And Lose the Pre-season Opener
I raced home after rehearsal last night to catch the end of the 3rd quarter of the Eagles’ pre-season opener. I switched on the set to see the Eagles were trailing considerably behind the Patriots. In true Eagles fashion, they fought back, trailing by only 2 points with less than a minute left in the game. Unfortunately, David Ackers missed the 40+ yard field goal attempt and we lost the game. As I was just about to turn off the game, an announcement came that big, shocking news was coming from the Eagles camp: The Eagles had signed dog killer Michael Vick! (Yup, that’s how they announced it, “dog killer.” And yes, he is a dog killer.)
The news broadcast started with the same “dog killer” title and went into details about Vick’s arrest and the violent treatment that dogs suffered at his hands. They continued on about how he had spent 18 months in jail and how many speculated he would never play football again. But play he will and for the Philadelphia Eagles, none-the-less…
I’m a big dog lover. I currently own 2 Dalmatians and have had many different dogs as pets throughout my life. What Vick did to those dogs (and allowed others to do in his presence) is reprehensible. I cannot imagine someone doing those violently, heinous things to a dog intentionally.
Yet Vick did just that. But Vick was also arrested and convicted for this crime. Sentence was passed and Vick did the time. It does not matter whether you or I think the sentence was appropriate. It is what the courts decided was appropriate. Now that he has served his time, he wants to get back to earning a living at what he does best—football. Can you blame him?
Like this year’s Presidential elections, I have never seen a subject so hotly debated where people stood so far apart in their opinions. As I walked by the coffee machine this morning at work, one of my co-workers seemed overly happy. “Glad it’s Friday?” I asked. “No,” he replied. “I’m happy the Eagles signed Vick.” As I neared my desk, another co-worker had taken his cherished Eagles cap and slashed a big X over the logo in permanent marker. A big difference in reaction, huh?
I don’t condone what Michael Vick did. In fact, it makes me sick but I also believe he has served his time and deserves another chance. In our country, I believe people have the right to another chance. What really bothers me is this desire to continue punishing someone after they’ve been released from prison. How can society function if we ostracize those people who have made mistakes and paid for their crimes?
Now I am not talking about rogues, murderers, and the career criminal. I am talking about the average person who through circumstances and/or life events has made a punishable mistake. I am talking about individuals who can be easily rehabilitated if given the chance. As a nation and a people, if we continue to make these people outsiders and deny them the opportunity to make a living and better themselves, how can we expect them to improve and become a contributing part of society?
Michael Vick has suffered greatly from his mistake. (And yes, I realize not as greatly as those dogs suffered.) Still he is definitely someone who could be easily rehabilitated and rejoin our society as a functioning and contributing member. I see no reason for branding Michael Vick with a scarlet letter. He can’t turn back the hands of time; he can only move forward.
While I plan no celebrations that he has joined the Eagles, I plan no protests, either. What I do plan is to look forward in the hope that Vick can redeem himself. It’s a chance everyone deserves, at least once.
For another view on Michael Vick, check out my co-worker Erin’s post here.