In the most controversial move of the 2009 preseason the Philadelphia Eagles signed convicted felon Michael Vick to a two year contract. The move came to a surprise to many with incumbent quarterback Donavan McNabb in place as well as his heir apparent, 2008 draft pick Kevin Kolb. Third stringer A.J. Feeley has had success when put into action as well.
Although it is a surprise for the convict to be in Philly, there are many that think the Eagles are an organization well suited to deal with Vick and the firestorm that will surround signing him. The former Falcon will be facing a lot of adversity as he tries to resurrect his career. The Eagles are considered a quality organization and one that can provide the support that the troubled player will need.
So far the Eagles do not appear to be worried about the negative publicity that will follow signing Michael Vick. It is believed that organizations like PETA and other animal rights groups do not have enough influence to matter. In our system of justice, since he has paid his debt to society, there are many that believe he deserves a second chance anyway.
To the Eagles and anyone that thinks Michael Vick being in the NFL is a good thing for shame. This man and any other idiot that blows his athletic ability and talent like he did should be nowhere near professional sports and anything else that could influence the youth of America.
Athletes are role models whether they like it or not. The common argument to that is that they didn’t ask to be or tell anyone to idolize them. True- but that is something that comes with the territory of high profile things like professional sports. Just because a player does not wish to be a role model does not mean he or she will not be seen as one anyway. They are in the limelight regardless of what they want.
It should come as no surprise that the youth of today are in trouble like they are. Organizations around the country have or are in the midst of studying the disproportionate number of minority youth that are part of the criminal justice system. Listing the number of baseball players that have been caught cheating (taking steroids) would take too long. The number of football players, current and former, that have been behind bars is endless.
What they all have in common is one essential thing- after their convictions or plea agreements (which is essentially admitting fault) they were able to still get paid millions by someone.
What kind of message does this send? Easy, if you can run really fast, hit really hard, or crush a baseball then you can do whatever the hell you want. If you happen to get caught you can use your celebrity and influence to barter for a reduced sentence or no sentence at all. So what if you have to sit in a cell for 18 months if when you get out someone will pay you $1.6 million?
If the punishment was uniform across the league or at least fit the crime than I might be okay with Michael Vick being back in football. Take the punishment handed down to Donte Stallworth, a player of lesser notoriety and talent than Michael Vick, who was recently suspended for a full season (while Vick will only serve a 6 game suspension).
Stallworth plead guilty to Manslaughter charges resulted from a DUI incident in March of 2009. Unlike Vick who fought the charges against him even though the evidence was overwhelming, Stallworth faced up to his actions.
I am not trying to say that the taking of a human life is not serious; it is. I am not trying to compare the taking of a dog’s life with that of a human’s either. What I think is disproportionate about the punishment is the intent behind the crimes. Vick tortured and killed numerous dogs with malicious intent; nothing he did was an accident at all. He was fully aware of what he was doing when he did it. Stallworth on the other hand did not have that same malicious intent which he proved by pleading guilty and taking responsibility.
If Michael Vick had taken responsibility from the beginning, plead guilty then maybe I could see forgiving him and letting him back in the league. He did no such thing; instead he tried to hide behind his celebrity and get away with causing the pain that he did. It should not matter that his victims were dogs. His actions showed the dark, malicious nature of the man. Vick is acting apologetic now because he got caught, wants to play, and can’t do anything else.
Maybe if he had stayed in college beyond his sophomore year he would have grown up a little. Instead Vick has tied to skate by on his athletic ability as if it makes him better than anyone else. Professional sports have always had people of questionable nature playing. In recent years it has almost become the norm instead of the exception to have a rap sheet in pro sports. Maybe if we quite coddling athletes like Vick because we like how they run with the ball fewer will turn out like Vick.
It is high time we clean up professional sports; ban the killer for life.
Beer Pairing: Dead Skunk Doppelbock from the Dead Skunk Brewery; because I would rather suffer through the smell drinking this beer then support the Eagles now that they have signed Michael Vick.