Catherine Forsythe

Catherine Forsythe
know a bit about computer security, dogs, horses, skiing, medicine and making risotto. My nickname in real life/online is "Noggie" - I'm on Twitter, with the @dogreader account.

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 17, 2011 10:30AM

Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick Wisely Dodges Oprah Winfrey

Rate: 17 Flag

Michael Vick was the NFL comeback player of the year. He is known for his immense athletic skills. After a period of prison incarceration for his involvement in a dog fighting operation, the Philadelphia quarterback still has the speed to be elusive and be an offensive threat. The Eagles have placed the franchise tag on Vick. 

This is the off-season. However, Michael Vick may have made scrambled and avoided a huge embarrassment. He cancelled a scheduled appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show. 

The Vick appearance has stirred the interest of many in the dog community. There are people who associate Michael Vick primarily with the cruelty inflicted upon dogs. An example of the anticipation of Michael Vick's scheduled appearance is the open letter to Oprah from Leslie Smith, the Editor at DogTime:

"...  When he says he lost everything in prison, ask him if he thinks those 19 months behind bars were worse than the years of intense and prolonged torture his Pit Bulls endured. Ask him if having a warm bed to sleep in, adequate medical care, and the knowledge of an expiration date on his sentence are comparable to life attached to a chain, receiving no medical attention after having your legs broken and jaw dislocated, and ultimately being electrocuted."

There is a universal demographic that cuts across political affiliations, age, gender, economic status and so forth. The people who love dogs are simply passionate and unabashedly protective of canines. Dog food manufacturers, for example, were staggered by the vehemence of dog owners when it was found that dog food was contaminated by poisonous melamine. Some manufacturers struggled to remain viable. Dog owners were incensed. 

Oprah is well known for her passion for dogs. She has appeared on the cover of her magazine with dogs. Her audience knew when one of her dogs was ill. Ms Winfrey's international following had a collective feel-good moment when she acquired two lovable springer spaniel puppies for a recent birthday. Ms Winfrey introduced the two pups, Sunny and Lauren, on her show. The puppies were a rescue from a Chicago shelter. 

There is no doubt that Ms Winfrey is a 'dog person'.

Michael Vick may have been prudent to cancel. Imagine if Ms Winfrey had focused on the dog fighting operation. Her emotions would have surfaced. Her audience would have understood her passion. Michael Vick would have been "sacked" by an experienced, beloved interviewer, one who is well known for her love of dogs. 

In comparison to any possible gains that an appearance on the show may have garnered for Michael Vick, the dangers were so much greater. Michael Vick does not want to be known for upsetting Oprah. It was wise of Michael Vick to fear Ms Winfrey. She is one of those passionate 'dog people', with an international audience of millions of devoted fans. Michael Vick, or one of his management team, recognized the enormous risks.

Catherine Forsythe 
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Knowing her, he did the right thing.
rated with hugs
isn't it time we quit putting athletes on pedestals?
I'm not a regular Oprah watcher but I would have liked to have seen that interview. Cute cover shot, Catherine. Vick would have been toast!
So far, he's convinced me he's repentant. r.
He kept his ears pinned back, stopped barking so much and learned how to get along with the the others. Now he's best in show. Too bad those lessons weren't imparted at the prominent American engineering school he attended.
As much as Oprah would have been all over him, I think it would have shown some courage and confidence on his part to talk about his past conduct and apparent redemption in such a forum.
In my everyday life as an everday person, I avoid those who have an afenda to CHOOSE TO HATE ME FOREVER FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES.
I don't often use that many caps however, this is exactly what I see in this situation.
There are those types of people who choose to keep the rage and hate alice merely in order to feel superior.
I have made my mistakes in my life, yes, MY mistakes.
I own them and, like Michael Vick, I know people who have chosen to stay angry and hateful toward me for their own miserable reasons.
I do not bother to be around them to give them the chance to act out.
This was a wise diecision on Vick's part as, her highness, queen of the world, or so she seems to need to be, would have that same hateful and resentful agenda as the people I know/knew.

