“Michael Vick – A Second Chance Or No?”
When Michael Vick was convicted of animal cruelty a couple years ago, he lost everything. Particularly painful was his $135 million multi-year guarantee contract from the Atlanta Falcons. Probably even more painful was the shame he felt and the 18 month experience in the slammer. He’s now free and signed with the Eagles for $1.6 million this season, with a potential to make $5mil next year if the Eagles choose to keep him. The question on many sports fans and animal lovers minds is: Should Michael Vick be given a second chance?
The question really has two parts. Should Michael Vick be given a second chance in the NFL? And should Michael Vick be given a second chance at life? After some thought, and seeing his latest appearance on 60 Minutes, I’m leaning towards acceptance and forgiveness.
At 29, Michael Vick is still quite young, but has already gone through a great deal. He could of easily retired young and wealthy but he screwed it up. Critics of his say he knowingly allowed the killing of innocent animals for entertainment. Vick doesn’t deny any of this and repents. If we are to believe in the legal system, then Vick has paid for his sins through an 18 month prison term. If we are to punish him more, then we are saying the legal system did not exact a punishment fitting the crime.
Vick is actively working for the Humane Society to teach children and adults around the nation to “love their animals.” It may seem like a joke, but according to the Humane Society, there are over 40,000 illegal dog fighting rings in the United States! This underground activity is largely unknown to the public, until Vick’s indictment. Hence, if Vick can actively denounce dogfighting and animal cruelty, perhaps he can help make a difference. And if Vick was never indicted in the first place, this entire underground activity would probably continue unnoticed. It is better to use Vick’s infamy to combat an evil, than just throw him away.
From the NFL’s perspective, they are rolling the dice on Vick’s reinstatement. What if he relapses and does something illegal again? Vick, after all was considered a leading thugin a cast of thuggish characters pervading the NFL. However, I would ascribe a minimal chance at that happening. In fact, Vick is probably the LEAST likely NFL player to get in trouble after what has happened. The NFL can be seen as a forgiving organization which gives people like Vick and others who’ve come from his background a 2nd chance to succeed.
From the Eagles point of view, they’ve made a solid business decision. The median salary for all NFL quarterbacks is $5 million. They are paying $3.4 million under the median by signing Vick, who likely still possesses skills much higher than the median quarterback. Good publicity or bad, the Eagles will benefit.
New York Times best seller, “Picking Cotton” discusses an even more traumatic story where a man was wrongly accused of rape, and sentenced to “life plus 54 years” in prison. After spending 19 years in jail, Ronald Cotton was acquitted due to DNA evidence. Ronald proceed to FORGIVE Jennifer Thompson- Cannino, his accuser. They are now friends, and their families spend time together. If Ronald Cotton can forgive, shouldn’t we?