He is an enigma. A command pitcher with only mediocre command. A hurler who flashes spectacular glovework at a position where fielding isn’t a priority. A self-described animal rights activist who has no problem shooting a bear in the face.
Recently, Mark Buehrle offered up some ill-considered remarks regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. In his own words, “there were times where we hope he gets hurt. Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
Those comments, made to MLB.com, are at the same time laughable and deplorable. Buehrle’s own interests make them incredibly hypocritical, and his desire to see a fellow athlete injured is about as low as it gets. There’s an unwritten rule in sports that no one should want to see another guy get hurt. Those who do often earn an undesirable reputation. For Buehrle to so nonchalantly wish ill on Vick is not only appalling, but surprising as well.
Vick’s crimes are well-known, and his 2010 season followed years of incarceration, including time served at Fort Leavenworth federal prison. Anyone who loves dogs or is a dog owner, myself included, was no doubt disgusted by Vick’s offenses. It’s completely understandable that many people don’t want to see him succeed.
But Buehrle’s statements cross the line into, well, stupidity. Perhaps what the lefty said wasn’t as bad as one anonymous commenter, who wrote in to CNN saying that Vick should have been executed. But his words were plenty ridiculous without rising to such an inane level.
The problem here is that Buehrle decries actions that he himself has engaged in. Oh, I’m sure he’d be the first to draw a distinction between dogfighting and hunting, but it wouldn’t be much more than semantics. The two may be separated by a gap in social desirability; certainly hunting is more widely accepted. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re all that different. For a sizable chunk of the population, hunting is just as repulsive as dogfighting is to Buehrle.
Such differences in opinion are why the age-old “judge not” rule is still applicable.
Mike Vick was part of a group that forced dogs to fight, then killed them when they were no longer useful. Buehrle is part of a group of men and women who lurk in the woods and shoots unsuspecting animals from safe distances. Heck, sometimes they don’t even bother with the walk, and choose instead to simply sit in a tree until the unsuspecting victim saunters by.
Either way, the animal ends up dead for little purpose other than entertainment. And while hunters might generally kill in a more humane way, I doubt that the method matters much to the animal. The end result is the same.
According to ESPNChicago.com, “Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, who have three dogs, are active in promoting canine rights and have partnered with the White Sox on a program called “Sox for Strays,” which hosts area animal rescue groups during the season at U.S. Cellular Field.”
Herein lies the motivation. Buehrle loves dogs, and so hates Vick. Again, understandable. But being active in promoting canine rights while also being an avid outdoorsman willing to gun down various other species is pretty absurd.
To be clear, this isn’t a condemnation of hunting. I’ll let each person determine for him or herself what is acceptable. But picking and choosing what kinds of animal-killing are ok is a tricky path to walk.
All that aside, I keep going back to the mere fact that a professional athlete sat around hoping a colleague, however distasteful he may be, would get hurt. Every fan has certain players that are disliked. Even despised. But openly hoping the guy goes down? That’s too much.
Instead of worrying about Vick, maybe he should have been trying to improve his league average numbers.
From whichever angle you view Buehrle’s reaction, be it the inexplicable hunter/ animal pacifist or the spiteful “professional”, his behavior is pitiful. It’s yet another example of our fabulous “do as I say, not as I do” society.
Apparently, animals are worth saving. As long as they make cute pets.