Whoopie Goldberg defends Michael Vick


In her first show on “The View” on Tuesday, Whoopi Goldberg defended dog fighter/football player Michael Vick, saying that he came from the Deep South, and dog fighting was part of the culture there.

“‘He’s from the South, from the Deep South … This is part of his cultural upbringing,’ Goldberg said of the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, whose recent fall from grace has been one of the most stunning in the history of U.S. sports.

“‘For a lot of people, dogs are sport,’ Goldberg said on the show. ‘Instead of just saying (Vick) is a beast and he’s a monster, this is a kid who comes from a culture where this is not questioned.’

“Veteran ‘View’ co-host Joy Behar took immediate issue with Goldberg.

“‘What part of the country is this? … How about dog torturing and dog murdering?’ she asked.”

[From Reuters]

Whoopi, I love you, but that’s waaaaaaaaaaay off base. First off, there’s reason to believe that dog fighting is considered barbaric by most of the country.

“Goldberg’s comments were denounced by Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, who disputed that dogfighting was a cultural fixture of the South or any other region.

“‘To suggest that there is some ethnic group or racial group or regional group that finds this acceptable is just not accurate,’ he told Reuters, adding that public opinion polls show opposition to dogfighting ‘is a universal value in America.’ He noted that dogfighting is outlawed in all 50 states, and a felony in all but two — Idaho and Wyoming.”

[From Reuters]

Secondly, just because something terrible is considered okay in one region doesn’t mean it is acceptable behavior. There were a lot of things that used to be considered okay in the Deep South that weren’t as common in the rest of the country. If we sat back and said, “Well it’s okay there so don’t be mad” the south would be a very different place today. And it couldn’t have been considered that okay, because Vick has pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges, and admitted that was involved in an interstate illegal dogfighting ring called Bad Newz Kennels. Vick also admitted that he helped kill dogs that underperformed.

Whoopi seems reasonably intelligent, so part of me is wondering if she really believes this, or is just trying to stir up some publicity for her new gig. If so, it’s clearly working – tons of papers and blog have picked up the story. There certainly aren’t a lot of people out there willing to defend Michael Vick right now, so that gets her some attention. It seems like she’s trying to make it clear that she’s going to continue Rosie O’Donnell’s role as instigator of controversy – though to what extent remains unclear.

Picture note by JayBird: Here’s Whoopi at the 6th Annual Tribeca Film Festival – Vanity Fair Party on 4/24/2007. Images thanks to PR Photos.


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