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Commentary: Michael Vick doesn’t belong in Philadelphia

Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer Modified: August 14, 2009 at 4:49 am •  Published: August 14, 2009
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PHILADELPHIA — With their shocking decision to sign Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles are taking an enormous risk. All that’s at stake is everything owner Jeff Lurie and head coach Andy Reid have ever said about what the franchise stands for, and they have put all of that in the hands of a man who went to prison for murdering dogs.

It just isn’t worth it. Not from a football standpoint, which is secondary, and not from any other standpoint.

Vick did his time for the heinous and despicable dogfighting operation he financed and operated in Virginia. He went to federal prison. He lost millions of dollars. Like anyone else, Vick deserves the chance to return to his chosen profession.

Just not here.

I get that Vick comes from a different background, that there is a surprisingly large subculture that sees dogfighting as acceptable. I believe in people getting second chances in life. I think Goodell was right to reinstate Vick. It would be wrong to ban him for life after he served his criminal sentence.

Actually hiring him is a different matter.

The Eagles say they did a lot of research on this, that they talked with Vick and Tony Dungy, who has taken on the role of spirit guide for the younger man, and believe he is truly remorseful for what he did.

The Humane Society has endorsed Vick’s return to football. The belief is that he has changed and will use his fame and street cred to educate young people about dogfighting.

That’s all fine. The Humane Society is smart to seize this as an opportunity to reach people it might not otherwise reach.