Jimmy Kimmel on Vick (funny).
Vick turns tide against dogfighting
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
Sept 24 2009
Maybe it was one of
the times John Goodwin found a more receptive audience while lobbying
politicians for stricter sentencing against dogfighting.
Maybe it was one
of the times a law enforcement training session was packed with police.
Maybe it was while he was riding along on what is an increasing number of raids
on dogfighting operations.
Whenever it was, there was a moment over the
past two years that Goodwin, the anti-dog fighting expert at the Humane Society
of the United States, realized that of all the unexpected things, a silver
lining had formed in the ugly clouds of the Michael Vick(notes) scandal.
'People campaigned against dogfighting ever since the first dogfight ever
happened,' Goodwin said. 'But never had there been a spotlight put on this issue
like when Michael Vick was involved in it.
'What we've all learned is
certain high-profile events change the trajectory of issues and this was that
moment for dogfighting.'
Vick returns to the NFL on Sunday as a backup
quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. He's nearly two and a half years
removed from his arrest and subsequent imprisonment for funding and operating
Bad Newz Kennels, a major dogfighting operation in rural Virginia.
Goodwin will be watching his return. He once led animal cruelty protests of Vick
outside court proceedings. Now they are on the same team, the Humane Society
enlisting Vick as a spokesman.
Goodwin isn't going to call Vick a friend;
he isn't going to forget the violence that occurred under his watch. Yet the two
have become strange partners ' each using the other for their own selfish
purposes. Vick needs the public relations help. The Humane Society needs the
star power and credibility Vick has brought to speaking engagements to children
in Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
'People always ask if he's
sincere,' Goodwin said. 'He certainly comes across as sincere but I believe in
the long run his actions will either prove or disprove his sincerity on this.
'I do think the young people who've come and heard him speak really believed
him. That is what's most important. That's why we entered into this
relationship. After we weighed everything out it became a no-brainer that giving
Michael Vick a platform to speak out against dogfighting would be quite
While Goodwin is pleased that he has someone capable of
reaching certain groups, particularly inner-city children, the speeches Vick is
giving for the Humane Society are a drop in the bucket to the impact he
unwittingly had on the issue.
The brutality that surrounds the sport was
once, for most Americans, out of mind. This was an underground, backwoods
activity. Now it is common knowledge. A million speeches couldn't duplicate the
media coverage and public discourse on the issue.
'I think there is a
heightened sympathy for the animals because people who may have been against
dogfighting from the start, now realize that it's actually more horrible than
they imagined,' Goodwin said.
'People didn't think about the fact that
dogs that performed poorly might be electrocuted. Now a lot of people know
It's also silenced nearly everyone who doesn't consider it such a
'You've also got people who may have been antagonistic and
they've seen the public outcry over this and no one wants to face that,' Goodwin
The result has been 27 new laws passed at both the federal and
state levels to increase punishments against dogfighting since Vick's arrest.
The crime is now a felony in all 50 states (it was 48 pre-Vick). Police, now
sensing that this is a crime the public won't stand for, have increased their
enforcement of the law, stepping up raids and following tips.
presumably, people that may have just looked the other way or even partaken in
dogfighting have had second thoughts due to the publicity about ramifications of
Make no mistake, Goodwin wishes it never happened. The
murdered and mistreated dogs are his chief concern. Yet it did happen and the
moment he heard about it he sought to 'gather the facts and then see what could
be done to turn this into a net plus for the dogs, who are the victims of
In more than two years later, that net plus has been
The fight against dogfighting continues, Goodwin is busier than
ever, but at least something good has come from the bad news of Michael Vick's
Sept 29, 2009
WASHINGTON - Michael Vick told a sparse crowd at a Washington church
on Tuesday that dogfighting is pointless and he doesn't know why he
risked his career for it.
"I got caught up in the culture," the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback
said at Covenant Baptist Church, in one of the city's poorest
neighborhoods. "I never thought that I would get caught."
The former Atlanta Falcons star was released from federal custody July
20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for running the ring
Surry County, Va.
The church appearance was sponsored by the Humane Society of the
United States. Vick has been working with the group since his release
has appeared at similar events in Atlanta, Chicago and