Vick-tim of Circumstance?

One of the other things I missed getting to post about while I was on vacation occurred on the day we flew to the east coast.  In a move shocking to many, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick as their back-up QB.  Certainly, I was surprised and the headlines were in a pretty large font as we disembarked at Philadelphia International Airport.  And the following day, this shirt was already making its debut on the local scene.

Vick is due to play in his first pre-season game tonight in what I can only assume will be a media free-for-all.  Several folks have asked me over the last couple of weeks how I feel about Vick playing on “my” team.    From a team perspective, this is a lot more about Donovan McNabb (who wants a back-up that doesn’t want his job just yet) more than Vick.  And I’m sure Andy Reid has all kinds of crazy formations in mind with them both on the field.

Anyway – that doesn’t really answer the question of should they have hired him…. well — as sort of a law and order type of guy, I believe that Vick in pleading guilty and serving his time has every right to seek employment in the NFL now that his sentence is complete.  In some ways, you can argue that his slate’s clean and there’s no reason not to root for him.  And in others, you can say the guys a dirtball felon that willfully killed dogs and should never ever be able to bring in the big bucks from the NFL—and that hiring him somehow condones his crime.

In the end, I feel like he paid a fair price and should be allowed to play.  He’s said and done all the right things with animal protection services since his release and so on the surface, I say give him a chance.  Think of it like parole — as long as he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s on the right track.  I just don’t think I’ll be buying and wearing his jersey anytime soon.

Oh, and Penny says she respectfully disagrees and may have to root for the Redskins this year.

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22 thoughts on “Vick-tim of Circumstance?

  1. If we don't accept that someone who pled guilty and did his time with no major problems [1] is rehabilitated, then we may as well just kill them all and let God sort them out. His past should be his past. The interesting question is "What will he make of his future?"Prediction 1: He will become very popular once he wins his first game.Prediction 2: If the Eagles lose their first game (even if he doesn't play), they will be roundly pilloried for having brought him on board, irrespective of how he plays (or not).Prediction 3: Sometime in the next month, he will make a sizeable donation to a charity and do several "informational" ads on such subjects as teen suicide, reading assistance, and AIDS awareness. He will never, ever be caught doing one for the ASPCA.John[1] And we can be pretty sure that that part is true, as there was essentially no news about the guy while he was in prison.

  2. 'Vick'-im? Really? That makes my stomach turn.. obviously I agree with Penny.
    I think the abuse that he knowingly, happily, willingly inflicted over a long period of time is a true marker of his character. I don't believe that Vick is now or will ever be a 'good guy' and certainly not a good roll model.
    How many days over the course of years did he starve, torture, electrocute, drown and force dogs to fight, and he never thought, 'is this wrong'? Never once acted on the thought… 'Hm… I have a crap load of money, am respected & known in my chosen profession, loved in the city I reside, and every week I see little kids wearing my number… perhaps the need to torture animals isn't a hobby I should actively participate in.'
    I am super pissed at the NFL for his reinstatement and will absolutely not watch a game this or any year that Vick is playing in.

  3. Vick did his time in prison and that is great…. does he deserve or should he presently be in a position where he is an influence to kids, looked upon as a team leader, and a representative of his alma mater? No.
    I could never imagine a released, but convicted rapist, murderer, (even if manslaughter), distributer of child porn, etc. living in the public spotlight with a successful, well paying singing or acting career. It wouldn't fly… Apparently in professional sports this is okay.

  4. does he deserve or should he presently be in a position where he is an influence to kids, looked upon as a team leader, and a representative of his alma mater? No.

    Then you believe in perpetual punishment. That's not the American way.I could never imagine a released, but convicted rapist, murderer, (even if manslaughter), distributer of child porn, etc. living in the public spotlight with a successful, well paying singing or acting career. Obviously, you've never heard of Roman Polanski. He won an Oscar after his conviction for "sexual misconduct with a minor".John

  5. Actually, Vick is working with the HSUS on programs to prevent youth from ever getting into dogfighting. I think this is the original post about it, and here's a more recent post.

