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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trusting—but verifying.













What did I say? You people don’t listen, do you. DO YOU. *shakes head that nobody listens* The Vick Saga™ raises another issue beyond animal cruelty but is deeply connected: Namely, how much are fans willing to overlook and tolerate if it means their team has a shot at winning?

You saw it with Bonds and San Francisco. How much of the outcry actually came from Giants’ fans? When it comes to Vick, teams will line up to take a chance—because they always do. Especially with a game-changer like Vick.

There’s always that GM or coach who thinks they can fix a troubled player because they have the answer. Lawrence Philips anyone? Maybe he didn’t have a tutor? Michael Vick will. Under the guidance of Tony Dungy, Vick will emerge a new man. Interesting though is this notion that league officials want to be alerted over any signs that Vick has fallen off the wagon. The flaw in that thinking?

Nobody had a clue before.


What makes the league think they would now. Nothing he did on the field gave anyone a hint as to what was going on off it. As it is with any player. Think of all the troubled athletes over the years and then draw a correlation to their playing. Could you tell a difference just by looking at them? (Many players with outside problems have said that their playing actually offers them an escape from it all because they can tune out the fans and media.)

The behavior Vick exhibited with animals though is more than a gambling problem or drug addiction fixed by a 12-step and weloveyouvention. That’s the kind of stuff you don’t just easily forget. If I were a cynic, I might think he looked at jail time as a means to build cred because he know coming out teams will still want him.

Based on recent stories about dog fighting busts, it’s not an isolated problem. Vick just happened to get caught. So that’s the other question you need to ask before the upcoming PR blitz. The one where him and cast members from The View share hugs and tears because he’s learned his lesson.

But is he truly sorry—or sorry he got caught? And if he could help bring your team a Super Bowl victory, what would you say then?

(Image via.)

4 comments:

adchick said...

So, people CAN change. But the NFL would do well to rid itself of people of this caliber. Victory is sweet, but it feels cheap when a jerk like this is behind it. The Bears may sign Plaxico Burris...another nimrod.

Bob Knorpp, @thebeancast said...

Talk about losing Twitter followers, Bill...but here I go...

I love dogs. And yes, he broke the law by hurting dogs. He went to jail and paid the price for his actions. But what I'm asking myself is why do we continue to feel the need to make him pay for these actions for the rest of his life?

I mean as much as love animals, I'm a realist. Most of the rest of the world (truly, most of it) would sooner eat a dog than to give it a bed and dress it up as Lincoln on President's day.

Let's look at this in the scheme of things. As cruel as we feel his actions were, our need for vengeance is misguided. I say give him a second chance. If he screws up again, then let's shun him in good ol' American Puritanical fashion. But until then, I'm pretty sure we can all look into our own pasts and find some pretty ugly, dark secrets that we've excused away. So I think we can find it in our hearts to forgive a guy who got a little misguided and hurt some Chinese farmer's lunch...or what we like to call "man's best friend."

Michael Maurillo @mikemookie said...

One of the questions I asked myself the moment this happened and the debate began as to whether Vick would ever play in the NFL again was, "would I hire him to work for me?"

The answer is quite simply no. This wasn't about betting on a single dog fight, or even multiple fights. This was about running an entire dog fighting operation. It was organized, well-funded and successful. A lot of time and effort was put into it without a moment of stopping to think, hmmm, maybe this isn't a good idea. That to me speaks to the deepest roots of a person character, not to the one-off lapses of judgment that we all, as humans, have on a more regular basis than we all would like to admit.

Having a job, no less playing a professional sport, is privilege, not a right. The way he gets a second chance is by earning a second chance, not by just "serving time." There may be examples that I am not aware of, but I haven't seen enough from Michael Vick to show me he has taking steps to give back so much of what he took away.

What would do it for me? Doing community service for an entire year while NOT playing in the league. No camp, no preseason, no benefits whatsoever from the NFL. He's on his own to prove he can be part of the solution. His efforts get evaluated by a review board made up of league officials, coaches and players (maybe even fans?). Upon approval, he can only then come back to the NFL and try out for a team. Maybe, MAYBE, even my team... maybe.

Anonymous said...

I think your wrong. If Vick could pay the debt to those dogs. He would. I gaurantee it 100 percent, but the fact is he can not. I'm sure the murderers and manslaughter people who are in jail would wish they could take it back. Vick did what the justice system said he should do. 23 months. If you think he should have gotten more, then blame the justice system, not vick. He is being proactive. He grew up with dogfighting, he did not know any better. HE started when he was eight and grew up with it. I'm not saying it was ok for him to do what he did, but I can understand why. I forgive him, and all you so called "against dogfighting" proactive people who 65 percent of you didnt really pay attention to dogfighting before vick and now all of a sudden hate him just because you have a dog and like dogs should forgive him too. If you really cared you would have been fighting this crime all along. Not just bringing it up now.