" At night, he couldn't stand the guilt or the shame. So he gave it a name."
"Gave It A Name", Tracks Disc 4
It's not one of Bruce's more well known songs, however these lyrics kept going through my head this past weekend. The lyrics speak of terrible deeds (murder and spousal abuse) that are "given a name". That way you don't have to admit that you ended the life of another person, or beating up on someone weaker than yourself, you just have to file it under the given name.
This past weekend, the New York Jets made headlines by signing Michael Vick as their quarterback. Vick is one of the most controversial figures in the NFL for his numerous run ins with the law, most notably in 2007 for his participation in dog-fighting, resulting in a 23 month prison sentence.
But what is dog fighting? From just the sound of it, it sounds negative. But it's so much more. We have given the name of "dog fighting" to one of the most despicable, and disgusting displays of lack of respect for life. I am not an animal rights activist. I love meat, fur, hunting, and fully believe that human rights should always trump animal rights. However, to ritualistically torture, abuse, and murder animals, plus profit from these deplorable deeds, is beyond reprehensible.
To those of you who say, "Vick paid his debt to society," I disagree. You are wrong. These dogs were abused and starved to be violent, the dogs were electrocuted, hung, and beaten to death if they didn't die during the "fight". And people bet on it, and profited from this. This shows such a disgusting disregard for life and consequences that can't be unlearned.
To those of you who say "It's a part of the culture. That doesn't excuse it, but we need to be understanding of circumstance." Too bad. That's a disgusting culture and no leniency should ever be shown because of ignorance, or willful disregard of society's standards.
This isn't Vick's first team that he played for since being released from prison. For the past 3 years, Vick has played for the Philadelphia Eagles (the arch-rival of my favorite team, The New York Giants). At first I thought maybe my disgust for Vick being re-instated to the NFL had something to do with him playing for a team I hate. But the thought of Vick playing football in my home town, for him to be a public figure in my city, has really bothered me.
In this era of the NFL suspending (and most likely ending the career) of Richie Incognito, penalizing language, and pressuring the Washington Redskins to change their name Michael Vick's dog-fighting scandal has been all but swept under the rug. Simply given the name of "dog-fighting", it has been seemingly forgotten by the NFL. Fortunately for me, I'm not the only Bruce fan who feels this way. So does Nils Lofgren.