I couldn’t care less about Michael Vick. And I would never ever advocate the harming of animals. But what does get my blood boiling is when we condemn a man (or a woman for that matter) before a trial of his peers has deemed him guilty. In this country, we’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.
In case you live on Venus and haven’t been paying attention to the news, Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on dog fighting charges. However, an indictment is not a conviction. An indictment only means that formal charges have been brought against Vick. The actual trial could be years away.
Yet, the NFL has told Vick that he can’t attend the Falcons’ training camp until they finish reviewing the charges brought against him. While they haven’t yet formally disciplined Vick yet, not allowing a professional athlete to practice with his team is punishment if you ask me.
And what does the NFL plan to review? They’re not a jury of his peers who are empowered with formally judging him in a court of law. Until a court finds otherwise, I think it’s unfair to condemn a person who hasn’t yet been found guilty in the ways our laws prescribe.
Like I said before, I couldn’t care less about Vick. And the idea of putting innocent dogs up against each other to fight to the death makes me physically ill. Anyone who is convicted of just such a crime should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Unfortunately, this sort of backward thinking – considering a person guilty until proven innocent – seems to be more and more pervasive in our country. It’s an illness. It’s the anti-DIFF. It’s representative of an oppressive form of government, not a democracy rooted in moral and civil fairness. I hope that I’m not the only one who values presumption of innocence. It’s a concept that follows from not one, but several amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
Just imagine: if you were indicted on criminal charges, would you want your neighbors, co-workers, local leaders, etc., assuming that you were guilty before you were even able to have your day in court and present your side of the story?