  6. I've felt torn about this for awhile. On the one hand, obviously the man did horrible things to dogs, and I can never be okay with that. But on the other hand, as you and so many others have pointed out: he served his time, he's been punished.I'm heartened to know that he's supposed to be working with the HSUS on programs aimed at deterring kids from getting into dogfighting. It's probably naive to believe that he's sincere in his claims of reform, but then I can be that way. I don't know that I believe him, but I do know that his actions, while unforgivable to many (myself included), brought dogfighting into the public eye in a way that has greatly benefited the efforts of those seeking to end it. And while he's still in the public eye, he's publicly pledging to work with the HSUS to try to keep the next generation from ever engaging in such disgusting behavior. If he is sincere, he could be an ideal role model for kids.I hope I'm not just being naive about it, though.

  7. Liz Said: I don't believe that Vick is now or will ever be a 'good guy' and certainly not a good roll model.
    Haha, Obviously I meant 'role model', not roll model… that would be applicable if perhaps Vick worked in a bakery…
    John Said: Then you believe in perpetual punishment. That's not the American way.
    Actually I don't believe in perpetual punishment, but it is natural that when a person commits a crime, part of the punishment is living with that conviction and the consequences which come. In my opinion, I don't think the NFL should have re-instated him. I don't think that Vick should be in a position to be respected or influence others. His crimes, although in the past and punished, reveal character, and that character is not one that should be admired. I never said he shouldn't be allowed to be a productive, happy member of society, I just don't think the NFL made a good decision.
    It's a fact that people are judged on their past behavior. If I served time for assault for instance, I wouldn't expect my family, friends or society to view me without some judgement, and I wouldn't expect that my job be given back to me.
    I hear quite often in other instances, 'they've been punished enough… they will have to live with this for the rest of their lives, and that is harder than jail time..' etc… Very true, in my opinion – a convict will always carry that sigma with them… it's not just me making that up.
    Even Ted Kennedy's legacy can't be discussed without mentioning Chappaquiddick. It is said that that conviction hurt his chances of his presidential aspirations.
    The fact that you mentioned Roman Polanski also proves that society doesn't forget and forgive easily. If he served his time, I think society would still view him as a child predator. The American judicial system allowed Polanski to travel abroad, and he fled at that time – not too smart of the court – Is this an example of a celebrity treated differently?

  8. I don't like Vick or anything, but it disheartens me that more media attention is focused on Vick than on the other NFL players who have done things like, say, beat or murder their girlfriends and wives. I don't even remember this much attention about Carruth.

  9. I agree that the bottom line is, he'll never be seen helping the SPCA. His "remorse" so far has consisted of (roughly translated) kids, don't do crime. It doesn't pay. Stay in school, be honest. Until he was pressed, he said hardly anything about animals and from what I can see he never said anythings specific about how it's wrong to put a noose around a dog's neck (which I heard is something he confessed to), elecrocute a dog with jumper cables, etc.
    His message is that he's sorry he got caught, as far as I'm concerned. As for playing football? Who cares? If he's out of prison and served his time as you said, he has the right to do what the law allows. How much money he makes is not really an issue – would poverty make him a better person? I doubt it.
    The bigger question for society should be why do we take animal torture so lightly? How could we have so little respect for our fellow Earthlings? Vick claimed that we all make mistakes – hello? Most of us here make mistakes like speeding on the highway, maybe disrespecting each other. Taking the time and effort to torture dogs is a whole different matter, Vick. Don't you dare lump me in with your "mistake".

  10. John — I think you're right about the future question — as the back-up/situational player, it may be a while before something he does decides a game. Philly fans are notoriously difficult — though really they look for "giving their all" — I've seen them turn on All-Stars that looked like they were dogging it — err, no pun intended.

