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Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

Posted: August 6, 2009 09:00 PM

Michael Vick: Champion?


When I was young I did some foul shit. I never tortured an animal or molested a child, but I did a lot of illegal stuff. And while I was doing it all, I can honestly say was I was unconsciousness and didn't see anything wrong. My awakening came later. It is a fact that unconsciousness runs rampant in humankind and many times has grave consequences on our society.

When I heard about the arrest of Michael Vick and read about what he did to dogs, it made my stomach hurt. However, I was never like so many of my friends and co-workers who were on the "convict Michael Vick and put him away" bandwagon. I felt, as I do now, that he is worth more to people and animals, free and able to speak out about his crimes. I spoke to Michael today, and listened intently as he explained how sorry he is and how he now understands (and feels) that he was, yes, here is that word again, unconscious, when he participated in the killing and torture of those dogs.

We talked about how impressionable people are and how when they are raised in an environment that abuses women, children or animals, it gives their conscious free range to repeat that cycle. Children who grow up numb to the suffering of others are in danger of repeating what they know and are clearly in dire need of mentors to show them the evil in their actions and lead them away from them. These kids need someone who speaks their language to tell it to them straight -- that dog fighting is one of the cruelest practices in the world today.

That voice of reason, I believe, can be Michael Vick.

I always look for the best in people, and when Michael tells me that looking into the eyes of people who love and respect animals and seeing their pain and disgust -- it changed him. I choose to believe him, and realize that I may be in the minority amongst the animal rights community that I proudly am a part of. We can never undo the suffering those innocent dogs endured or bring back the many, many lives that were lost. All we can do is try using Michael Vick as an instrument, to stop dog fighting in the community while we save the lives of those innocent animals and change the karmic effect that will be felt by those who wake up and realize what they have done. That is my only prayer.

I was encouraged that even though Michael has been re-instated to play football and is getting his life back, that he still understands that his true calling is just beginning. I hope that the people who are illegally torturing pitbulls in back alleys and laundry rooms across the world will hear Michael Vick when he tells them that it's wrong, cruel and criminal and will only lead to their own suffering and eventually to jail. I pray that the message that he learned, "not from being incarcerated, but from those who cared about the welfare of animals," will reach every person who harms an innocent animal.

Michael has a lot of work to do. I support his efforts and have high hopes for his success, not only on the field but much more importantly, in the community, where animals are waiting to be saved and people's levels of consciousness are yearning to be lifted.