Michael Vick Is Back In The News

Michael Vick

Michael Vick

I’m feeling pretty good tonight after the Blues 2-0 win over the Blackhawks, Mizzou’s 97-95 win at Oklahoma St., and Florida’s last second loss against South Carolina so I feel like addressing one of those hot button issues.  That issue is the return of Mike Vick.

By now, everyone knows the story.   All-world talent, all-world stupidity.  Vick is currently on the backside of the 23-month sentence he received as part of his dogfighting case.

Vick also had some highly publicized incidents involving marijuana and and obscene gesture toward some fans.  Like I said, all-world stupid. Today it was announced that potential deal for Vick to shoot an anti-dogfighting commercial with PETA has been nixed.  Apparently Vick’s lawyers wanted PETA’s backing for reinstatement into the NFL, which PETA did not want to give.

PETA would like Vick to undergo a brain scan and full psychiatric evaluation before even being considered for reinstatement.

Now, let me start by saying that I am not a fan of Michael Vick.  I used to be, but he’s just a despicable human being.

Having said that, I also think I will support his reinstatement to the NFL.  American sports, especially the NFL, have been very generous with second chances.  Ray Lewis after his murder trial. Pac Man Jones and Chris Henry after their 17 legal incidents (side note, both Jones and Henry are former West Virginia Mountaineers).

Sports fans are just known for their ability to forgive their players if they come across as genuinely remorseful for their actions.  That’s the key, though, Vick must truly be accountable and sorry for what he did.  Maybe that’s where PETA’s brain scan comes in, I don’t really know.

An easy baseball example is the steroid problem.  Obviously, this isn’t the magnitude of murdering dogs, but people were still pretty angry about the whole mess.  Baseball fans have welcomed back players like Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte who admitted their mistakes.  They have also ostracized the likes of Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens who decided not to come clean.  Again, steroids are obviously not the same as dog fighting, but I feel like reception back into athletics would work in a similar fashion.

In simpler terms, I would not welcome back Vick with open arms, but I would give him one more chance to prove that he can be a human being and not a dog slaying monster.  I’m not entirely sure what he would have to do to prove this to me, but I would be willing to listen.  An anti-dog fighting commercial may have been a good place to start.

I will be anxious to hear the opinion of Falcons owner Arthur Blank.  Blank has remained distantly supportive of Vick throughout the process and from all accounts is a very good man.  Vick has apparently written Blank several times from prison asking for forgiveness.  It will be interesting to hear his take on the matter once Vick is released from prison and seeking reinstatement.

I’m not sure who would take a chance on Vick and risk taking the hit to the franchise’s image.  Atlanta has found a very good replacement for Vick and his skills will be severely diminished after the 2 years away from the game.  His sentence expires on July 20th, 2009.

I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on the mess.  Will you forgive Vick and welcome him back?  Do you think he should be allowed back into the NFL?  Would you want your team to sign him?  Leave a comment and let me know.


20 Responses

  1. Bryan, this was extremely well written and I’m glad I took time out of my Montana ski trip to read it. I agree with you 100% on being willing to listen, but not welcoming him back with open arms… If I listen and I think he’s just full of it then kick him back to the streets… If I listen and it seems genuine, then I say give him another chance… also, like you, I don’t know what it will take to convince me that he is genuine, but I am willing to see if there is anything.

    Just my two cents. Good post.

  2. Hi- stumbled in through the tag surfer.
    Good post and interesting topic. I did an article a while back on this Vick thing at my blog (mdbirdlover.wordpress.com) and am wondering why PETA wanted to do a brain scan…what would it have shown, I wonder.
    Incidentally, I am a bird lover- as in Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens…I’m a supporter of Ray Lewis.
    He was acquitted of murder but that hangs on him like a badge of dishonor to so many outside of the Baltimore area….and I think that people who give him this badge know he wasn’t a trigger man” but rather is guilty by association and guilty of not doing the right thing once it happened….which brings me to this point,
    Vick was proven guilty and admitted it (right?) so his badge of dishonor is really “SUPERBAD” if you will.

    I don’t know who is going to want him back? Has he been rehabilitated?

    Would I take him back? Probably not.
    Would I supprt the Ravens if we needed a talented QB…probably.

    I’m trying to do a more thorough investigative type piece on this whole dog-fighting issue which is truly heinous. But it is a cultural thing, as heinous as it is.
    Got any suggestions? Thanks for teh conversation,

  3. Vick is an interesting character. We all deserve a second chance. However, is he sorry? How much money does one need to be happy? Perhaps he learned something in prison. Would I want him on a team I support? No.

