This is a sports performance column – however as a writer and sports fan I have felt the need to chime in on the growing Michael Vick saga.
Over the past 2 years 100’s – probably 1000’s of articles have been written about Michael Vick and his involvement in Bad News Kennel’s and subsequent incarceration. I tried to uncover every stone here - and limited my stone throwing. I'd like the glass house that I live in to make it a few more years.
Now after his official release from federal custody the talk of the town is whether or not he should be allowed to play in the NFL again. Or if there is possibly a team willing to deal with the PR nightmare that will certainly follow.
Before we go much further let’s begin by getting a few facts’ out of the way.
1. I am a dog owner and would never intentionally hurt or kill a dog.
2. I was/am a Michael Vick fan as a football player. I do not personally know him to “like” or “dis-like” him as a person.
3. I am not perfect – I mess up and will mess up again really soon I am sure – and so have you. Maybe we have not made this mistake but we all have some really good one’s to share – you can stop smiling now.
Now that those disclaimers have been given we can proceed.
What Michael Vick did to dogs was wrong – please read over that again before you continue. However he was given a punishment by the courts and has served his time. The money he lost should not even factor into the equation – you do reap what you sow.
I do agree that he should have been punished with jail time – I do also believe that the courts have to do a better job of keeping punishments consistent with the crimes. Under NO circumstance should a person get more time for killing animals (even if the act was on purpose) than killing a human.
Let’s face it getting behind the wheel of an automobile after you are over the legal limit to drive is a pretty willful act. At that point you have decided that your right to drive is more important than the well being of yourself and potentially others. I think it deserves more than 30 days in jail and a fine? So give Vick less time or the DUI vehicular manslaughter more – just keep it consistent.
I also understand that it is not everyday that you get the chance to convict the highest paid player in the NFL on ANY charge; especially not one of this magnitude. If you are dealt lemons you might as well make some lemonade right?
So should Michael Vick be allowed to play in the NFL again? Let’s see. Take a normal guy with a normal job – someone who is pretty high in his company. He breaks a moral code of conduct (which also happens to be a crime) – lies to his employer when asked (repeatedly) and co-workers. And it also comes out that he even funded and encouraged the behavior?
What probably happens to normal guy? I will tell you. Normal guy is fired – 2nd chance – a “do-over” is laughable at best. His email account is terminated, his computer is seized, someone will clean out his desk for him, his HR file is marked “not re-hireable”, and he is escorted off of the property and warned a return would mean a call to the police. Oh and his hottie girlfriend (yes he is married) intern trying to get a job (the wrong way) has to start over with another pencil pusher if she wants to advance her career. This is the fate of normal guy – only he doesn’t have 15 million to spend on an “I am sorry for what I did” ring.
But like several of our politicians – college coaches – CEO’s – sport’s superstars, Michael Vick is not a normal guy. Is it fair? Probably not - but I get that. Has a college coach ever had an affair (not criminal but a moral failure which actually affects people) and been allowed to keep his job? How many politicians have been caught lying, stealing, cheating and refused to vacate their positions or even been asked to give them up? Is it fair? Again probably not – but I get that too.
Vick was not the best QB in the league – but how many can be the best? Only one – so all of the other 31 starting qb’s aren’t the best either. He did have an awe factor that NONE of the other’s come close to (maybe Vince Young can come close one day if he ever starts again).
As an NFL/football/Michael Vick (as a player) fan I would love to watch defenders drive themselves crazy trying to tackle him. Love to watch highlights of defenders made to look silly over and over again on various sports networks. Love to see him use his star power to influence kids to make smarter choices than his aforementioned failures in judgment. Love to see him prove to everyone that this was one stupid mistake and he is not the thug that some have painted him to be. Love to see him get a second chance.
Just an fyi we do not turn down multi-million dollar contracts here (for more money) and our work year is 12 months long not 6. Most employers do offer 2 weeks (paid) vacation and will toss in a few sick days.