What Happened to “Genuine Remorse”?

Update Aug. 14: The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick to a one year contract for $1.6 million with an option for a 2nd year for $5.2 million.

The deal really belies the claim by Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, that Vick must show "genine remorse"before he can be fully reinstated and play for the entire regular season. It seems unlikely the Eagles would have signed Vick to such a contract if there was any concern Goodell might not reinstate him fully. So what about the "genuine remorse" Goodell has insisted Vick must show to be fully reinstated in the NFL? (See ideas below)

Other than a couple of meetings arranged by the Humane Society of the United States with some inner city youth, we haven’t seen any remorse. Not a word. Not a gesture. Nothing. 

This drama played out over the last few months seems to have been nothing more than a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign with the goal of reinstating Vick in the NFL. The tough talk from Goodell has been nothing more than that….part of the PR to satisfy a public that has roundly condemned Vick and his use of dogs for fighting and his abuse and torture of them in ways no good person can begin to understand. 

By failing to follow through on the requirement Vick show "genuine remorse", Goodell and the NFL and their advertising sponsors have signaled to young people that his crimes weren’t that bad, just don’t make his mistake of getting caught. 

Original report: The National Football League has conditionally reinstated Michael Vick. Conditionally because he cannot play at least until the 6th game of the season, and he must demonstrate "genuine remorse" before he can do so.  Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, has long said Vick must demonstrate "genuine remorse" for his crimes before he can play professional football once again.

Vick just completed house arrest on July 20, 2009, the end of a 23 month sentence for a guilty plea and conviction on federal charges of conspiracy to engage in gambling and dog fighting in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 USC §2156.

Many in professional football, including sports writers and fans, are eager for Vick’s return, insisting he has "suffered" enough of an "ordeal" for dog fighting. There has even been talk of a reality show starring Vick, maybe a book.

The implication from Vick’s supporters is always that he was caught doing something akin to having an affair or smoking pot. Something that shows a lapse in judgment, yes, but not even as serious as driving under the influence or domestic violence or worse.  Their implication is that, after all, these were just animals. They roll their eyes at the thought that the "animal rights people" could keep this former football superstar from returning to the game.  The game, the celebrity, the money, that is what is important.  Don’t go too far with this "animal rights stuff".

As for Vick himself, any "genuine remorse" he may feel is not apparent.  He has said almost nothing about the cruelty, the torture he inflicted on dogs that trusted him, dogs which by his own admission, he beat, strangled, drowned, hanged and slammed to the ground to kill them when they didn’t prove to be good enough fighters. He has not so much as mentioned, let alone demonstrated, remorse for the torture and abuse these dogs endured as Vick trained and forced them to fight.  

It bears repeating that in the April 25, 2007 raid carried out by the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force (VAFTF) along with the Virginia State Police and Drug Task Force on Vick’s Surry County, Virginia property, authorities found:  54 dogs, some of which were chained to car axles buried in the ground; rape stands used to force fighting dogs to breed by restraining an aggressive female,  "break" or "parting" stick used to pry open fighting dogs’ mouths during fights; treadmills and "slat mills" used to train dogs for fighting; steroids and controlled substances as well as vitamins, dietary and red blood cell supplements administered to fighting dogs, bloody strips of carpeting often found in dog fighting pits, a scale with a hook on it to weigh dogs; and a diuretic to stimulate urination after a fight. Sources report there was a great deal of blood in the attic of the house.  

Vick initially denied knowing anything about any of this.

What should be expected? Many of the millions of Americans who love and respect animals, law enforcement, animal control, prosecutors, pet owners, teachers, students, children and animal welfare advocates believed Michael Vick should not return to the glamour and privilege of professional sports. They believed that like Pete Rose, he should pay this price for these monstrous crimes and fade from public view. They believed that then people would know that animals’ lives matter, that animal fighting and cruelty won’t be tolerated.

LucasBut Goodell and the NFL have decided Vick likely will regain the fame, fortune and life of privilege he once knew.  

It would have been preferable if Goodell had not reinstated Vick or first demanded a demonstration of "genuine remorse".  We don’t know if Goodell’s words are simply tough talk.

