Sunday, August 16, 2009

Give Michael Vick a Chance

I've been giving this whole issue a lot of thought. Without a doubt, his dog fighting was absolutely deplorable. It is a hell of a lot worse than the violent crime, spousal abuse, and drug use the rest of the NFL is known for. Let's get real, most football players are violent thugs. At least they're channeling their violent tendencies toward a game, as opposed to the streets. Michael Vick rises to the top of this shit pile, though. Those poor dogs. Even the ones that survived his torture will have to be put to sleep because he's trained them to be killers.

It would be easy to get riled up and bring the protesters together to boycott the Eagles organization. Karmically, Vick should end up on the Lions. He should have to play his heart out week after week, only to lose over and over again. A cushy gig where he gets to sit on the sidelines for 6 or more weeks, while he collects his $1.2 million seems to spit in the eye of dogs and animal lovers everywhere. I think everyone's first reaction was to get pissed off.

On the other hand, Andy Reid has two kids in jail. Yes, they're drug offenders not puppy killers, but see it from Reid's perspective. The American system of justice is based on the idea of rehabilitation. If Vick can get a second chance, so can all those drug offenders wrongfully jailed just for buying pot. We can all whine about how hard we are on drug offenders, and how we're not hard enough on puppy killers, but this is the world we live in, and in this world, criminals are supposed to get a second chance.

But a second chance shouldn't mean a $1.2 million paycheck, right? For Michael Vick, it does. Let's put aside for a second that he's wildly talented. The ASPCA has come out in support of Vick's re-instatement. They say let's put this guy front and center, so he can publically denounce himself. He has spent the last 18 months thinking about what he's done, and he now honestly believes what he did was wrong. He has been going around the country trying to keep kids away from what he's done. And it's working!

We're all afraid of teaching kids that sports heroes can get away with anything, but look at the other side. We're also teaching felons that if they try hard enough and apply themselves, they can re-enter society. Vick isn't getting special treatment because he's a celebrity; he's a celebrity because he works his ass off. The prisons are full of repeat offenders, most of which are drug addicts. Prisons are a drain on our economy, and maybe giving Vick a second chance will be a first step toward turning inmates into functioning members of society.

Go Eagles!

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