While trying to decide last week what the topic of my next article should be, I looked around at ‘newsworthy’ topics in the NFL. There was the signing of quarterback Jay Cutler by the Chicago Bears. Plaxico Burress was released by the Giants and is still awaiting his trial on weapons possession charges. Dante Stallworth was officially charged with DUI manslaughter. The NFL draft is just weeks away.
Then there is the return of Michael Vick. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is awaiting official release from custody after serving nearly two years in federal prison following a guilty plea for the formation of, funding of, and participation in organized dog fighting. The story drew worldwide attention and outrage after reports that Vick had been a long-time participant in the dog fighting and maintained a dog-fighting operation on his property. Stories of killing dogs that lost the fights only furthered his villainous reputation.
Vick is currently involved in bankruptcy hearings and is attempting to forge a comeback to the NFL while agreeing to work in the construction industry to pay back some of his creditors and try to earn a place within the NFL. He has agreed, as part of his plea deal, to attempt to make amends by paying for the care of the dogs that were not destroyed after the rescue from the property.
Does Michael Vick deserve another chance in the NFL? Now that he has ‘paid his debt to society’ by serving prison time and making financial reparations, will that be enough to warrant reinstatement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell? Will any NFL team step up and give Vick a shot? Will the fans return, or will the scorn last and bring unwanted scrutiny to the league and any team that signs him?
Personally, my feelings are torn. I am disgusted by the facts of the case. Disgusted that any human could voluntarily participate in the torture and mutilation of any creature, much less profit from the venture. I think, what kind of person do you have to be to do something so heinous? I judge him harshly for his acts.
But does he deserve a second chance? Has he changed? Has he learned his lesson? Will his story serve as a lesson to others to avoid a similar legal fate and the possibility of destroying their own lives? These questions are being asked throughout the country now. NFL fans, dog lovers, and those who know Michael Vick personally have their opinions. What will the NFL do? Who will take a chance on Vick and hope he can resurrect his NFL career and possibly take their team to the playoffs?
Next week I will share the thoughts and opinions of some of the people I have spoken with about this story.
Please feel free to email me with your thoughts and opinions as well.