Give Michael Vick another chance

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 27, 2009 at 11:26 am •  Published: May 27, 2009
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Maybe so on both counts. But then why are the federal sentencing guidelines for dogfighting not 10 years, or 15 years, or 20 years? Why was Vick’s 23-month sentence considered harsh in comparison to most dogfighting convictions? Seems light for pure evil.

Look, I can see valid reasons why we don’t want ex-cons teaching school or working airport security. I don’t see why it’s an outrage for ex-cons to play pro football.

If you don’t want to cheer for Vick, don’t cheer for him. If you don’t want your kids to make Vick a hero, educate them on the sordid Vick saga. Don’t expect the NFL to do your parenting for you.

By the way, Gates Brown is not the only ex-con to get a chance in professional sport.

Tank Johnson (multiple weapons charges), Jamal Lewis (federal cocaine dealing) and Leonard Little (involuntary manslaughter/drunk driving) all returned to the NFL less than a year after being in prison.

NBA player Charles Smith joined the Minnesota Timberwolves after serving 28 months for vehicular homicide. The Boston Bruins’ Craig MacTavish played 14 hockey seasons after a year in prison for for vehicular manslaughter and then coached the Edmonton Oilers for eight years.

And Gates Brown? He spent 14 seasons with the Tigers, becoming not just one of baseball’s greatest pinch-hitters, but one of the most beloved figures in Detroit sports history. Brown still holds the American League record for pinch hits (107), pinch-hit home runs (16) and pinch-hit at-bats (414).

Last April, some old friends from Crestline, including the families that produced football coaches Mike Gottfried and Jim and John Harbaugh, brought Brown back to town.

The boys from the high school that once banned Brown from the football team now play baseball on Gates Brown Field.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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