Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mike Tyson's Not So Tough Anymore

The title is not an insult.

I realized something today. Mike Tyson is a rehabilitated pit bull.

I read the Marquee article on CNN about Mike Tyson’s drug habit. Just so you know, the article is pretty short and doesn’t go into great deal about his drug habit. “When asked if he ever thought the comedy…was going to be such a success, Tyson responded, ‘I was doing that to supply my drug habit.’ ‘I said, ‘Wow, This is going to be really good,’ The athlete went on. ‘We’re going to sell this stuff on 42nd street on bootleg and make a lot of money.’ This is my best thinking on drugs.”’

But the article goes on to say, “Since the tragedy [the accidental death of his four-year-old daughter], Tyson has dropped 130 pounds by going vegan, and is committed to being a strong family man…“So I said...I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being...I don't smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life.”

He’s been, quite possibly, the most dangerous, unpredictable boxer in modern history (50 wins, 6 losses, 2 no contest, and 44 knockouts), even going so far to bite off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear. He was accused of abusing his former wife, actress Robin Givens. He’s done drugs. He’s screamed obscenities at people and even threatened children ("I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children."--1988). He did time in prison for sexual assault. You might not trust him to be alone with him.

Pit bulls are the reason for some breed specific legislation (which I am against). They’re dangerous (I’m not going to get into nature vs. nurture and it’s how you raise them here). They attack, sometimes without warning. They can rip a person’s face off. They can kill an adult. You might not trust one to be alone with it.

But Tyson’s gotten older and wiser. Maybe the beatings he’s taken in the ring have taken their toll on him too, both mentally and physically. He’s quit the drugs. Changed his diet. Doesn’t smoke. But would we really trust him to be alone with him? Wouldn’t it be too easy for Mike Tyson to just snap?

He has become the human embodiment of the Vicktory Dogs, taken in by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah."Many of them are suffering from serious psychological and emotional trauma, similar to what you see in children from situations of abuse and neglect. Many of them had been forced to fight to the death - like gladiators in some primitive arena...Already they're making progress: learning how to play, how to relax, how to love. Many of them will be adopted to experienced homes. Others will live out their lives in the beautiful environment of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary."

If dogs that were trained to be merciless killers, and in some cases, bait, can be rehabilitated into working dogs and become ambassadors for their breed, then there is hope for Mike Tyson. If he can keep himself on the straight and narrow, he can become an ambassador of misguided youth and rebellion, of former drug users and physical abusers. He can talk about his path to being a better person. I want to have faith in him.

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