Professional athletes are notorious for their selfish and temperamental behavior. Nor do those who behave like prima donnas seem to understand or care how their acts play to the public. NFL quarterback Jay Cutler is the obvious example (this week anyway). When his new coach evinced an interest in beginning his tenure with a quarterback with whom he might feel more comfortable, Cutler cut off communication with his team.
Imagine if your new boss said, “I’m bringing in my own guy. But, don’t worry, I’ll find you another job at the same or greater pay.” Worst-case scenario — his own guy can’t free himself from his current contract and your new boss keeps you on. But Cutler’s inability to see how fortunate he was compared to much of the rest of the public is dwarfed by the conduct of the King of Tone-Deafness, Michael Vick.
His obliviousness to how dog fighting plays to the American public is a mystery. After all, the only crime we despise more than mistreating a dog is abusing a child. Between his prison sentence, which ends in July, and the severity of the censure he received in the press, Vick has no doubt gotten the message. Unfortunately, in the interim, he compounded the problem.
This week the U.S. Department of Labor accused Vick of making a series of transfers totaling about $1.3 million out of a pension plan that a celebrity marketing company which he owned maintained for nine employees. Further adding insult to injury, he used the funds to pay court-ordered restitution for the damage caused by the dog-fighting. Even though Vick had signed a ten-year contract worth $130,000, due to an extravagant lifestyle and poor investments, money was a problem for him even before he was arrested.
In other words, he was looting his company’s pension fund. Even without taking the current economic climate into consideration, this crime approaches brutalizing dogs in shamefulness.
Apparently Vick hopes to rehabilitate his image and pave the way for a return to the NFL by taking a job in construction. But working at an all-American job will do little to assuage the ill will he’s evoked with his assaults against those all-American institutions, our love for dogs and our hopes for a comfortable retirement.