But let’s find out. Here is a list of ideas for Vick to demonstrate genuine remorse:

  1. Fund education programs to teach youth about the cruelty of dog and all animal fighting and urge them to stop or avoid it and responsible pet ownership;
  2. Talk to youth about the cruelty of dog and animal fighting and urge them to avoid it;
  3. Demand all sports leagues have a zero tolerance policy against animal fighting and abuse;
  4. Offer assistance including funding to law enforcement in investigating and busting animal fighting operations;
  5. Testify in support of stronger animal fighting and animal cruelty laws;
  6. Make PSAs or commercials or take out ads or billboards that discuss the cruelty of dog and all animal fighting;
  7. Set up a foundation to pay for the care and placement of dogs he formerly owned that are now in sanctuaries or homes and also for dogs seized in future animal fighting busts.

Send these along with your own positive ideas to Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, Roger.Goodell2@nfl.net or National Football League
280 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017, or call him at (212) 450-2000 or (212) 450-2027.


Go here and here for more information on the great strides that have been made in stopping animal fighting even since Vick’s arrest.

Go here for more information about the Vick case.




24 thoughts on “What Happened to “Genuine Remorse”?”

  1. NONE of the items you list require Vick show remorse.
    What would demonstrate remorse is some indication that he actually understands the crimes he committed.
    Until then, any of his efforts to “educate” will be pathetic lies. And don’t think young people won’t know it.

  2. This sentence right here says it all in the bottom line of this article. “Vick initially denied knowing anything about any of this.” How could you not know about this stuff in your own home? He is still in denial and that shows he still thinks he did not do anything “THAT” wrong. He has remorse because he got caught! I think he should not play because kids look up to the NFL players and with time the whole thing will be forgotten. It should never be forgotten that Vick is capable of this kind of cruelty. If the NFL insists on letting him play (Still looks bad for the NFL) I think he should show remorse by donating 50% of his earnings for the next 10 years to dog shelters and 10% to the shelter that took his dogs. Plus educate the youth in schools. Hit him where it hurts, the money. Why should he enjoy life when he took so many lives of the animals that trusted him? I still think he should be banded for football. Thank you, Mrs. Bullivant of Salem, Oregon

  3. The list of things he can do is all fine and good as long as he stays as far from any dog.As far as this being done to demonstrate his remorse not gonna happen because this evil man has no remorse.He,if given the chance of not getting caught,he would do it all over again.I have said this over and over again the man has no soul I can’t even look at his picture because all i see is an evil man that did horrible things to innocent animals that now,people (believe because of the media)think they love to fight,we know this is not true.A puppy is not born wanting to fight it is made that way and Vick and all the other idiots out there have given this wonderful American dog a bad name.LOL i can not even begin to imagine why they would let this sad excuse of a human play ball again..I am so angry

  4. Great suggestions on showing remorse from Vick. He has seemed very removed from the heinous acts he was convicted of, like he’s just sorry he got caught, had to lose his money and mansions and just wants to get back into the game to recoup some cash. It’s sad that violence isn’t the main focus of this whole magilla – it really should be.

  5. We all make choices in our lives, some good, some not. In Michael Vicks case, he made extremely poor choices by operating a dog fighting operation. He new it was wrong, he knew it was a felony. Some choices in life will effect you for life, this is one such choice.
    The abuse he caused these pit bulls is unforgivable in my opinion. Yes he did his time, but what did he learn while there? My sources stated he enjoyed many football games with other inmates. Has he offered to do any community service to help dogs, educated the public on dog fighting? Should he? Are we going to allow him to NOW become a HERO?

    Returning to football will send a message to our admiring youth and general public, you can do anything these days and return to “business as usual”. NO he should not return to the NFL.
    Are we going to hear the commutators address the issue Michael Vick is back after serving time in Leavenworth for DOGFIGHTING. Is this something that should even be addressed at a National sporting event? Not in my opinion. He made his choices to electricute dogs, hang dogs etc etc., this abuse is unforgiving. He made his life choices in this case.

  6. If Michael Vick were capable of feeling remorse for what he did, he would not have done it in the first place. He may play football again, but I will never watch him or any team that hires him.

