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September 11, 2007

Talk Back: Dogfighting Not Part of My Culture

Last Tuesday on "The View," when the discussion turned to Michael Vick's dogfighting crimes, co-host Whoopi Goldberg seemed to defend Vick, saying that dogfighting was "part of his cultural upbringing." The next day she clarified her remarks and said she condemned dogfighting. But before she made amends, we heard from many who were upset by her sentiments. Among the comments we received:

I am glad to see that others are just as insulted and hurt as I am over Ms. Goldberg's false and despicable comments about the Deep South and our culture! ABC's "The View" has swept the whole issue under the rug without an apology or correction of the ludicrous statements that were made. In all my years of living in the Deep South, I have never known anyone that was affiliated with dogfighting, or known anyone that thought dogfighting was a part of Southern culture. Dogfighting, animal torture and killing innocent animals is just as despised in the South as it is in the rest of the country. —Donna

I agree. Offering so-called cultural traditions, upbringing, etc., as an excuse for depraved and criminal behavior dangerously perpetuates the very stereotypes people everywhere try fervently to overcome. The same excuse is often given for the Canadian sealers, who claim that clubbing seals is "part of their tradition." This kind of reasoning is lazy and specious on its face, and it is affront to every civilized person. —Trish

I'm from the Deep South and there is NO part of dogfighting that is ok with me or any of my friends. It is not "common" or a part of the South! How offensive! My family is from Mississippi, and I was born and raised in Florida - you can't get much deeper South than that! No one down here supports dogfighting, unless it's someone who supports a life of crime. A part of our upbringing is baseball, football, backyard BBQs and church on Sundays. Our dogs like the back porch but they also like the foot of our beds... not fighting! —Heather

I think Whoopi's got a twisted view of the South. I grew up in Georgia and dogfighting was never a part of my culture. There's NO excuse - what Vick and his cronies did was completely wrong (not to mention illegal). —Ed Griffin

Claiming such a barbaric "sport" as part of a cultural heritage seems something of a cop-out to me. There really is no defense for this blatant, sadistic mentality. Perhaps it's derived from a certain ancient, primal need to "dominate" another living being... but whatever the reason, bottom line, it's violent exploitation and has no place in a supposedly "evolved" society. —Debbie Hogan

I was born in Ohio but raised in Georgia, and I have never in my entire life seen or even heard about dogfighting around here. Maybe I'm sheltered? But as far as I know, it's not part of anyone's "cultural upbringing" here. Whoopi's from New York City, how should she know?!? —Melissa

We also continue to hear from readers about the talking points discarded at the podium after Vick's public apology on August 27, which are now up for auction on eBay:

Of course The HSUS should auction off Michael Vick's talking points. While some believe the proceeds would be blood money, I believe the proceeds would prove the innocent victims of Vick's greed and cruelty did not die in vain. At the expense of these poor creatures’ lives, our country and the world have become more aware of the horrors of dogfighting and our government is finally taking notice. Auctioning off the talking points would be a fitting tribute to these poor pups. May they finally rest in peace. —Cyndi Faulkner

You have given Michael Vick the perfect opportunity to prove how sorry he is for his actions. He should go on eBay and bid whatever it takes to buy back his talking points list. It would be a step in the redemption direction. —Brenda Wedehase

What you've chosen to do with this piece of memorabilia is more than fitting. By way of support, we'll continue to watch the auction! —Kamichi Jackson

Good for you! Any time we can take an ugly, negative situation and make it work for the greater good, we should! I too noticed that he never mentioned any compassion towards the dogs, whose lives have been ended or destroyed at his hands. No apology to the dogs and no genuine apology to the kids who adored him once. He called it immature. Immature is blowing milk out of your nose or calling and hanging up. To tell children that dogfighting is immature just stands to encourage it more. I honestly don't think he feels remorse! It's sad.... —4PugClub

Once again you have turned a tragedy into something good! I hope the Vick note sells for a large sum so you can continue fighting the good fight for animals! —Kathleen Grogan

And several readers took issue with a comment posted last week from reader Richardo Pryor, who stated, "I think you all should let Michael Vick be; you got a guilty plea and he will be going to prison. What else do you all want from him?" Among the responses we received:

A response for Mr. Pryor's comment. We didn't want Michael Vick to go to prison. He put himself in that predicament. We simply expected him to act like a human being instead of something lower than the animals that he tortured and killed. What do we want? Simple: An end to senseless activities like dogfighting and somehow a society that does not breed the sick minds of people like Michael Vick that somehow equate torturing and killing as sport. Frankly, if Michael devoted his life and wealth to ending this activity that would be something that might allow us to forgive him… even keep him out of prison. I'm all for an alternative "punishment" that would not only cure Michael Vick's sick behavior but perhaps even redeem him for his heinous acts. We must, never will, "let him be." —Chuck Ashford

What do we want? Well, Mr. Pryor, we want Michael Vick to put his money where his mouth is. We want him to spend the rest of his life fighting AGAINST animal cruelty. We want him to visit schools, visit the neighborhoods where it takes place, and talk to children about his wrongdoings and how they can help. We want him to leave all his money to the Humane Society. We want him to build a shelter for abused animals - and this is just the start, Mr. Pryor. —Chancey

Mr. Richardo Pryor, I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you what else I want from Mr. Vick. I want him banned for life from the game. These are the NFL's own rules. He bankrolled the gambling too. Remember? And he only pleaded guilty because his friends rolled over. So please, don't expect me to think his plea is enough. It's not. Not nearly enough. —Sharon

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