03
Mar
09

Don’t Make Vick The Victim

After suffering the consequences of pleading guilty to dog fighting charges nearly two years ago, Michael Vick is ready to wreak havoc on the football field once again.

Vick is finishing up the final two months of his 23-month prison sentence under home-confinement and I know there ismichael_vick007profile-_remorse-med only one thing on his mind: football. Why are so many people reluctant to give Vick another chance at playing?

ThePetitionSite.com has a link to a petition that you can sign to keep Vick from ever playing professional football again. The basis for their petition? “He committed horrible crimes against dogs.” Thank you, Mr. Obvious.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been avid about punishing Vick for his actions. PETA has asked that the NFL add “cruelty to animals in all its forms” to its personal conduct policy. They even have a petition filled out on their website for anyone wishing to help in their movement – all you have to do is click send

Why is PETA so adamant about Michael Vick being punished? To make an example of him so that dog-fighting rings will stop? To make Michael Vick truly think about the consequences for his actions, as if sitting and rotting in jail because of it didn’t spark enough reflection? Whatever their motives are, I believe that they are correct in their desire to make sure dog-fighting is brought to the public forefront and becomes more of a heinous crime.

53395483OG_D030174028However, PETA is wrong in their work to prevent Vick from playing football again. They even backed out of a TV commercial offer that would show Vick as against dog-fighting. Why would you do that? Putting a recognizable face like Vick’s in the same frame as “dog-fighting is bad” would only help PETA’s cause, right? 

“Saying sorry and getting his ball back after being caught enjoying killing dogs in hideously cruel ways for many years doesn’t cut it,” said PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Commissioner (Roger) Goodell knows that he has an obligation to the league and to millions of fans, including children who look up to ballplayers as idols, to make sure that Michael Vick is mentally capable of remorse before he can touch, let alone wear, an NFL uniform again.”

Mentally capable of remorse? Watch the video below and judge for yourself if Vick is remoreseful. Has there ever been a person in history NOT capable of feeling remorse? I guess there has been: serial killers, serial rapists, pedofiles – but then again, I’m just stereotyping the same way PETA is. Vick has served his debt to society, a fundamental byline of American democracy, and should be allowed to seek employment and gain employment from whomever should offer it. 

Sure, ex-convicts have a hard time seeking employment. Employers are always hesitant to give someone with a record a spot at their business. Why though? If we all believe that after a person serves his time for the crime  he/she has committed that he/she has paid for his/her actions, why are we as a society against he/she getting a job?

Maybe my judgment is blurred because this case is Michael Vick. At one time, he was the most electrifying player in the NFL. He was the face of the Atlanta Falcons. He ushered in a new era of quarterback mobility, rushing for 777 yards and eight touchdowns in 2002, unprecedented numbers from a quarterback. His last year in the league, 2006, he rushed for more than 1000 yards; more yards than several teams’ starting running backs while breaking the 34-year old record for rushing yards by a QB and being the first QB to eclipse the 1000 rushing yard mark.

Let me just say that in no way, shape, or form do I approve of Michael Vick’s past actions; dog-fighting is cruel and disgusting. Anyone who takes part in something similar is weak in character and should reconsider their purpose in life. That being said, I believe in the United States Criminal System. Vick has been rehabilitated by the system and should be able to contribute to society once again.

Seeing him speak  made me sincerely believe that he is remorseful. He did not use note cards; no public relations rep wrote his speech, no outline for him to fallback on, no bullshit. He stood there like a man and spoke from his heart. He apologized to his team, his coaches, the fans, and, maybe most importantly, to the children that looked up to him that he let down. He urged kids to use better judgment than he did. He urged them to use him as an example, and to make better decisions.  He took responsiblity for his actions, and said that he understands that he has much to reflect about in his character and person.

michael-vick-guilty

Athletes are people just like me and you; we all make mistakes. The mistakes do not define who we are as people; what we learn from them and how we grow in lieu of those mistakes is what defines us. Michael Vick has done all that has been asked of him to repent for his actions. He passed PETA’s Animal Empathy exam, served his prison sentence, lost millions upon millions of dollars in contracts and endorsements, as well as endured his image being tarnished and forever linked to dog-fighting.

If he should be let back into the NFL, which is absolutely should, he will be looking to rebuild his legacy much like the way Kobe Bryant had to do after the rape allegations and much like Michael Phelps will have to do after the incriminating photo of him smoking a bong was made public.

We hold athletes to such high standards of ethics because of their place as role models, but when they falter, we’re quick to push them aside. Shouldn’t children learn that people will make mistakes and you must pay the consquences? Not letting Vick play football again will send a message to children that it is not OK to mess up and if you do mess up, your life is over. 

At one time Michael Vick was one of the most beloved NFL personalities. He messed up, badly; we all can agree on that. But why not give him an opportunity to redeem himself by showing our children how a mature adult handles adversity and turns his life around?

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A.Martin

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4 Responses to “Don’t Make Vick The Victim”


  1. 1 Rosemarie Squeri
    May 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    He hung, electrocuted and drowned dogs. Look at history of people who killed people. This type of behavior is there. He has already made millions and can do so in future, books, appearances. He has money to get “rehabilitated”. He’s a victim????? Get real. Case closed. Mr. Obvious, use your words, position for a good caused. Or do you like football games over decent behavior?????????

    • 2 amartin9
      May 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      There are admitted murderers in the NFL. There are alleged rapists in the NBA. To prevent Vick from playing football again is unfair – even if his victims were dogs. There are steps he can take and is taking to clear his name and change his life. Who are you to be the judge of his character from this day forward?

      • 3 Nick Cass
        August 15, 2009 at 5:24 am

        and those murderers should not be able to play either. Who are YOU to judge him? You don’t know him personally.


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