Posted Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, at 10:27 AM
UPDATE: PETA is clarifying its stance here, and saying the organization does not "forgive" Michael Vick. Here's the entire quote.
Obama’s a sports guy, Vick’s a sports guy, and comebacks and redemption can happen. There are horrors all over the world, even horrors like the massacre of human beings under apartheid, yet following the retribution trials, the words of president Mandela moved the world beyond that hideous time, and gave us all hope for a better day. We all want a president who can lift us up and move us forwards when ugly things happen, but that cannot let us forget and remain watchful to avoid future abuses. AT PETA we hope Michael Vick spends every second playing ball, and never ever thinks about dogs or other animals as long as he draws breath, because most of those dogs didn’t get a second chance and the ones who did have to live with their fears to this day.
This is right, it's more acceptance than forgiveness.
President Obama told Eagles owner Jeff Lurie that he was enjoying Michael Vick's post-dogfighting sentence comeback as the team's supernaturally talented quarterback. Perry Bacon asked PETA's president and founder what she thought.
"Obama's a sports guy, Vick's a sports guy, and comebacks and redemption can happen," said Ingrid E. Newkirk, the group's co-founder and president. "We all want a president who can lift us up and move us forwards when ugly things happen, but that cannot let us forget and remain watchful to avoid future abuses."
That settles it, right? If PETA won't condemn Michael Vick anymore, and credits him with making amends for his abuse of dogs, scandal over?
It doesn't really matter. The Vick/Obama is only interesting at the level Obama meant it to be interesting -- as the start of a discussion on prisoner rehabilitation. Vick will be fine, because he has several years left to play football better than almost anybody in the country. He gets a comeback, on national television, with an array of writers eager to chronicle it. How useful is the Vick situation for starting a discussion about prison reform, or the rights of felons? Does it make a discussion of felon re-enfranchisement any less toxic? It can, and it's really the only way that Democrats -- especially Barack Obama -- can start a discussion on this without coming out of the gate as soft-on-crime wimps.