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Mark Buehrle stands behind comments about Michael Vick

Feb 17, 2011, 5:15 PM EDT

Mark Buehrle

Last week Scott Merkin of MLB.com wrote an article about Mark Buehrle‘s passion for animal rights and Buehrle made some comments about Michael Vick, including stuff like “I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt” and “everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”

His comments predictably generated a lot of attention and MLB.com mysteriously removed the quotes from Merkin’s article after it was published, but today Buehrle had no problem standing behind what he said:

No, I said it. It’s an old story. Again, we are not bringing drama inside and past history stuff. So, I said it, meant it. It’s over, and we’ll move on.

In the wake of Buehrle’s initial comments our NBCSports.com blog-mate Rick Chandler noted that Buehrle hunts deer, ducks, and even bears. Here’s how Buehrle responded when asked about that:

Hunting is a sport. There are hunting stores out there. If that’s illegal, shame on my dad and my grandpa and his grandpa. It’s kind of been brought up throughout the history of America. The last time I knew dogfighting was a sport was never. Again, that’s all we need to comment on that. We’ll concentrate on baseball.

To be pro-hunting and anti-dogfighting is obviously a widely held stance, but I’m not sure simply relying on tradition as the main reason is much of an argument. Many people don’t think the distinction between killing animals and killing animals for “sport” is quite so clear and to say something is acceptable because it’s been happening for a long time isn’t necessarily convincing, since dogfighting and similarly frowned-upon activities involving animals being hurt or killed aren’t exactly new things.

Putting all that aside, I applaud Buehrle and his family for their work with animal rescue groups and I also applaud Buehrle for standing by what he said about Vick. Whether or not you agree with him, it’s obvious he meant what he said and too often public figures simply decide to disown or apologize for their comments when scrutinized even if their beliefs were represented accurately. If you said it and you believe it stand by it, and Buehrle is doing that.

  1. Alex K - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    I, personally, don’t see a difference in killing animals and killing animals for sport. They end up just as dead.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      “True that” said the dog, deer, duck and bear.

    • Charles Gates - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

      Hunting, in its very essence, is the transference of a live animal to a protein food source for consumption. Just as a lion kills a gazelle to eat, a human can kill a duck/deer/turkey etc. and eat the animal. This is completely ethical.

      A person that eats meat, whether it be a bologna sandwich, grilled chicken or a burger or steak that is also against hunting is living in a sanitized bubble and unwilling to confront where their food actually comes from. To eat meat, an animal must die. Such is life. As long as the kill is made cleanly, the hunt is fair chase and the as much meat as practically possible is converted to food, then the transfer of an animal’s life to food is not sport, it’s a primal need.

      The sport aspect of hunting is separate entirely. Wasting an animals life to hang antlers on a wall is reprehensible by my standards, but still above dog fighting where animals are systematically abused and tormented for sport, not food, i.e life sustaining measures.

      Dog fighting is not the same as hunting. Whereas what I will call ethical/true hunters understand that the hunting is about sustaining life, not the taking of it, dog fighting minimizes an animals life to a commodity and entertainment.

      • tomemos - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        Your defense is certainly better than Buehrle’s, which amounts to “because it just is.” However, I’m curious: what percentage of Buehrle’s kills do you think he eats?

        To me, the distinction simply comes down to how much cruelty is involved. By that standard, dog fighting certainly is worse. However, I think someone who goes out of his way to kill an animal (and not eat it) is in no position to be throwing stones.

      • Alex K - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

        I was just addressing the people who kill for sport. I know that in order for me to eat meat and animal must die. But I don’t distinguish between people who kill a deer/bear/whatever to mount it and animal fighters.

  2. AK47 - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    I’m with you Aaron, it’s nice to see a guy stand by his opinion despite the criticism, too many people wilt under public PC pressure. I’m not sure the White Sox organization is too happy about it, but what can they do?…Buehrle is retiring after the season anyway.

    • Andrew - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      Compared to Oney Guillen’s comments, this is weak.

