Friday, August 14, 2009
What Now, Eagles Fans?
If you're a sports fan, you've heard by now. Ex-con Michael Vick is a Philadelphia Eagle. As the above press conference shows, Mike is contrite and feels gratification [sic] for his second chance, and wants to make up for his cruelty to animals and he realizes that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.
Except we know this is all bullshit, right? I mean, yes, he's happy he's getting a chance to play in the NFL again, but do we really believe he feels remorse for his actions? Come on. He knew dog fighting was wrong before, and he knows now. He's not going to do it again, but probably because it screwed up his life so much and not because a year and a half of quiet reflection made him realize that torturing and fighting dogs for sport is morally bankrupt.
But does it matter? The reality is, the man has served his time. A judge decided a fair punishment and he paid it. Shouldn't he have the right to now reintegrate into society? Does it matter that he was convicted for animal torture rather than rape or murder?
Interestingly, some people feel that Vick is MORE vilified because of a crime against an an animal vs. a human rather than less. I'm not in that camp. I felt much more disgust when people were throwing money at Mike Tyson after he served his rape stretch than I do now. But in both cases, a guy who has done his time does have a right to try to make a living. The fact that this is easier for athletes than for say, construction workers may be frustrating, but it's still true.
By the same token, no one is obligated to support the move. If your local bakery decides to employ a convicted rapist after he is released, you have every right not to buy your cakes there. On the other hand, you're probably on iffy ethical grounds if you stand outside the store picketing to try to put the baker out of business unless he fires said employee.
Michael Vick is in the same position. He has every right to try to get a job, and the Eagles have every right to hire him. If you don't like it, you probably shouldn't go to Eagles games or buy his jersey. On the other hand, in an ironic twist, many people will probably be watching more Eagles games to see if Vick will fail, or if a linebacker will deliver a punishing hit for all the dog lovers out there.
Most likely, after a few weeks playing in the NFL, once the novelty has worn off, the story will fade and it will be business as usual, at least, until the next ex-con gets awarded his multi-million dollar deal.