  11. I guess the question is, LG, where do you draw the line. There are dozens of guys in professional sports that have been convicted of domestic violence, yet they still play. So — beating your wife-girlfriend is okay, but killing dogs is not? What about the nightclub violence guys – in some cases where individuals have died — though no roster players have been convicted of that — only associated. So — assault and possibly abetting manslaughter is okay, but killing dogs is not?If you're going to boycott Vick games, why not the others — my guess if you did that you won't be watching a lot of NFL games this season.

  12. Actually, the person that came to mind to me was a former President that was a LOT of peoples' hero. Then he had an intern give him a hummer in the Oval Office and then perjured himself in response to it. These days, he's back to being everyone's darling and elder statesman.

  13. Joie — I think you get to the heart of the matter — is his remorse "real" or merely manufactured public relations? The cynical among us tend to believe the latter — that no one that committed such acts could ever really be sorry or rehabilitated.As always, actions speak louder than words, and if there's anyone who's actions are going to be scrutinized it's Vick.

  14. The same thing went through my mind in a response to another comment. Where do you draw the line for what sort of offense is allowable-not-allowable for re-instatement? What do you do with Ben Rothlesberger? He's been accused of sexual assault — what if he "settles" with the accuser — does he still get to play? Kobe sure seemed pretty popular with Laker fans this year.

  15. [this is interesting] I was thinking about this earlier today, actually, when I heard that he returned to cheers from the fans. I kind of found that sickening. I feel like had NFL fans not cheered (just remained silent, even, not booing), that would have spoken more than anything. It would have said, "we, as people and fans, do not condone what you did." He has served his time for the crime, and I think he should get whatever shot he's allowed to take under the law. But that doesn't mean that the fans should applaud his return. Hmm.

  16. Then he had an intern give him a hummer in the Oval Office and then perjured himself in response to it. Worse yet, he suborned perjury, by his own admission. Of course, that pales besides the president who committed high treason and got away with it because he said he "couldn't remember" OKing the whole thing.John

  17. I was surprised when the NFL re-instated Vick without even a suspension, but I probably shouldn't have been. If there is any professional sports league more rife with convicts/almost convicts I would like to know. A different question to ponder might be what possessed a team to sign him? Was the mentality: someone's going to so I might as well, never mind how the hometown and or national fan base is going to feel about it?
    Yes, every individual that has completed their sentence and in effect paid their debt to society has the right to gainful employment, but nobody said they had the "right" to their old job back. Maybe the NFL was covering their own butts by allowing him to search for employment in their league, but that again puts it on the owners & GMs to decide. I have the right to search for employment in the NFL if I want, that doesn't mean that any team would or should hire me?
    As a side note: Isn't animal cruelty one of the red flags for certain possible future crimes like murder? Disregard and lack of respect for living things is a very revealing character trait. It reveals a certain level of comfort with and willingness to participate in the infliction of pain and suffering, without feeling the urge to come to the aide of someone or put a stop to it. That is more than a little bit scary. The pain and suffering I refer to goes beyond a hard hit in a football game, it is being a part of a situation that requires you to decide whether something lives or dies and how much pain it/they will endure before that occurs. Serving jail time does not automatically mean that one is rehabilitated, or has even taken an authentic part in the rehabilitation process. Can you say repeat offender, hardened criminal, professional convict?
    He gets a gold star for following the advice of his legal team in regards to public statements and appearances, but this leaves me feeling like it is all a little too practiced and not genuine enough. I agree with Joie about his remorse being more of a regret for getting caught than committing the acts in the first place.
    It will be interesting to see how it unfolds as time goes on, but I think this is a curiosity that I could have easily foregone.
    I will be watching the NFL, but I will not purposely be watching Vick, who by the way is in no way a victim of anything other than his own repeatedly horrific decisions.
    Thanks for providing the fuel for this debate.

  18. Sorry to comment twice, but just so you know this is the link to the Northeast University study that got the "rumor" going around that (as they say in the abstract) people "graduate" from animal cruelty and go on to human violence. It's not true although as you can see from the paper, Vick's actions are certainly cause to believe that he could be a chronic troublemaker.

  19. Pingback: Face of the Franchise | Stevil

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