Sometimes the way we react to the actions of sports stars, on or off the field, says a lot about us. What I’ve learned recently from recent actions off the field, although I think I’ve known it for awhile, is that people are simply batshit crazy about their dogs.
Dogs are no longer just “Man’s Best Friend” – they are becoming the focal point of everything we do, every waking hour of every single day. We take them to work with us. We take them grocery shopping with us. We hold them in our lap while driving at 78 mph down an icy Dallas Divide. We talk to them as if they understand English. I know one dog who’s got a seat at the dinner table. Everywhere I go these days, it’s all about the dog.
I am not much of a dog person – never have been, and probably never will be. And if I’m going to be honest here, it’s not the dogs that I dislike so much, but rather, dog owners. Dogs seem to change the way their humans think and operate in their surroundings. Dogs can make their owners irrational about a variety of things, and I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m just a heartless ass incapable of K-9 affection, but that’s how it is.
What has led me to confess my feelings on dogs and the world surrounding them are two well-known sports figures who have been in the headlines lately.
On Monday, Eagles quarterback and convicted felon Michael Vick announced he must cancel several book-signings next week, due to a barrage of death threats he’s received. It seems that animal lovers have not forgotten Vick’s troubled past.
After being busted for his involvement in a disgusting dogfighting operation, Vick served 21 months in Fort Leavenworth Prison. SInce his 2009 release, it seems that most football fans have forgotten about his past, and now dislike him for being a subpar quarterback, which is as it should be.
Except for the dog lovers. According to NBCsports.com, Vick’s book, Finally Free, will be in bookstores in Atlanta and Philadelphia any day, but his appearances have been canceled, due to death threats against him.
Facebook postings about the book have been smeared with nasty messages. “I would go there and slit your throat knowing how you treat animals,” reads one. “I would snap your neck if I met you,” reads another.
Vick did his time, learned his lesson (in a big way) and moved on. While I believe Vick’s actions were sick, I also believe there are bigger problems in the world today.
For example, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, nicknamed “the Worm,” who shocked the world by taking a sort-of basketball peace trip to North Korea to chum it up with his “friend” Kim Jong Un.
Rodman, once the colorful rebounding machine for the Chicago Bulls, traveled to Pyongyang with three Harlem Globetrotters and a documentary film crew for a basketball exhibition and some face-to-face with the young leader. The two seemed to have a good time. Photos came out of the trip showing them enjoying some exhibition basketball together, laughing and hugging.
All of this supposed goodwill comes at a time of escalating tension between the U.S. and North Korea following Kim’s latest nuclear test. Kim has also promised to wipe a South Korean island off the map, threatened a nuclear strike against the Unites States – “the sworn enemy of the Korean people” – and continues to be an intolerable leader who starves his own people. Let’s be sure to mention the Kim’s gulags, where political prisoners spend years being tortured and working to death.
Despite what the rest of the world knows about Kim, China included, Rodman is cool with Kim. He’s so cool with him, he said Tuesday that he plans to go back.
“I don’t condone what he does, but he’s my friend,” Rodman told a reporter for the Associated Press. Asked if he planned to return to North Korea, Rodman replied: “Yes, I will. In August. I’m vacationing with him.”
I understand there are no laws that can regulate who Dennis Rodman’s friends can and can’t be. I understand he can do what he wants. At the same time, it pisses me off and I am surprised that his comments on Kim haven’t pissed more people off.
Here we are, several years after Vick was released from jail, and a lot of people still feel strongly enough to threaten his life for what he did to some dogs. Does anyone know how many dogs are euthanized each and every year because they don’t have homes?
I find it troubling to see Rodman call Kim a “friend” when he has stated his intentions of using nuclear weapons to kill people. Kim is a guy who’s created YouTube videos depicting a mass destruction of New York City.
Kim Jong Un, whether you believe his threats or not, is a powerful leader. Who knows how crazy this guy really is or isn’t. Leaders from around the world are doing everything in their diplomatic power to keep Kim from killing a lot of people. And here’s Rodman, in what seems like a simple publicity stunt, telling everyone he’s looking forward to vacationing with Kim.
Rodman may be joking, but it’s not funny – not with Kim’s twisted actions. Or maybe he really is Kim’s friend – and that’s even worse .
I find it interesting that the collective reaction to Rodman’s comments, other than a few editorials in the national press, has been relatively subdued. Nobody seems to really care that Rodman is saying, in the press, that this lethally crazy dictator is really an OK guy.
Meanwhile, Vick is having to cancel book signings because of something he served his time for, in federal prison, several years ago.
The sad sagas of these two once-great athletes highlight the fact that America’s priorities have gone to the dogs.