The Ball’s in My Court: Michael Vick

It’s happened. Michael Vick has been released from jail, and is now on house arrest as part of a transitional period between the big house and everyday society. Vick hopes to eventually be reinstated by National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rewind the tape back to 2007. Vick was in the third year of his record 130 million dollar contract with the NFL. In early September, Vick was indicted for the operation of a dog-fighting ring out of his southeastern Virginia home. Amongst the charges was that Vick was one of three men who in April of 2007 executed eight dogs that didn’t perform well in “tests”, through various methods such as drowning, hanging, and slamming at least one dog against the ground. It was also said that in 2003, when he was sidelined with a broken leg, he witnessed and assisted in electrocution of a dog.

Many people say that his seeking reinstatement is fair and that he has served his time for his heinous and disturbing crimes. Some say that since the courts have determined that he has paid his debt to society, he should be a free man to pursue whatever he wants, including the NFL. However, I, as a member of said society, do not feel his debt has been paid.

In December of 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison, a condition stating that an additional three years of prison in Virginia would be suspended for good behavior. My first point is, why? Why are we giving the leader of such an atrocious and disgusting crime ring special treatment if he plays nice with the other inmates?

Also, why 23 months? Are animals really considered so much below us that what he did is forgivable after two years? If someone took my dog, and made it fight, then after it lost, slammed it repeatedly against a wall until it died (something that Michael Vick was witnessed doing), I don’t think I’d feel all was well after two years.

If you think that it was only a phase, you’d be wrong. Michael Boddie, father of Vick, has said that as far back as 2001, Michael Vick was staging dogfights in the garage of the family’s home. Boddie also said that Vick would put the injured ones in cages in the backyard, where Boddie would nurse them back to health. He also said that Vick was urged not to continue in the activity, but he did anyway, adding, “this is Mike’s thing, and he knows it.”

So now he’s “done his time” and wants to go back to earning the big bucks as an NFL quarterback. It’s known that the leader of your team, the face of your franchise, is most often the quarterback. Is Vick really a guy who you want to represent your team? Torturing animals is a sign of homicidal tendencies. I’m not saying he’s a murderer (of people, anyway), but I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if he was capable of such a crime.

Even if a team is willing to give Vick a chance, I don’t think he deserves it. To make it to the NFL you have to have an extreme love for the game, put in the hard work and show the dedication required to play. So once you do all that, you get to earn millions and millions of dollars not only playing the game, but through endorsements from powerhouses like Coca-Cola, Nike, Electronic Arts, Hasbro, and Kraft, all of which had endorsement deals with Vick.

So why should Vick get any special treatment, just because he’s an athlete? If I worked my ass off to become the CEO of a company, and I committed Vick’s crimes, I don’t think they’d give much consideration to accepting a job application from me.