Good for him.
You who NEED to hate, go on feeling your miserable feeling of false superiority.
I've had enough of it in my life and have found that it is so much more comfortable to accept things which are and/or are not in the reality of my life.
"afenda" S/B agenda
"alice" S/B alive
"diecision" S/B decision
Congrats on the EP. I have no sympathy for MV, but if I was in his position I don't think I'd do her show.
Best Wishes,
Facing Oprah might have been like facing a pit bull. I wonder if the soul of a coward lurks beneath the repentant exterior.
Noggie, Michael Vick has paid a great price. He's paid his debt to society, and he will continue to pay his debt to his creditors for as long as he can throw a football.

Put Vick's decision to cancel in the context that anything that occurred could have an negative reflection on the NFL, and Vick is operating under very narrow guidelines from them. If the NFL keeps him from playing, his ability to pay off his debts goes out the window.

I think he is genuinely remorseful. I think Oprah audience would be better served to go after the operator of Puppy Mills, and the big box chains who patronize them. They are more egregious than Michael Vick, who no longer perpetrates crime against animals. Just my opinion.
"I wonder if the soul of a coward lurks beneath the repentant exterior."
I wonder if the soul of a forever resentful hater lurks beneath tho post.

As OEs said, he has paid his debt to society.
He has done legitimate things to further repay that by his actions.

It is those who would rather see a puppy or dog harmed merely so they might prove their miserable point.
Hmm, that say a lot about THOSE sorts of people.
Is this a “wise” decision, or merely cowardice? The idea that Oprah might have accosted him is only speculative, not a certainty. And if she did, if Vick were not a coward, he would be able to accept that and courageously admit his character flaw. In so doing, would he not turn this into a further opportunity to express the one thing he has never, at least to my knowledge, expressed; remorse for the suffering of the dogs.

I’ve heard him apologize to his family, his fans, his teammates, I’ve heard him express regret for how it has affected his personal life, but I have never heard, nor read, that he has expressed remorse for the suffering he caused the dogs. That’s the underlying issue in this matter, not his personal discomforts and self-pity. I marvel at people who think Vick is “genuinely remorseful”. About what is he remorseful?

If Vick were, in fact, genuinely remorseful, then he should take every opportunity to express that, not cowardly avoid the confrontation. His avoidance in this matter, and in not addressing the actual suffering of the dogs, reveal his artificiality and cowardice. Would people be so willing to forget about what he did had he done it to human beings? Children? Where do we draw the line with people who glibly and callously inflict the kind of suffering Vick inflicted on dogs without a thought, without remorse?

Before you so quickly judge those of us who have seen no evidence that Vick has changed (something he can’t really do, anyway), try to put yourself in his place when he was physically abuses his dogs with his bare hands. Do you think you could electrocute a dog, break its jaw, its legs, refuse to provide vet care, and not puke? Have you asked yourself what kind of a human being it is that can do those things and never regret it for a second? Vick did not just make a mistake; he engaged in an ongoing lifestyle of torturing dogs, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, enjoying it. If you wish to defend that, that’s your prerogative, but it makes me wonder about you.
Several commenters have convinced me, Michael Vick is the Vick-tom here. I wish him the best of luck.

If I was in Vick's shoes, I would do anything possible to change the subject, to direct attentionaway from my two major shortcomings as an NFL QB:

(1) "My convinction for repeated and premeditated abuse and cruelty clearly illustrates the quality of my moral character. Not to worry, I am very good at apologizing. I'm a baaaaaaaaad boy!!!!"

(2) "My inability to perform in my only playoff game was beyond embarrassing. Am I the LeBron James of the NFL?"
@ Rick Lucke -- From the Humane Society of the US web site on Vick:

"Did Vick approach you or did you ask him to help you?
When Vick was close to finishing his prison sentence, his representatives approached HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. He dismissed their first offers, but agreed to meet with Vick after considering the potential that Vick had to reach the estimated 100,000 participants in urban street dogfighting. If there was a chance that Vick could save one dog from suffering the same abuse he inflicted, the proposal was worth our consideration.

