Submission by Ryan Sunstrom
In the world of sports, nobody relates dogs to football; unless of course you’re talking about “Air Bud.” However, that all changed back in 2001 when Michael Vick, one of the best incoming quarterbacks from Virginia Tech, came into the National Football League. Vick was predicted to be one of the best quarterbacks and people were expecting big results his first year. The crowd wanted big instrumental plays and wins. Instead, they got to see Vick develop his very own dog fighting club called, “Bad Newz Kennels.” People watched, baffled behind their tv screens, as Vicks’ club was blasted all over the news. I have several reasons why Vick was acting immorally by participating in this, as well as an ethical theory that relates to this case study.
Vick’s vicious dog fighting involved an overwhelming amount of dogs. Over fifty pit bull dogs were housed and trained for staged dog fights. These dogs brought in quite the high stakes, with the gambling ring containing winnings of up to $26,000. This situation is highly immoral on every level. For any dog owner out there, I guarantee very few would ever even consider doing this with their dog, so how did Vick allow this without feeling an ounce of guilt? There is absolutely no excuse for dog fighting at all; it’s animal cruelty, and the judge agreed. After all of the questioning and prosecuting Vick went through, he was sentenced to twenty-three months in prison.
The ethical theory that I related to this topic was utilitarianism; this theory states that human beings ought to behave in ways that will bring about good consequences. During the time Vick was encouraging the dog fights, I don’t think he knew what consequences would come along. I think his main motive was money, and everything else (consequences included) didn’t seem to matter. It was as if he didn’t think about what sort of harm he was causing.
In my opinion, when this story came out, I was completely surprised. Vick used to be one of my favorite football players and especially one that I looked up to. Hearing about this scandal really upset me for two reasons. First of all, I’m a huge dog fan and own a dog myself. Secondly, I considered Michael Vick a role model, and after seeing the headlines, it changed my perspective of him not only as a person but a football player as well. Long story short, gambling is meant to happen in casinos and dealing with cards and chips, definitely not dogs.