It’s clear by now that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick won’t be receiving any man-of-the-year awards from the Humane Society of the United States, unless they give one out for “top fundraiser” in recognition of all the donations his story will inspire. Vick shouldn’t be anybody’s man of the year because there is nothing to be said in defense of anyone who pits fighting dogs for fun and profit.

Knicks’ point guard Stephon Marbury nonetheless felt compelled to speak up in behalf of Vick yesterday, describing him as a “good human being…[who] fell into a bad situation.”

Then he said, “We don’t say anything about people who shoot deers (sic) and shoot other animals. You know what I mean? From what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. You know, it’s just behind closed doors.”

Well no, I guess I don’t know. Here are four reasons why hunting and dogfighting are nothing alike.

  1. Hunting is not about killing. As the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset put it, famously, one does not hunt to kill; one kills in order to have hunted. In dogfighting, blood is the only point.
  2. A hunter has the utmost respect for the game he chases, and when he kills, he does it as quickly and humanely as possible. The dogfighter exhibits the ugliest sort of contempt for his animals, and tortures them.
  3. A hunter uses the game he takes for food. I don’t think we need to say anything about dogfighting in this regard.
  4. Dogfighting is all about the money, in prizes and bets, made from the bouts. No one hunts with an eye to the bottomline. To the contrary, hunters are constantly giving time and money to protect the environment in which they pursue game.

It requires the most tortuous sort of moral relativism to compare hunting with dogfighting, or hunting to a “sport” at all. Hunting isn’t a contrivance based on scorecards, or wins. Hunting is a way humans have conducted themselves since before they first became human. Stephon Marbury’s ignorant comparison between hunting and whatever it was the Falcons’ QB was engaged in is very much a dog that will not hunt.