The Hard Fall and Slow Rise of Michael Vick

Michael Vick: on the run to redemption?

 

After two fairly successful outings (one win and a narrow loss), Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid named Michael Vick as the team’s new starting quarterback.  This news was greeted with enthusiasm by fantasy football freaks hoping Vick’s abilities with his arm and legs will pay off,  and surprisingly mild, but  predictable derision by the animal rights group PETA which sniped in a press release, “As long as he’s throwing a football and not electrocuting a dog,  PETA is pleased he is focused on his game.” 

The worst lapse of good taste came by way of the Philadelphia Daily News and a front page cover of Vick with the tagline, “Top Dog.”   They could have been classy or they could have been cute.  They went with cute.   

Kevin Kolb, the guy Reid traded Donovan McNabb away for, suffered a concussion in the opening game, opening the door for Vick.   Vick is in the last year of his contract and if he performs well he could expect to earn millions from the Eagles or as a free agent for some other quarterback starved NFL team.   

The Philly faithful will cheer Vick because he’s taken so much crap from the clueless elitists who compare him to rapists, murderers, sex offenders, pedophiles, the Frankenstein monster and Attila the Hun. 

Maybe they’re as sick of the lynch mob mentality as I am. Go boycott a puppy mill or something.   

Society can nurse a grudge against those whom have offended society, but that only increases the odds they will re-offend. Deprive a man of legitimate means to take care of his needs and he will resort to illegitimate means.   

I respect the right of people not to forgive Vick.  I have a problem with  people who believe the life of a dog holds more value than the life of a human being.  As lovable as any dog may be they still don’t outrank human beings on the evolutionary food chain.  That includes Michael Vick. 

Nor do I respect people who throw their superior morality in your face then get their ass on their shoulder if you’re not as outraged as they are.   Vick went to jail, lost his freedom, lost years of his professional career, lost millions and lost the respect of many in society. He can get some of the money and respect back but he has to earn both. For the hardcore hater, Vick will always be guilty, always unforgiven and permanently loathed. No matter what Vick does to repent for his crimes it will never be enough for those cynics. Their minds are made up and they will never accept any evidence to the contrary. 

He did the crime and he did the time. He’s out and back in the NFL. That’s all, folks.      

It's official: there's no joke that's too sick for some people.

 

Nobody believes anyone owes Michael Vick anything but withering contempt and utter revulsion for opening our eyes to the existence of “rape stands” and the other hellish accouterments of dog fighting.   Consider this  though:  when the fights were confined to the alleys, garages and lots where homies, rednecks, bikers, and vatos watched two dogs tear each other to bloody shreds, this illicit subculture operated pretty much out of sight and out of mind.   

 Now this ugly little world has been exposed and its veil of secrecy forever ripped away.  Vick gave this vicious game his name and face.  No matter what he does the rest of his NFL career he will have a conjunction attached to the accomplishment.  “Michael Vick, Super Bowl quarterback–and dog killer.”  There’s no trips to Disneyland and no schmoozing on Jay Leno’s couch in his future.  Not now or ever.     

There isn’t a sponsor who would ever entertain  the vaguest of  hopes Vick might rehab his reputation to the point he could ever be a practical pitchman again. It does happen.  Kobe Bryant was accused of rape and now he’s back to shilling shoes for Nike.  Ray Lewis was indicted in a murder and now he wants you to smell like him by wearing Old Spice body wash.  But there isn’t a similar memory lapse coming to the rescue of Mike Vick.   Like O.J. Simpson, his status as a fallen hero is permanent and irrevocable.     That’s a punishment that will endure long after the pained, dying yelps of Vick’s dogs have faded away.I think he deserves one shot at a second chance. I think almost everybody does.  I’m not an Eagles fan and I have nothing invested in Vick’s success or failure.   

But I hope he is successful.  Michael Vick will never be a hero and certainly no role model.   

If he can pull off  the trick of simply becoming a decent human being again that’s good enough.