      • AK47 - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:52 PM

        There’s a difference between standing behind your beliefs and shooting your mouth off.

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    There are two kinds of hunters. Subsistence hunters who kill animals in order to provide food for their family. A normal size deer can dress out 150 pounds of meat. That’s a lot of food.

    In the state of Missouri, there are over 1,000,000 deer. Not hunting just lets the numbers grow and they end up starving to death, particularly with a winter like last year.

    A sport hunter kills to put a trophy on the wall, and prove his gun is as big as a part of his anatomy.

    I grew up in a family of hunters and was taught to respect one, and not the other.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      By that logic, if we don’t kill these dogs, they’d breed out of control and starve and live awful lives. I saw this in Mexico.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        Do you eat dogs?

      • Tim's Neighbor - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        I would if I needed to or if it was easier than going to the grocery and buy my already packaged and pre-abused chicken and beef from the grocery store. It’s a lot more convenient and probably tastes better than dog.

        I agree that there’s a difference between hunting and dog-fighting, but your logic was limited and flawed. You can do better than the controlling the animal population argument.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        Dogs are domesticated, and for their breeding is pretty much controlled anywhere you go in the states.

        Outside of The Yearling, I don’t recall attempts to domesticate deer to control their numbers.

        Your dog analogy would be relevant if people were hunting parakeets, as they are both domesticated, and pets.

        A better animal to counter my argument with would have been the badger, since both badgers and deer are wild and breed without control. I’ve never tried badger in my chili, but now I’m tempted.

      • dluxxx - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

        Louis and Clark did on their expedition. They had a pack of dogs that followed them across america, and it was their own moving grocery store. Dogs are eaten in other countries, just not here. Pigs are intelligent animals (some would argue smarter than dogs) but because they aren’t the most clean of animals people don’t think of them as pets. Thus, it’s okay to eat pork, but not dog? Anyway, I’d say dog fighting is just as much a sport as cock fighting, poker, and NASCAR – with poker being the only one I approve of.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        Everyone needs to copy/paste Charles Gates from above. Much better than the population controlling thing.

        And there parts of the US with wild dog populations out of control from humans. But the feral cat population in some areas are even worse, and perhaps a better analogy. But no one is clamoring for cat hunting.

  4. saltmanz - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I also see some distinction between killing animals for sport, and forcing animals to kill each other for sport.

    • tomemos - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      Other than the cruelty involved in training–which is significant–I don’t think the distinction. To an animal, being forced to kill and being forced to run away are pretty much the same thing.

      • tomemos - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:58 PM

        Er, should have been “I don’t see the distinction.”

  5. Tim's Neighbor - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    What irritates me is all of the hate of Vick, but everyone loves Ray Lewis, Bobby Cox, Kobe Bryant,etc. It doesn’t make any sense. Dogs v People.

    Spare me the outrage.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM

      We have a winner!!!!! Dammit…now I want a steak. (But you mustn’t forgret Teflon Ben and Donte Stallworth, among others.)

    • Alex K - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:18 PM

      Don’t forget Leonard Little and Jim Leyritz!

  6. Old Gator - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    The idea of killing things doesn’t much appeal to me, but if I objected to it across the board I’d have to answer for every hamburger or turkey I’ve ever eaten.

    Notwithstanding my own antipathy to killing, I acknowledge that the primary difference between hunting and dogfighting from the point of view of cruelty is that a skilled hunter respects wildlife, and understands that when he hunts he has entered into a realm of activity that does have pretty strict moral and ethical dimensions. Hunting organizations like Ducks Unlimited do an enormous amount of very positive conservation work as well. A serious hunter tries to kill his quarry quickly and cleanly, inflicting as little residual pain as possible. The lowlives who go in for ugly “sports” like dog and cockfighting are either getting off on the brutality for its own sake, or only care about the bets being laid and are sociopathically numb to the horrible suffering they inflict. It’s true that hunters miss and merely cripple their targets, but responsible hunters make every effort to track down wounded quarry and finish it off as mercifully as possible. I doubt if that idea ever occurred to the likes of Michael Vick’s…eh…customers.

