Yesterday, Michael Vick signed a two-year deal with the Eagles. Apparently, Donovan McNabb (Philly’s starting quarterback) lobbied management to get him there. Everyone in the sports world is speculating on what Vick’s role will be on this team already loaded with offensive talent. Meanwhile, everyone in sports fandom world is wondering if he should ever play football again.
Over the past two years, I’ve read some hateful, vile things about Vick. Yesterday I spotted a comment on Facebook where someone wrote, “I hope he sustains a career ending injury on his first play.” Yes, I understand what Vick did with those dogs was insanely cruel. Yet, I still haven’t heard anyone talk about why he did it. His then-record setting contract with the Falcons allowed Vick to finance his dog fighting operation. We’ve seen countless cases of what fame and fortune can do to a person–it can go to their head, and the resulting pride leads them to assume they can do whatever they want with no consequence.
Now, nearly three years later, Vick has paid his debt to society the judicial system handed him. He needs to repay his debts (why is it that those with the most money tend to pile up the most debt). In his statements, and statements by others (namely his mentor, Tony Dungy), Vick seems remorseful for his actions. He wants another chance to play ball so he can pay off his debt and do what he’s naturally gifted to do.
The question for me isn’t whether or not Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL (I think he should). It’s whether or not he should be allowed to make a living and pay off his debts doing what he is gifted to do. Some of us would say, “No.” He had his chance and blew it, so he can go flip burgers. I would say, “Yes.” Give the man a second chance (it happens all the time to people who inflict crimes on people, much less animals). Let him make his living playing football. By the way, I’m not hearing near as much on Donte Stallworth, the Browns receiver who killed a person because he was wasted.
And to those of us who don’t think he should, lay off the “I hope he breaks his leg or worse” rants. Wishing harm on him isn’t much different than what he did. I know, I know–you’d never do it. But what comes out of our mouths (or, in cyberworld, out of our keyboards) shows what is in our hearts.
So what do you think? Should Vick be allowed to play, or did he blow his chance? And why do you think that way?