  4. mdbirdlover – Hey, thanks for the comment. You’re right, Lewis was acquitted of the murder charge and I probably should have mentioned that. That comment was more about the hit that his image took as a result.

    Someone brought up the point last night that football was his job. If he worked in a grocery store, would he be banned from all grocery stores after dog fighting? The answer is no, which is something to consider.

    I tried to consider several people who took as big of a fall from grace as Vick did and I couldn’t come up with many.

    Rae Carruth was convicted of murder, but wasn’t as big of a star and he actually killed a person. He was also not allowed back in the league.

    Kobe Bryant took a huge hit to his image, but was found not guilty of rape.

    Raphael Palmeiro let everyone down by taking steroids and we haven’t heard from him since, but he didn’t kill anything.

    The person who is the most like Vick? Mike Tyson. He was convicted of rape (worse than dog fighting, I think), spent time in jail, was released and allowed back into boxing. Some people still loved him, some people still hated him, but he was allowed to compete. He’s also crazy.

    I’m not sure I’d have any suggestions as far as a cultural thing, but I would be interested to read it. It’s a tough topic, for sure.

    All Vol – I’m not sure we’ll ever know if Vick is truly sorry. I don’t think brain scans reveal that sort of thing. Also, I believe he filed for bankruptcy in prison, but it wasn’t liquidation. It was reorganization, meaning he got to keep certain assets like his house(s) and things like that.

    Interesting comments, thanks guys.

  5. Classic 17 – Very thought provoking post on M. Vick.
    I liked Vick for his athletic ability and nothing more. He is has and has not presented himself as a role model or someone that I emulate. However, being a serious fan of athletics, I have a deep appreciation for the physical skills that some human beings possess. Michael Vick was one of those rare individuals. Unfortunately, he did not develop his mental capabilities as well. Having said that, would I support his return to the NFL, yes. Would I invite him over to my house? No. Do I believe that he deserves countless millions for saying that he is remorseful? No – Do I believe he has learned a tremendously valuable lesson in economics? Yes. Hopefully, he’ll have the opportunity to correct his mistakes publically.

    As for other stars falling from grace? How about Art Schlicter from Ohio State? Check into the fall of the Chicago Black Sox scandel in baseball in 1919.

    Nice post, keep spreading those opinions.


  6. To me I feel if you commit a felony, you are done. No second chances. Period. Athletes are over payed and whine way to much about the money they are making. If they are stupid enough to do something to commit a felony, make then do something else. If he is allowed back in the league, which I think he will be, all he has to say is how many chances did you give Pacman Jones, I would not in anyway ever want him on my team. I would rather have a team of respectable individuals with a good clean image, than to take a chance with some superstar who could really mess things up.

  7. This whole thing is silly. Anytime you address something that is more or less a moral issue, I think it becomes too touchy.

    I don’t agree with what Vick did but at the same time, for this to become a mental quiz or an acting opportunity, I’ll pass.

    Realistically, I think he should be allowed back in. He is doing nothing that directly harms the game and spirit of football. He isn’t cheating, he isn’t gambling, he isn’t throwing games. So he should be allowed back in, no questions asked.

    He has served time in jail and has an enormous scar for his public image. If he botches up again, it’s back to the slammer for an even longer time. Which is why I think none of us should have a say in this.

    Who is PETA to restrict a man from making a living. If he is sorry, even if he isn’t sorry but expresses it to the world. Then good. Let him have his privacy.

    Groups like that act as if they can’t smell their own. By that I mean that I’m willing to bet that one member has a DUI, MIP from college, Battery of sorts, or most likely, Disturbing the Peace and assault with Paint.

    Maybe I am wrong but I highly doubt it. I find it funny they would surely love to continue their lives but this guy can’t?

    Thats against every ammendment that we have. It’s just stupid.

    The guy did his time. Whether he learns his lesson or not, it’s not my concern. If he screws up again, he goes to jail. End of Story. Otherwise, let him continue what he does best. His Job. Football.

    I’m so sick of these powertrips by league executives, organizations like PETA, the media, or whatever other entity feels like controlling things.

    Let the man play. The rest is in his hands and shouldn’t be any of our concern.

