Emails in on Michael Vick
The new emails are in, and Michael Vick draws the most attention this week.
Steve: “You make a lot of valid points about Vick. But you made the point that maybe we don’t want ex-cons working airport security or teaching … that is kind of my point. Why should you get one of the most selective, highest paying, elite jobs in the country for being, as Coach Jones said, ‘pure evil’? I agree that a guy should certainly have the chance to attain gainful employment after serving time, just not within the fantasy world of pro athletics.”
Oh, I don’t know, maybe because it’s America, and Vick has done his time, and the NFL has nothing to do with national security or the welfare of our children. The idea that Vick shouldn’t be in the NFL because a whole lot of people just don’t want him to be, well, that doesn’t hold water.
Dick: “Give Vick another chance? Don’t think so. How can you compare him to drug users? The people will never forgive kid killers and animal killers. I will give most criminals a second chance if there is not kids or animals involved. Should he be signed by another football team and actually play, he will be booed out of the stadium. I don’t believe there is that many stupid team owners out there. Now I have vented.”
Dick, how can you compare a kid killer to an animal killer? That’s what you just did. And I didn’t compare Vick to drug users. I pointed out that sports has allowed all kinds of ex-cons back into their leagues. None were in because of drugs.
Joe: “Listened about Vick on radio till I’m sick of it, but to me, the deal is this. If the NFL wants to reinstate him, fine with me. He’s done his time. If a team signs him, that’s their decision. The court of public opinion – the fans who buy the tickets and jerseys, etc. will decide if the decision to sign him was correct and the wrath that he receives (or doesn’t) will determine if he can endure and continue with his career. I don’t understand why every Tom, Dick and Harry think it’s all in the Commish’s hands. I think it’s in the hands of the fans when he returns as to how he is received and how he reacts.”
I agree completely. At the heart of this is the market economy, or what’s left of it in America. Would I keep my job if convicted of dogfighting and animal abuse? Probably not. But that’s because the readers likely wouldn’t stand for it. Will football fans stand for Vick being in uniform again? Who knows, though my guess is yes.
Connie: “Many people have brought up issues of players who were allowed back in the NFL after, for example, having been convicted of vehicular manslaughter. ‘After all this was a person and not dogs!’ goes the argument. Well, people don’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Oh, I’m going out to get drunk tonight and kill someone.’ These were tragic mistakes. Michael Vick, however, woke up every day for years and said, ‘Oh, I’m going to kill several dogs today.’ Vick’s was NOT a mistake. It was a way of life for him for many years. I do believe he deserves a second chance, just not in the NFL.”
This is actually an interesting discussion. A debate between intent of a criminal act and result of a criminal act. In other words, if I shoot a gun at you and miss your heart by an inch, I’m guilty of attempted murder and won’t die in prison. If I shoot a gun at you and strike you dead center in the heart, my goose is cooked. What’s the difference? Being rewarded for being a bad shot? But that’s what we do in the justice system. We are primarily result-oriented. If I drive drunk, hit a car and the other driver walks away, I get a DUI and a slap on the wrist. If I drive drunk, hit a car and the other driver dies, everything is different, though my actions were exactly the same. As for Connie’s last statement, that Vick deserves a second chance, just not in the NFL, what detractors really are saying is this: They want to cap Vick’s money and fame.
Karan: “A good column and very thought provoking, even for a canine lover like myself who originally thought he should’ve been stoned. I think you made a valid argument.”
Huh? This is no place for civility.
Clay: “Which is worse, Vick’s charges or what Pete Rose did to be banned from baseball?”
Oh boy, here we go again. At least this is an easy one. What Vick did to society is worse. What Rose did to his sport is worse. NFL owners and administrators, and baseball owners and administrators, are not charged with policing society. They are charged with policing their sport.
Terry: “I found your article to be interesting but sad to think that anyone including yourself could support this man. You are right when you say no one was born with the right to quarterback the Atlanta Falcons, but on the same hand, no one was born with the right to choose whether the dogs lived or died in that manner. I say give him the same chance he give the dogs.”
There are people who would say that putting a man in Leavenworth is about the same chance as those dogs got. You come out of medium-security prisons, federal or state, a changed man. Most worse, but some better. We’ll see on Vick.
Dee: “To insinuate that the justice system hands out fair and just sentences is quite naive. Vick is pure evil – the other examples you gave in your article did not equate with Vick’s pure evil. The NFL will probably give him another chance. However, he has not and never will pay the just price for the evil he has done.”
Maybe so. But why is the NFL been designated as the star chamber that must hand out the just punishment? What if Vick wants to make movies? Are we going to demand Hollywood ban him? What if he wants to design T-shirts? Are we going to demand the garment industry tell him to get lost? Asking private enterprise to get involved in dishing out justice is a dangerous endeavor.
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