Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vick Story Has A Weird Wrinkle That Hits Close To Home

When it comes to the ongoing Michael Vick story, recently turbo-charged in the media world (most notable, Sunday's interview on "60 Minutes") and blogosphere by the double-barrel news that he was released from prison and signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, I think it's safe to say there's been no shortage of opinions--many quite emotionally charged--being expressed...well, damn near everywhere.

For the record, my own view is closely aligned with that of Humane Society Of The US honcho Wayne Pacelle, who obviously feels that this particular leopard not only can change his spots, and did, but having done so is in a uniquely potent position to influence and guide young Vick types away from the dogfighting subculture--and Alec Baldwin, whose Vick-deserves-a-second chance piece on Huffington Post was, I thought, spot-on.

But as has been made abundantly clear since the first bit of Vick news broke--and was underscored on last night's edition of "Larry King Live," which did a nice job of capturing some of the chief facets of the current Vick brouhaha, featuring a key exec from PETA, a key exec from HSUS, a Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter and James Brown, who conducted the "60 Minutes" interview--animal welfare groups, including the most notable ones, are sharply divided on the matter.

We've already outlined the Pacelle/HSUS position, whereas the PETA stance is squarely opposed to Vick--and vehemently opposed to Vicks' new Eagles contract. Part of PETA's campaign to make this displeasure known, loud and clear, is to urge PETA supporters to boycott Eagles sponsors, and otherwise communicate just how unhappy they are with the Eagles, and anyone affiliated with the Eagles.

Here's where the plot thickens (or sickens): One of those sponsors is an organization called The Strauss Foundation. Now, I don't know what this Strauss Foundation does, but I will tell you I'm part of something called The Strauss Foundation--full name: The Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation--which, as the longer name suggests, provides public service scholarships.

Our Strauss Foundation is based in Newport Beach, CA, was founded more than a dozen years ago by Mom, the late Dorothy Strauss (to pay tribute to my Dad after he died, the titular Donald, and cultivate interest in public service) and provides those scholarships to juniors at more than 15 California colleges and universities, including Stanford and all the UCs.

My Mom's vision for the foundation has proved to be pretty remarkable. We're now mentioned by administrators at prominent schools in the same breath as big, venerable, national scholarships like the Rhodes. Our alumni include a slew of impressive young adults (among them, multiple Rhodes Scholars)--one is a member of the Obama Administration, working in the West Wing.

So the administrator of that Strauss Foundation--my Strauss Foundation, as it were--rolls into the office Monday, fires up the computer, and there's a zillion e-mails, virtually all with the subject heading "sponsorship"...all quite peeved about our support of the Eagles.

But, of course, we don't sponsor or support the Eagles. We aren't that Strauss Foundation. Weird.

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