Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NFL Reinstates Vick, Sets a Great Example

It was announced earlier this week that Michael Vick will be conditionally reinstated into the NFL. Some people may look at this as a second chance for Vick, but in reality it's really chance seven for the troubled star, who had everything and threw it all away so that he could have dogs fight each other in a heinous dog fighting conspiracy.

Let's quickly go over Vick's career off the field. In 2004 two of Vick's friends were charged with drug trafficking after being pulled over in Vick's pickup truck in his hometown. Dan Reeves, the Falcons coach at the time, sat Vick down and let him know that even though Vick was not in the truck at the time, he was still responsible because the truck was his. Vick was told that he should be careful who he hangs out with and that his behavior and image directly reflected that of the Falcon franchise. Mistake number one (and this one came with a warning).

Again in 2004, Vick and some of his entourage were going through the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta when one of Vick's friends picked up a watch that did not belong to anyone in the crew and pocketed it. It turned out that the watch was a TSA employee's and what ensued was a back and forth between the TSA employee, a Falcons "fixer" known as Bill "White Shoes" Johnson, and Vick about returning the watch. It took the TSA employee to attempt (not threaten, but attempt) to file charges against Vick and his crew to get his watch back. Mistake number two.

In 2006 Vick settled a lawsuit with a woman who contracted genital herpes from the quarterback when he neglected to mention to her that he had the sexually transmitted disease before getting down to business. It later came out in court documents filed by the woman that Vick had seeked treatment for the disease at a clinic under the name "Ron Mexico," which led the NFL to ban customizable jerseys with the name "Mexico" on the back. While not illegal, this incident is certainly a mistake and embarrassed the league and the Falcons, not to mention Vick. Mistake number three.

In 2006 Vick flipped off the home team's fans in the Georgia Dome after losing to the New Orleans Saints in November. Vick was fined $10,000 by the league and additionally donated $10,000 to charity. Mistake number four.

There were two other incidents - the water bottle incident and his missing an appointment on Capitol Hill - that were minor enough to be put into only one mistake (in my mind) instead of two separate ones. Mistake number five.

Which leads us to the most egregious of his mistakes, which, of course, was the dog fighting. In his "Summary of the Facts" associated with his guilty plea, Vick admitted that he participated in the murder of dogs who did not test well for fighting at the property in Virginia that he purchased for the cruel acts. This included hanging or drowning the dogs. Authorities also found what is called a "rape stand" on the property owned by Vick. Needless to say you have to be a pretty heartless and sick individual to participate in this kind of thing.

So when people say that NFL Commissioner Goodell is simply giving Vick a second chance, they could not be more wrong (unless they think that only felonies are mistakes). When you habitually display behavior such as Vick has and continue to screw up chance after chance, why continue to indulge him? I wouldn't allow him back after the dog fighting alone because it was premeditated and so heinous, but add in the horrible judgment and multiple chances to get a head on his shoulders that Vick ignored, and it becomes even harder to justify to allow him back into the league so he can make millions again. Peace.

Photos - Michael Vick on the field (Washington Post), Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner (Wikipedia)

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