  8. I guess the brain scan was to show whether or not he enjoyed using family pets as bait. How that works, no clue.
    Pumpkin Escobar, you’re funny. You said you’ll pass but jumped right in. But I hear you and get where you’re coming from. PETA has gone radical somewhere along the way. This is a moral issue, yes, but if you use the word dogs or cats, people just get crazy.
    I think Vick will be back. I won’t want to root for him.

  9. Definitely someone smarter than me would have to be reading that scan. The whole story just baffles me, really.

    It’s interesting that the three previous comments are all radically different from one another. Michael says he’s done for committing a felony, Pumpkin says he’s done his time and should be back in the NFL and MBL says he will be back but won’t be supported.

    I wouldn’t argue with any of the reasoning either.

    I probably should have put up a poll with this one.

  10. Ya. Sorry guys. Classic17 can attest to my fiery nature. Sometimes I get a little excited and things like this just drive me bonkers. I try to talk about it but it’s really just like letting the water boil before cranking it up and watching it boil over.

    I think everyone has their right for who they root for but to say he shouldn’t be allowed to work is obscene.

    I understand people see professional sports as a priviledge but in reality, it isn’t. The best of the best get there, and ya, those guys may indeed be “lucky” but I don’t see it as a priviledge when the teams/entities want/need their service.

    So to say someone shouldn’t be allowed to make a living at what they do best because of past mistakes, crimes, etc. is just wrong.

    No one needs to like him or root for him, but his god gift is being a football player. An overrated one in my opinion (neither here nor there) but he should be allowed to do it.

    Like I said, if he messes up again. It does me no harm, I don’t like the guy and don’t care for him, but he should be allowed to make a living.

  11. And mdbirdlover, I see what you meant now with when I said I’ll pass. What I meant was I’d like to have it not occur. A brain scan or him pretending to be sorry (acting) is not worth the time and will just occupy baseball talk this spring. I don’t want it. I’ll pass on it. I think he is time is done, let Roger make his decision and go from there. No media circus necessary.

  12. You know I’ve always been a micheal Vick fan and always will. This whole thing was purely racial. You know it. The media knows it and everyone associated with justice knows it. Our nation is a t war and men and women are dying over seas and we want to put one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in not city or state but federal prison over a dog. A Dog!!!! There are people and players that are doing drugs, and just look at what Pac-Man has been able to get away with but the entire White Public lynched this man verbally and electronically over a Dog!!

    I pray that Micheal Vick returns from prison with the lesson of that no one is your friend andthat the same people, sponsors and teammates that were with him , all of a sudden turned against him and dropped him out of existence. There’s no honor in calling yourself a friend and supporter but yet turn on you when the when you’re in need. Because of this I’ll never watch another Falcons game. I hate the team, the Owner and players for how they allowed Vick to be treated considering evrything that he bought to Atlanta and the Falcons. It’s ridiculus that so much hatred can be spread over a dog. Dog fighting has been going on since the begining of time and always will. But because we live in a nation that allows the government to make everything against the law(Especially where minorities are concerned) we sit back with our brainless minds and watch this all take place. Because we cannot think for ourselves anymore we allow people like peta to line up and do the thinking for us and publicly humiliate this man and ruin his life again over a dern Dog!! If i were Micheal Vick I would be totally Angry that my own people didn’t come out from the begininga and stand up for me. All of a sudden because people started to turn away from him then everyone started to turn away. Without thinking of everything that this man has accomplished or done for the game. Not thinking that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Its a shame very much a shame what White America has done to this man.

    no matter what I’m going to be in his corner and pray that he has a successful comeback.

  13. James- I’m not going to get into this whole debate and had tried to stay out of it until this point, but I will point out a couple areas that your facts are a little off…

    First, I believe that if a white player were charged with the same thing PETA and everyone else would be just as upset by it.

    Second, you said “over a dog. A Dog!!!!” and said “a” dog a few times. Vick murdered many, many dogs not just one, it wasn’t just “a” dog.

    Third, you talk about how Pacman has been able to get away with a lot of stuff… but he’s black too. So how does that support your argument?

    Fourth, you said “teammates that were with him , all of a sudden turned against him” but after Vick was sentenced DeAngelo Hall came on to the field at the next game holding up a Michael Vick poster and had “MV7” written in his eye paint, and in that same game Roddy White held up his jersey after scoring a touchdown to reveal a t-shirt that said “FREE MIKE VICK” on it. So when you say that you hope he learns the lesson “that no one is your friend” that’s not very accurate.

    Fifth, you said “a man is innocent until proven guilty” but he was proven guilty, so I don’t even know why you brought that up… oh, and the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing was put in place by the government makes “everything against the law” it’s not like that in a lot of other countries.

