Baseball’s my game, not football . . . ever, at all. Even so, I can’t avoid knowing that Michael Vick has helped the Philadelphia Eagles clinch the division in the NFC East with his amazing record of 21 touchdowns vs. only six interceptions, among other impressive stats. And so, apparently, does our soi-disant sportsfan president. Mr. Obama likes Da Bears, too, and why not, when you think about it? He’s a Chicagoan, of sorts, and they’re having a winning season, and everyone likes a winner, even Mr. Cool.
It’s good to know he’s keeping up with football, especially after he embarrassed himself (if such is possible) a while ago throwing a baseball like a chick and recounting how as a “South Sider”—as if that were somehow akin to being a denizen of South Central, or of Southie—“you’d get vertigo sitting in the nosebleed seats” at “Cominskey Field”, y’ow, being such a White Sox fan and all, as opposed to Wrigley, where “Y’ow, there’s white wine interspersed with the beer.” As if, to repeat myself, it were possible to envision this quintessence of privileged self-congratulation guzzling beer in the nosebleed seats and looking down his hemorrhaging proboscis, all offended populism, at a gathering of effete interspersers of white wine watching the Cubbies in their topsiders just up the road.
But the president has now surpassed any (abstract) personal embarrassment and embarrassed the office of the presidency by his fawning congratulation—or “phoned-in fist bump,” as the Daily News deliciously puts it—to the Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie for offering dog-slaughterer Michael Vick a “fresh start”:
“He said, ‘So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was . . . passionate about it,” Lurie told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “He said it’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.”
Yes, it might have ended in sobby Aristotelian tragedy for the quarterback ex-con—and the Eagles—had Philly not provided Mr. Vick a second chance by signing him to a multimillion-dollar contract almost immediately upon his emerging from prison after having served 18 months for the major downfall of breeding and training Pit Bulls for the fight ring at his Bad Newz Kennels and torturing and killing the ones that just didn’t pan out. Oh, and betting on the whole enterprise. It’s a form of sport, according to some (if a felonious one), though naturally the president does not approve:
Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said Obama “of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of, but, as he’s said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again.”
Now Mr. Vick has joined Mr. Obama on the level playing field of his rehabilitation, and he’s got a plan: “I would love to get another dog . . . I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now.”
Here’s an alternative plan for the Vick household: You want a pet? Get a cockroach.