  7. Michael Vick has not “done his time.” He is not a “role model” for children or adults. Michael Vick should fade from the bright lights…move on with his life.

    Michael Vick blew his career. Done. Enough. Time for him to count his blessings, go to therapy for many years, pray, visit his church, do community service.

    Amen. Enough of Michael Vick. May he be peaceful. May he be free from sorrow and pain. May he never harm another animal during his time on earth.

    Goodbye Mr. Vick. Get off center stage.

  8. I wrote a letter to Roger Goodell and wanted to share it with you:

    I am extremely disappointed in you, Mr. Goodell, and the National Football League; including the Philadelphia Eagles for signing M.Vick back into the league.

    I am forwarding you an article that was written on the Animal Law Coalition website. I am forwarding it to you because I agree with every word; and I think we need some answers from you, Mr. Goodell. Link: http://animallawcoalition.com/animal-fighting/article/991

    No remorse from Vick + reinstatement into the NFL = a message to young and old alike that it’s okay to torture, abuse and kill animals for fun. Oh, and it’s okay to illegally gamble on which dog will “win” the fight and which one will either be left to die or killed by one of the spectators.

    Please, Mr. Goodell, please read this article, reevaluate your promises and your decision; I am a huge fan of the New England Patriots, but it won’t kill me to turn the channel to watch a sitcom instead. I am disappointed in you, Mr. Goodell, and the NFL; I never dreamed that animal torture and killing would be shuffled to the wayside so that a fallen star can try to reignite his fame.

    One last note – are you aware that it has been proven that men who torture, are cruel and kill animals are more apt to do the same to a human being? Especially if that person shows zero remorse, like your Michael Vick.

    You could have made a life-changing, career-changing, NFL-changing decision but you blew it. Is it worth the cost of losing NFL fans just so Vick can shine and be glorified??

    Chanda Torske
    Fargo ND 58103

  9. Anyone can be a puppet. Everything Vick has said has been so carefully scripted by Vick’s PR team and the HSUS. There’s not an ounce of sincerity in there. I’m not buying any of it from either of those camps.

  10. It is incredibly disturbing to think it’s going to be ‘business as usual’ for this murderer. The one place that seemed to be hitting him hard was his wallet – the idea that he’ll be making millions after being caught and convicted as a true menace to society is sending the Wrong message to the youth of today. Zero tolerance, period, for violent offenders. Beyond ‘The Link’ – the true reality is that I would not feel comfortable living in a neighborhood with this thug. I would not my children living in his neighborhood. The insipid nature of abuse and neglect and violence knows no boundaries. I think that every Eagles game should turn into an opportunity to peacefully rally and never let that maniac forget for a minute the victims he killed and the destruction he has caused. I wish him ACL trauma upon his knees.

  11. If Michael Vick was genuinely remorseful or sincere he would be talking to federal investigators.

    Michael Vick has the information which can deal a crushing blow to dog fighters and dog fighting in the United States. He can make a profound impact on the lives of dogs being abused and tortured today. In fact, there could be a dozen arrests and closures of dog fighting rings by now thanks to the information he could potentially provide to HSUS and federal investigators. He knows who the dog fighters are. He knows where the dog fights are held. He knows where they are getting the dogs. He knows where they are getting the animals used as “bait.” He knows where they live. He knows where they keep the dogs. He knows where they buy and keep the instruments of torture. He can stop it. A person as deeply involved in the U.S. dog fighting racket as Vick could implicate many other dog fighters and provide valuable information that could shut them down.

    This is the commitment Wayne Pacelle should have extracted from Michael Vick. Once the investigations were complete, once the arrests were made, once Michael Vick testified against them in court, once they were convicted, once the dogs being tortured were rescued, once the whole bloody enterprise was shut down, then and only then, should anyone listen to talk of remorse.

  12. I just saw Michael Vick make a statement on the News saying what he did was wrong and that he “wants to be part of the solution and not the problem”. He DID NOT state HOW he will be part of the solution. In fact, all we have had from Michael Vick is WORDS, WORDS, WORDS!! He has NOT ONCE demonstrated his remorse OR put forth any action plan he may have to directly address the never ending problem of dog fighting, or animal abuse in general. I immediately sent an email to Roger Goodell asking him to TAKE ACTION to ensure Michael Vick is held accountable and actually “does” things to help stamp out dog fighting and animal abuse.