    Sixth, you said he’s “one of the greatest quarterbacks ever” and that no one is thinking about what he has “done for the game” so I have two questions: what is it exactly that he has done for the game of football? And what makes you think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks ever?

    Thanks for the comment.

  14. Bryan and I were discussing this a week or two ago when he published this and we were trying to think of other examples in sports, and a big one hit me. Nobody has brought it up yet, so I figure I’ll throw it in there if the debate is still going on.

    The example is Mike Tyson. Tyson went to prison – for rape. He was convicted of raping a woman. When he got out of prison – paying his debt to society – he was allowed to box again. He was able to gain a license and do what he does best – box. Now, it is a little different story because Vick has to be signed by a team to actually play again, where Tyson just has to arrange fights for himself. But Vick should be allowed the chance to play. He should not be banned by the commissioner.

    Pumpkin has it right. Playing in the NFL is not a privilege, it is a job. Those guys are paid to play football – much like actors are paid to be in movies. It may be a pretty damn fun job to have, but it is their job. Pumpkin can confirm this, but it is somebody’s job to drive Aston Martin’s around all day to test them to insure they run properly! I’m sure lots of people want that job, just like lots of people want to be NFL quarterbacks.

    Now the NFL teams don’t have to sign him. They can individually decide his skills don’t fit their needs, they don’t want to deal with his character issues or they don’t think he can grasp their offense. But he should not be denied the chance to apply for a job – which is what Goodell would be doing if he banned him from the league.

    I don’t know if any team would sign him. But I will say that I think there has to be room for him on at least one of the 32 NFL teams’ rosters. My favorite team, the Chicago Bears, could easily use him on the roster. Vick could probably be the starter. You most surely have to agree he is better than Caleb Hannie – the third string QB.

    Bottom line: he should get the chance to play again. If no NFL team signs him, so be it. But he shouldn’t be banned – or suspended by the league. He has served his time for his crime. He has paid his debt to society. He shouldn’t have to pay it again to the NFL.

  15. Jet, you make a really good point. I’m not real sure exactly where I stand on this whole subject, but I agree both with you and with what Bryan originally said in the post. He should be allowed back and leave it up to the teams individually to decide if they want him. How much support I give the team that chooses to sign him (if any) will be determined by what Bryan was talking about, with if he seems genuinely sorry for his actions. Again, I don’t know what it would take for me to believe that he is genuinely sorry, but I’m willing to see if there is something. Either way it will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.

  16. What if Vick came out and did a series of like lectures targeting the culture in which dog-fighting is common? And he turned one person around- meaning they stopped consuming (participating, betting, watching, whatev)- would that be enough?

    I don’t know if it would be for me, but I think Vick could really use his platform as a positive, whether PETA wants him or not.

    I’ve gotten a couple of leads that I am pursuing for part 2 of my story on this cultural thing….

    This is an interesting conversation.

  17. Jet – Very good example of Tyson. I put a rape of one woman ahead of abuse/murder to several animals (in this case dogs).

    Part of me wonders that if Tyson was accepted and embraced because of how great he was. In Vick’s case, I think many see him as an overrated player and have some form of distain for him. Does that play a role?

    Or maybe it’s the whole “thug” perception that some of these commissioners try to have removed from the minds of the general public. Tyson I don’t think anyone viewed as a thug (a lunatic but never a thug) but it seems many athlete’s today in football or the NBA are always stereotyped that way.

    I don’t disagree with what someone said about how Vick should use PETA or some other platform for positive image reconstruction but as it seems many believe, he shouldn’t be blackballed or ban from the league.

    Vick is talented enough that someone needs him. I’ve seen the 49ers are interested. He is easily worth a backup spot, but I think the only way a team can expect him to shake the rust and go back to the mediocre qb that he was, is by starting him.

    And yes….It is some guys job to put 500 miles or something on a brand new Aston Martin. I wouldn’t mind getting paid 150Euro for that gig. Another great job would be the radar gun guy at baseball games. You get front row seats, work 81 days a year, and get paid 100k. Solid gig.

  18. Is that true that the radar gun guy only works 81 days a year and gets paid over 100k? Sh** why didn’t someone tell me? I am in the wrong business.

  19. Haha! All Vol- I was wondering the same thing!

  20. Dang. Me too. Instead, I am beating myself over the head and running myself into serious debt to get a job that pays 100K, and I’ll have to work six days a week!!

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