I’ve had something to say about this for two years, I think. But I’ve never really gotten around to it. Too many other voices chiming in. Dog fighting and football, passionate subjects. Lots of sides.
Should Michael Vick be allowed to play professional football again?
Yes. Why not? He broke the law, he went to jail (for longer than I thought he was going to go), served his time, and is out. Done. None of that has anything to do with football. How many pro athletes break the law? How many are still allowed to play? Plaxico shot himself in the leg in a nightclub. He could have killed someone. He’s playing. (Ed. Note: No he's not. He's going to jail. Just saw the news. Ignore this example.) No one cares. Vick killed dogs. Brutally. Has nothing to do with football.
The dog thing clouds the issue. Killing dogs makes people sick, even putting down a sick one is a rough choice, one I don’t want to make. Dogs are members of people’s families, more than just pets. Does any of this have anything to do with his ability to play professional football?
“But Doug,” you say, “as a pro athlete he’s a role model. Kids will look up to him.” Kids will look up to Vick, see that he went to jail for dog fighting, and organize their own dog fighting rings? Is that what you are saying? What about the redemption aspect of the whole thing? He’s seen the error of his ways and made a change. Americans love that. We love it when the bad guy becomes a good guy. One word: Vader. (Yeah, I just slipped Star Wars into a conversation about football and Michael Vick. Booyah.) Not all athletes are roll models. Some are just guys in a uniform playing a game for money. I’d bet a lot of these guys are assholes. I’d bet a lot of these guys are jerks. I’d bet I wouldn’t want to know them. But will I cheer for Randy Moss’ cocky ass when he scores the winning TD? Sure will. Twice as hard if its against the Cowboys. Kids are pretty smart, they rarely get credit for that. They know when someone isn’t cool. And there are these other people who should really be doing their best to talk to the kids and help them see why they maybe shouldn’t put a poster of certain people on their wall. What are those people called? Oh yeah, parents.
But should he be allowed to play what is basically a children’s game? Of course. If you sign them, fans will come.
He’s playing in Philly! Those fans threw snowballs at Santa! Look it up. He couldn’t have picked a tougher market to play in. Those fans are evil! But you know what they are going to do? Buy tickets so that they can boo him. You know what Eagles marketing is going to do? Count their money.
What do I think? I don’t like him. I think he should be stripped naked, covered in Alpo, and dropped into a cage full of angry Dobys. I don’t know if the apology is sincere. An awful lot of people find Jesus in jail. I think that’s where He must be hanging out. But that’s why I ain’t in charge. I’d punish Nickleback the same way, just for sucking so bad. In our system, you do the crime, you serve your time, you move on. Watch that last step though, it’s a doozy.
“But Doug,” you say, “if you did what he did you wouldn’t get your job back. Ha! Defend that.” I’m a teacher. My job is to mold young minds. (Go ahead, let that marinate for a minute. The awesome responsibility in my hands. Bwahahaha.) I should be a role model. I should be on the righteous straight and narrow. I should be someone the kids look at and want to be like. They are around me every day. I’m on my best behavior at school because I want them to see what a grown man should be like. I teach. If I had a dog fighting ring I’d lose my job and rightfully so, because my job is to teach. His job is to throw a piece of leather through the air to another grown man in a costume, who will them run from other grown men in costumes, and then do a little dance at the end of that run, celebrating his ability to run faster than someone else for 15 yards.
If he bugs you so much don’t watch the Eagles play. I’ll make it easy for you: This season they will get to the NFC Championship game and lose. Again. But don’t have a double standard. Look up the bio of every player on every team, find out what they’ve done in their past, and run it through your moral filter to see if they are worthy of your viewing time. Make sure you do it with the other sports too. (Manny juiced, so did the rest of the ’03 Sox, and most of the MLB is Canseco is to be believed. I say juiced, not cheated, because it wasn’t against the rules in ’03. Jordan had a gambling problem. Kobe cheated on his wife. Artest is an asshole. Tiger curses like a sailor every time he misses a shot. Beckam…married a Spice Girl.) Might as well check your library (most of the great authors in there were either miserable people, drunks, or both). And don’t forget your music collection. (Awww, no more Crue. Vince killed a guy.) All of those people are people we’ve been told we look up to. Do we? I don't. I doubt you do. "But think about the children!" I do, and they ain't that dumb.
Vick will play. He will be booed. He’ll be ok, not great. Personally, I’ve never been wowed by him. He’s better than some, not as good as others. He’ll show the public a remorseful face. Whether you choose to do what, I assume, Jesus would do and forgive him is up to you.
But should the man be allowed to play a game? Of course. That’s not the real issue. The real issue is clouded by tufts of bloody fur. How could someone do that? How can we forgive that?