Human life is precious. Sometimes we lose perspective of its value. Violent crimes happen so frequently that we rarely feel any sympathy for the victims or their familes. We simply can’t keep track. This has led us to project the feelings we would normally have for human beings onto animals. We love animals for their loyalty and seemingly innocent personalities. Our pets never leave, betray, tell lies, or steal from us.
Nothing would be wrong with loving our pets if we cared for humans as well. Such is the case comparison of Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Donte Stallworth and former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Vick was convicted in 2007 of running an illegal dogfighting ring where dogs were severly injured and often killed. He was given the maximum sentence of 23 months for his crime. Vick spent the first 21 months in federal prison and is finishing the final two months in home confinemnt.
Donte Stallworth plead guilty to DUI manslaughter earlier this week. On March 14th of this year, Stallworth struck and killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes while driving drunk. Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 10 years probation, and 1,000 hours of community service. Both men committed horrible crimes. Both must face the consequences of their actions. I can’t help but think of what Mr. Reyes’ young daughter must be feeling after the loss of her father. I can’t help but think of the pain other family members must be feeling.
Some of the dogs Michael Vick used in his dogfighting ring have been adopted. Many had to be euthanized. Vick has lost his fortune and is bankrupt. He will meet with NFL officials after his July 20 release to discuss possible reinstatement. Stallworth will be released a few days before Vick but will probably be suspended for a number of games by the NFL. Vick may play football again and Stallworth will resume his career around mid-season.
The above events have directly affected the lives of several men and their children. One man has lost his life. Several animals have been harmed and killed. There has been significant public outrage over Michael Vick and his actions. Has anyone said anything about Donte Stallworth? More importantly, has anyone said anything about Mario Reyes? There will undoubtedly be protests against the team that signs Vick. Will anyone protest at Browns games?
Our children must learn that nothing is more important than life. Life provides us the opportunity to make amends for wrongdoing. Life gives us a chance to apologize to someone we’ve offended. Life allows us to be better people today than we were yesterday. While you explain theses cases to your children, let them know how you feel about life. Tell them that respect for life should permeate every part of their existence. School, home, work, and even the field of play are included. For we cannot play together unless we first learn to live together. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!