08/21/07 — Celebrity justice: Michael Vick is a criminal, but will he get just punishment?

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Celebrity justice: Michael Vick is a criminal, but will he get just punishment?

As vile as what he did to the animals in his care is and as many times as he has denied his involvement in the dog-fighting business, the news that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will plead guilty has brought up an interesting question.

How will justice be served?

Americans are tired of out-of-control celebrities who seem to think they can do whatever they want and then flash a smile and get let out of jail — if they even get there at all.

So, some worry that the resulting backlash in the Vick case will be extreme — and disproportionate to what would have happened to just about anyone else who was charged with the crime.

And the argument that Vick bears a greater responsibility because he is a public figure only goes so far. In this case, it simply increases the reach of his ability to do good deeds to atone for his crime.

And that is the key.

What needs to happen now is that Vick be forced to use his fame and fortune to help assist others in protecting animals from this vicious activity — and to fund a few efforts to help abandoned and unwanted pets.

A few shelters across the country as well as some money for humane education programs might be a start.

Vick’s wealth will allow him to do something positive for his community to atone for his transgression. He might be able to make a difference.

Whether he deserves to lose his career and multi-millions of dollars is something his bosses and the public will have to decide.

Published in Editorials on August 21, 2007 12:39 PM