    • gmsingh - Feb 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      “Humane hunting” is an oxymoron. If this was true, hunters would be able to kill an animal instantly with one shot. They don’t. They fill it full of shot and wait for it to die an excruciating death. I don’t see how this is any more “sporting” than watching dogs or roosters maim each other to death. In either case the killing is considered entertainment. Hunters, ironically, are classically conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to think that hunting is “fun.”

      People are hypocrites. We like to think we hold ourselves to higher standards, and then come up with platitudes with regard to killing animals like “circle of life”. When we declare open season on guys in orange vests people with give up the “sport” of hunting real quick.

  7. progress2011 - Feb 17, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Remember John Rocker and his comments….these backwoods, broke back mountain, one generation from trailer park trash, media hoggs NEVER surprisee me !

    1. Dan Heatley KILLED a human being, his teammate while drinking and driving ( Dan Snyder ) and Heatley NEVER did any jail time. He did not get any hatred Vick got and NO JAIL Time !
    2. Roethlisburger actually raped ATLEAST two women ( that we know of ). He is not getting 1/4th the hatred Vick is getting and NO Jail Time !
    3. Bret Farve was/ is an alcoholic, beat his wife, sexually harass ATLEAST one woman we know of and he is getting little public humiliation, in comparison to what Vick got / is still getting and NO Jail Time !

    These bums actually committed crimes against ” Human Beings ” !

    There is still a double standard in this country. The only word to describe the double standard is ( I’m gonna say it ” )……..( Here it comes )………RACISM !!!!

    • ThatGuy - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Ignoring facts doesn’t help your argument, Heatley blew a .02 and admitted to having a beer at dinner. The cause of his accident was he was speeding(over 60+mph in a 35) and lost control. He pleaded guilty and got 3 years probation. Synder’s family told the judge they didn’t want their son’s best friend put in jail over the tragic accident. In a scenario like that, killing one of your best friends is enough punishment.

      • progress2011 - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        ” thatguy ” is a DUM-DUM…what the family wishes were should have been irrelevant in a murder case ! Going twice the speed limit and kill your passenger will get most minorities locked up for life !

        The state has the responsibility to prosecute regardless ! But since it happened in Georgia ( home of the re-birth of the KKK ) ….the state concluded he’s a ” good ole boy ” and chose not to prosecute !

        Meanwhile, Vick collaborated in what most southerners have been doing for centuries ( cock fighting, dog fighting, fighting each other etc )….got two years prison time, bankrupted and publicly had his character assassinated….over what is by definition a wild animal.

        I’m gonna say it again….here it comes….RACIST !!!

  8. tomemos - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    I don’t think you have to say that hunting is as bad as dogfighting to say that Buehrle, being someone who kills animals for sport, has no business publicly wishing harm on a fellow athlete who has already served a jail sentence and is (unlike Buehrle) no longer killing animals for sport.

    • cur68 - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:40 PM

      Ayup. Never heard Vick publically utter wishes of harm to another person on TV or anywhere, either. Vick’s been an utter idiot about many things but we can at least say that for him. Buehrle and his bow hunting of bear etc is actually a step down from VIck. You can’t tell me that animal died in any less pain or less time than any animal Vick killed.

  9. Jonny 5 - Feb 17, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    I have to side with hunters here. Sure they do things on a higher moral plane. But It’s funny to me another pain and death bringer to animals can’t get over it and wishes vic to get hurt. Just like how some people feel about hunters. The bear doesn’t see the difference here. He was a trophy, not for food.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Don’t let Papa Bear hear that you’re siding with the hunter. He might go preemptive on your a$$.

  10. Jonny 5 - Feb 17, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    I just posted that on my Droid. I guess I don’t need an app with my 4G. Huh.

  11. bureau24 - Feb 18, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Maybe one of those bears will manage to get around the arrows and teach Buehrle what a mauling is.

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