  13. You really should investigate a bit further and find out the truth about the HSUS. Its no surprise that they have enlisted the help of this monster to reach their real goal which is not animals but fundraising in the name of animals. Look up Nathan Winograd he has written a lot on the subject. Wayne Pacelle is just a lobbyist and has publicly admitted that he has no pets and does not particularly even like animals. Please, if you really care, do your homework. The HSUS still has not given any of the millions they raised in the name of the Katrina dogs to the shelters and rescue groups that did the actual rescuing.

  14. Thats the comment I most agree with!! People do your homework. Read Nathan Winograd online. A real eye opener.

  15. I’ve known the truth about Wayne Pacelle / HSUS for years. He and his org were very quick to solicite donations to “supposedly” care for the Vick dogs after they were pulled form Vick’s property in VA, and yet, they advocated to have all of those pit bulls euthanized. So where did that money go Wayne? Because it surely didn’t go to those dogs or the people who cared for them.

    You’re really not telling me anything I don’t already know. But it’s good that this came up because so many people still donate to them who do not know the truth about Wayne, the HSUS (or PETA…well that’s a topic for another discussion).

    It really is no surprise to me either that Wayne Pacelle and Michael Vick have hooked up. They are riding on each other’s coat tails for nothing else but to benefit and promote themselves. They both need to go away.

  16. No, as far as I am concerned, Michael Vick has not “done his time.” No way,siree. Get off the television. Get off the air. Don’t want to see your face for a long long time.

  17. Hello,
    What Vick did is just disgusting, my mind cannot fathom how any human being can watch while helpless animals are mauled and killed, specially for money, this is beyond barbaric.
    Frankly, I cannot make up my mind on his re-institution into his sport team, I’m still debating this within or with myself.
    Should we as a society say, well, he has paid his dues, and it is time for him to carry on with his life, or, should we send a stronger message to others who might be future “vicks” that your crime is too dirty to allow you another chance!!!!!!!!!
    I certainly hope that the creator and the designer of this universe will exact justice for his creation, the dogs in this case.
    Sam Shoushi.

  18. It’s apparent that Michael Vick, the NFL / Eagles and HSUS will do exactly as they please. However, even if we couldn’t change anything, the one GOOD thing that emerged from the Michael Vick issue is the fact that we now have a team.

    I followed the Vick case from its inception back in 2007. I was progressively enraged as the case developed and we all learned of the hideous torture Michael Vick and crew put to these poor animals. From the fighting dogs that sometimes de-fleshed their heads down to skull, to the puppies and smaller “bait” animals that were disemboweled alive or had their limbs torn from their sockets. Electrocutions, hangings, drownings… it all made me VERY VERY sick and extremely angry and FRUSTRATED!!

    Millions (maybe Billions) in resources- The Humane Society of the United States, Michael Vick and supporters, The NFL / Philadelphia Eagles and their sponsors, and all others that perpetuate “dog-fighting” AKA “dog torture and mutilation”….

    Against me and a $10 Website I got from GoDaddy.Com

    Whatever it is… HERE WE GO.
    There is no way in hell I’ll sit here and do nothing.

    You’ve heard of bringing a knife to a gunfight….
    Well this is like bringing a pee-shooter to a nuclear WAR!

    Please join me on YahooGroups Mailing list:


    or visit my website and register your support:
    (click “I want to help”)

    We must focus squarely on getting laws in place that would impose MANDATORY
    JAIL TIME for the “sub-human” culture that have THE NEED to fight dogs
    (AKA torture and mutilate dogs for the fun of it). Fight dogs – GO TO JAIL.

    No cop-outs / plea-bargain, no excuses, no exceptions. NO NOTHING!

    Peter C.
    Stuart, FL

  19. Given the chance a domestic dog will rip a rabbit apart and chew on their bones for days. Dogs don’t feel remorse. Should we send every domestic cat to the pen for life when they mutilate a rat unless they show remorse?

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