After meeting with Vick and hearing him express his remorse, Pacelle consulted with The HSUS' board of directors and staff. Despite our utter disgust with what Vick did and our leading role in making sure he was convicted and punished for his crimes, we decided that shunning Vick forever would do no good for any animal. Vick paid $1 million for the care and rehabilitation of the dogs at Bad Newz Kennels. Now, we want him to contribute his time to attack the problem by reaching inner-city youth.

Has Vick acknowledged that what he did to dogs was wrong?
Yes. Over the course of several face-to-face meetings and during appearances at our End Dogfighting programs, Vick has apologized and acknowledged the suffering he caused. He has expressed his remorse and his desire to help more animals than he harmed by being an advocate for the humane treatment of animals. We only agreed to give him an opportunity to speak with kids if he was committed to the goal of ending dogfighting and recognized that his past actions were cruel and unacceptable."

Here's the link:

Maybe you need a face to face meeting with Vick to satisfy you?

Actually, just hearing him actually address the suffering of the dogs would help, at least to some extent. Have you ever heard him do this? Press statements like this are quite meaningless when Vick has never used an opportunity to do this himself.

Like you, I'm glad for any help animal advocates can acquire, but I don't think Vick is genuinely remorseful, any more than any sociopath can be. Do you honestly believe that getting caught changed who he is in his very nature? He's politicking for his own gain ONLY because he got caught.

At this point, a face-to-face might help, but I'll admit that it's unlikely I would ever believe him.
@Rick Lucke,
The closest Vick came to what you are asking for was on 60 Minutes.
He did use the words "disgust", "hurt", and "guilt" to describe how he felt for what he allowed to happen to the dogs.
My own worthless opinion is that he understands what he did was wrong and that he deserved to be punished, he just does not feel an emotional connection to dogs.

Yeah, you get it. Knowing that something is unacceptable in a society is one thing, feeling remorse is quite another. Even in what you have presented saying he comes “close” to expressing remorse about the dogs, he distances himself from any genuine remorse by saying “…what he allowed to happen to the dogs”, not what he did to them. The guy is playing the system, nothing more. He got caught, and he’s playing the part he knows he must in order to continue with his life, nothing more.
I think it's fair to say that Vick will be forever dogged by his past.
Doggone it, you made me laugh.
I'm surprised his handlers allowed him to book the show in the first place. It was like walking blindfolded into a minefield.

R Lucke,
Keep that hate, resentment and anger alive in well in your black heart.
The rest of us know how to get past it and forgive to give someone another chance.
And, if that person proves that he/she has not behaved again in a reprehensible way, then we adults are OK with him/her.
Unfortunately, there are thise small, mean spirited little people who are neurotically unable to move forward.
Enjoy your hate.
Oh, did I say he was a black man?
Uh huh.
XJS, your black-n-white thinking says much about you. Your ad hominem argument does, as well.

I don’t mind that he’s getting a second chance and I can’t see where I said I did.

I’m always fascinated by how quickly narrow minds resort to asserting their own adulthood and that someone else is immature while simultaneously behaving immaturely.

Forgiveness doesn’t require being fooled.
Maybe Oprah could do a segment with the families who adopted the dogs who survived. The real story of redemption and rehabilitation here is that of the dogs brutalized and abused, and yet who found a way to love and trust again. I am none too concerned how bad Vick's life was during his imprisonment or since.
Is it so hard for sports enthusiasts to "let go" of someone who is incredibly talented on the field, but morally reprehensible on the street? Are we so bereft of real heroes that we are willing to unconditionally forgive Vick just because he throws a ball well?
More of my worthless opinions:
Vick does not have to be forgiven, unconditionally or not.
However, he has paid for his crime as our society required, and he has a right to earn a living.
Athletes are not heroes, they are entertainers.
Thıs ıs such a fasınatıng sıtuatıon. Thanks for the update.
Well, that could have been one for the great O
Well...if someone hadn't bashed in the poor pig's head, ripped off its skin, stitched it back together and pumped it full of air, what is it the defenders of Vick's "entertainment" value would picture their animal lover doing for a living instead?