People's opinions about every new situation are formed by the totality of their experiences. Animal rights activists think it's about cruelty. Soured Falcons fans think it's about tragedy in multiple ways. African-Americans in Atlanta, according to prominent black leaders, think it's about Vick not getting due process because of the color of his skin.Having heard all the news surrounding the allegations, I have come to the conclusion that Vick is most likely guilty. I stopped to consider what the connections I have with the situation are and how they are affecting my opinion. Here are the different factors that I can recognize:
- As a fellow graduate of Virginia Tech with Michael Vick, I long to see him bring a good name to the university that I love. He is, after all, the most well known attendee of the university (I'd say that his closest competitors would be Frank Beamer, Bimbo Coles, Bruce Smith, and Homer Hickum, so he wins this one by a long shot). When Michael's brother Marcus got in repeated serious trouble with the law that led to his dismissal from Virginia Tech, I was always glad that even though Michael seemed to have a shady air about him (especially when he was around Marcus), he had kept a fairly good public image.
- As an NFL fan (and specifically a Bengals fan), I have watched a lot of players get arrested and suspended for things ranging from DUI and drug possession to weapons charges and assault. I can't say that it would shock me to find out that another NFL player was engaged in illegal activity.
- As a dog owner, I am sickened by the practice of forcing dogs to engage in this sort of thing and either killing or abandoning the ones who don't perform. We adopted Mabel from one of many shelters in southern New Jersey that is filled with stray/abandoned dogs that people say were results of dog fighting, or at least intentional breeding and training of aggressive dogs. I think it's easy to allow yourself to have a very emotional response to this issue and be quick to assume guilt.