Been away for a week, so somebody please fill me in: What am I supposed to make of Michael Vick?

How repulsed am I supposed to be? May I invoke the right to remain silent? Is there some sort of moral and journalistic obligation to condemn Vick with language typically reserved for convicted child molesters and drug dealers? Or is the appropriate response somewhere smack-dab in the middle?

Please give me a sign. Send me a text message. Anything, because Lord knows I don’t want to be on the wrong side of this one, lest every animal-venerating, tree-planting, Earth-saving organization begin picketing my trips to the grocery store.

From what I hear, Michael Vick is the Great Satan.

If President George W. Bush woke up and discovered that he shared the same approval rating as Michael Vick, he would be on a suicide watch.

Due process and Michael Vick shall never be spoken in the same sentence as cosmic payback for the kangaroo court that freed O.J. Simpson.

Oh, and any minute now, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will pardon every member of the Cincinnati Bengals and apologize for wasting so much time investigating their alleged drunken driving, domestic violence and fondness for weed when he could have been stalking Michael Vick.

And on. And on.

As rushes to judgment go, the haste to demonize Vick as the guy who killed Snoopy and Lassie ranks right up there with, “Those guys from Duke absolutely did it” and “That ‘Sopranos’ finale was lame.”

It’s laughable, and not because I think letting dogs gnaw each other into ground chuck is remotely acceptable. It’s gross. It’s cruel. It’s wrong. It’s criminal.

Now, there are guys who will play every meaningful snap of the 2007 season, even get to the Super Bowl, who have been tried and convicted for worse. That observation will have to stand alone. I don’t have the time, patience or sufficient fire insurance to delve into detail.

What’s funny is watching all the Michael Vick apologists backpedal.

Gosh, how will the NFL function without its 29th best starting quarterback: The electrifying, the incomparable, the abominable Michael Vick?

Funnier still are the TV talking heads putting the world’s supply of righteous indignation in jeopardy while covering the Vick story with that pasted-on, constipated look that comes so naturally.

Look, Vick has always basked in far more attention than his performance on the field merited. His exploits off the field are no exception.

He’s an idiot who shouldn’t see the field until after this mess is sorted out and all ensuing debts to society are paid.

Even then, the director of player personnel who takes a gamble on Vick’s overblown ability needs his head examined.

In the meantime, stop painting Vick as Public Enemy No. 1. He’s simply one of many in the police lineup.

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