Mike Tyson’s a Vegan. How About You?


Mike Tyson snacked on Evander Holyfield’s ear. He threatened to make a meal of Lennox Lewis’ children. He is perhaps the planet’s most notorious flesh-eater.

But these days there’s nothing meatier than a seitan cutlet in his George Foreman Grill.

Mike Tyson: holier than thou?

Vegans have a reputation for self-righteous arrogance. They are in the trenches combating  environmental degradation and world hunger through personal deprivation and self-sacrifice. They can claim moral superiority over meat-eaters for the greater compassion they show to animals.

Does this mean we want to be like Mike?

Iron Mike, not iron deficient.

There could hardly be a better role model for the healthfulness of the vegan diet. Vegans have labored under a wimpy, neo-hippie label for far too long. The robust, bulked-up physique of an elite athlete can invalidate lingering misconceptions about meatless diets.

But vegans have yet to embrace Mike Tyson as one of their own. Known for brutality in and out of the ring, he has been dogged by a string of charges for assault and spousal abuse, and has served time in prison for a rape conviction, drug possession, and DUI. Currently embroiled in a PETA controversy for pigeon racing(?), he is hardly the poster boy for a compassionate diet.

The reality is that Mike Tyson’s veganism won’t turn away potential vegans any more than Moby or Woody Harrelson or Natalie Portman’s veganism brings new ones into the fold. Vegan, omnivore, or something in between: these are choices to make, not soapboxes to stand on.

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2 Responses to Mike Tyson’s a Vegan. How About You?

  1. Janice says:

    Since 7? As a personal choice or a family thing?

  2. Love the article. I am a vegetarian (since I was seven), but not a vegan.

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Is it appropriate conversation for the dinner table? Then it should be fine.

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