By Sandra Kobrin
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Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
(WOMENSENEWS)--National Football League superstar Michael Vick is in trouble, serious trouble. Federal prosecutors charged the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback with animal abuse for his role as the alleged leader of a dog-fighting ring and, after denying it for months, Vick pleaded guilty on Monday. He faces stiff sentencing.
He's in big trouble with the NFL too, which has said he might never play professionally again. According to Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL's Player Association, "the practice of dog-fighting is offensive and completely unacceptable."
I just wish the NFL had the same outrage toward spousal abuse and other forms of domestic violence. But they don't. Not by a long shot.
Scores of NFL players as well as players from the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have been convicted of domestic abuse, yet they play on with no fear of losing their careers. Most pay small fines, if that, and are back on the field immediately.
The message is clear. Beat a woman? Play on. Beat a dog? You're gone.
What could possibly account for this bizarre situation?
Part of it is that it's the dog days of August--the notoriously silly season for news--so the Vick story has attracted tremendous press attention. But it's been all over TV as well during the past four months, since Vick's indictment in April.
Animal Lobby Attacks
The anti-animal abuse lobby, meanwhile, is going after Vick with all four paws.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which received almost $30 million in contributions last year, according to its Web site, and other animal rights organizations are demanding a boycott of companies that continue to sponsor Vick and are bombarding the NFL with letters demanding a no-tolerance policy when it comes to cruelty to animals by football players.
On blogs, the outrage continues on sackvick.net and other sites, with comments like "lets give #7, 7 to life," or "lets make Michael Vick into dog food."
A cottage industry of anti-Vick merchandise is out there. You can buy a chew toy for your dog in with a likeness of Vick, a "hang Vick" hat or even an eye-for-eye justice T-shirt that says "Stick Vick in the Pit."
Vick has already lost most of his sponsorship deals worth millions of dollars and he deserves to lose a whole lot more.