversy is that in my opinion when an African American is “wrong” race seems to be the first thing some of our leaders start with. Besides, it is great publicity for their organizations… On the other hand, I do think Mr. Wilson’s remarks were racially based. Please correct me if I am wrong, but when has someone of that status and clout yelled something that offensive in that setting? Puleeez! I have debated with the late former President Ronald Reagan in the 8th grade and held my own. I even debated former Gov. Jeb Bush as a senior in high school. I was extremely passionate and deliberately angry, but not once did I disrespect either the office, the position, or the man. I was a KID and could control myself. But Mr. Wilson gets a pass for passion? Puleeez!!! I won’t even get into his blatant joke of remorse or apology!!!

  43. Shelley hartley says:

    I wish I could pace Michael Vick in a pit with those hungry angry pit bull dogs because then I wouldn’t have to hear about how well he did on the ball field or anywhere else. He does not deserve to live any better than the most pityful dog that is being treated for the injuries inflicted. At the command Vick

  44. Chris says:

    I can see where many American’s have a problem with what Mr. Vick did. I did! I was glad to see him locked away for the time he served! I was proud of the way the system worked! I am now writting this wondering why we care soo much about the death of dogs when another NFL player ran over and killed a man while drunk driving! Where’s the outrage? Do we really care that less about human compared to dog?
    As far as Mr.Vick not deserving a second chance I say that is stupid! The man did his time, turned to God and is now trying to rebuild. Granted the animals can’t rebuild and some had to be destroyed and that is truly tragic, but think of it this way, you commit a crime, you go to jail serve your time do whatever rehab is required, get a job and then someone from your old life goes to the public and say’s you cannot work in your choosen field because of what you did two years ago. How you feel? Then you get a job and people still won’t let it go!
    The system worked! He was found guilty, served his time and is now trying to move past it!
    I see post on site’s like this all the time about asking yourselves what Jesus Christ would do in this situation. I say He not only FORGIVE Mr. Vick, but He would welcome him with open arms and Bless him!

    Remember judge lest ye be judge!

    Love your show Dr.Phil your awesome!

  45. Gary Schaible says:

    Topic; M. Vick.
    The person selling tickets at door, the person selling popcorn, the scoreboard operator, ect. would not be allowed to hold their jobs with a criminal record. Why is Mr. Vick? Is the NFL, NBA, and major league baseball the only place where a criminal record does not count. I believe that every one makes mistakes, but do you know how hard it is to get a job in this country with a felony? It is one reason that there is so many repeat offenders in this country.

  46. Rosey says:

    Mr.Vick may have paid his debt to society, but he has not paid his debt to the dogs he maimed, killed, and tortured. Our society is not very demanding these days.
    I agree with Dr.Phil, that he has not had the therapy he needs to truly see that dog fighting is morally wrong.
    I would like to know why he even got into the fighting to begin with, certainly not for the money. What need does he have, that watching dogs rip each other to shreds is entertainment for him?
    He will bear watching.

  47. Lauren says:

    Unfortunately time will tell. I do think that he should have zero contact with animals and he should be only around children when supervised. Is it possible that he is just a person who never saw animals as having rights and now he sees that they do? Did he have any therapy while in prison? Will he have therapy while he is out? How will he be treated by the other players?
    Dr. Phil remember that study that they wanted to do on choromsomes on football players to see if they were ‘destined’ to be more aggressive? Unfortunatly they were unable to do the study, maybe someone could resurrect that.

  48. Jeanie says:

    COME ON EVERYONE! Nobody is talking about the real issue here:
    If any of us “normal people” were convicted of a crime and did jail time, would we get our job back? NO!!! And we would never hold a decent job again. It seems that celebrities are exempt from this. This makes me sick. So many decent people out there “made a mistake” and “redeemed’ themselves BUT they still can’t get decent employment and they never will once they check the box “were you ever convicted of a crime”.
    Why are celebrities or athletes any different then us? This is only showing our children that you can do something as horrible as Michael Vick has done and still fulfill your dreams. This is wrong because for any of us, our dreams would be over! And so should his.

  49. People do things that are wrong, and in this case very wrong….but in the end they are only sorry for being “caught”….it’s human nature….I agree w/Dr Phil…the activity he was involved in is sick, very sick….I do hope that he is sincere, time will tell…

  50. Terri says:

    I needed to hear the show yesterday (10-1). My granddaughter has been bullied since she was in kindergarden. As a matter of fact she came home Wed telling me a girl had called her the n word. She is 9 yr old. and has lived with me for 6 yrs. He mother who is my daughter was killed in a car accident. Because she is bi racial she is picked on alot. But I am surpirsed that it has not affected her self-esteem. I try to talk to her about it and let her know it is not true. She is so sweet and smart. We are so very proud of her. I just want to thank you and Jay for addressing this subject and helping us to understand bullying from both sides.

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