Professionally I strive to win second chances for clients who have [for public consumption] had tragic misunderstandings with the government or [for private consumption] done evil things. Personally I'm more agnostic about the whole thing. The government probably ought not make convicts permanent lepers as a matter of law, inasmuch as it seems likely they will just re-offend because life in prison is no worse than life as a leper. But individuals are free to act as they like, and to refuse to believe in redemption or forgiveness or rehabilitation for others. (People are excellent, I find, at finding exceptions for themselves.)
Lots of people are pissed that the Eagles hired Michael Vick, convicted animal abuser. That's their right. Or so you would think. That viewpoint seems to irritate the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, which is planning a pro-Vick protest march before a game:
A massive demonstration is planned to support Michael Vick at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, when Vick is expected to make his debut with the Eagles.
The Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and other local civil rights groups had planned a demonstration to support Vick. . . . .
"We believe Michael Vick has served his time, paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance and the animal rights groups want to hold him hostage for the rest of his life," J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, said Wednesday. "We think that's patently unfair. It denies Michael Vick's basic civil rights, denies him his ability to make a living."
That's a bit odd. If the government said that Vick could never work in the NFL again, that might be a violation of his civil rights. If the Eagles refused to hire Michael Vick but agreed to hire a notorious animal abuser who is white — say, Lyndon Johnson, or Richard Gere — that might be a statutory civil rights violation. But in any coherent legal worldview, people in plastic sandals holding ill-lettered signs protesting the Eagles for hiring Michael Vick do not violate Michael Vick's civil rights. They don't even violate his civil rights if they succeed in convincing the Eagles not to hire Vick. The Eagles are free not to hire someone who is so reviled that he will lose them money. The protesters are free to convince the Eagles that is the case.
Moreover, it appears that the NAACP is protesting an animal rights protest that isn't happening — or at least, not on any organized basis:
The Eagles have not heard of any planned demonstration or protest from animal rights groups, which met with team management for two hours on Monday at the team's practice facility. Although no local animal rights group have yet to partner with the Eagles or Vick in a local anti-dogfighting campaign, the meeting appeared to end on a positive note and head off any planned massive protest, participants said.
Meanwhile, animal advocates are throwing a tailgate party on the other side of town Thursday for the 2nd Chance Dogs campaign — a pointed reference to Vick's second chance in the NFL — to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls.
. . . .
Local animal advocates seem to be keeping their distance. Rather than protest Vick or work with him, they prefer to use the public debate about his return to the NFL to raise money and awareness of animal cruelty issues.
Unstated, but looming, is the suggestion that people who oppose Michael Vick only do so because he's black. That's rather odd. Have animal rights groups failed to protest similarly situated white animal abusers? The only racially suggestive language I've heard about Vick came from Whoopi Goldberg.
Hat tip: Dave (ND)
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