Monday, January 3, 2011

Giving Michael Vick a Second Chance

Michael Vick was a star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons until he was convicted of running a vicious dog fighting operation. After serving 19 months in federal prison, he sought reinstatement to the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodel decided that Vick had showed the requisite remorse and reinstated him to the league in 2009.

This year Vick suddenly catapulted back up to the top of the game, even better than before. He’s a candidate for the league MVP award after leading the Philadelphia Eagles into the playoffs. President Obama, in a recent statement, praised Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie for giving Vick a second chance.

The president’s statement should not have been controversial. He said that “individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again.”

Vick seems to be doing that. He has not just gone back to his old ways. Instead, he has done volunteer work for the Humane Society and other animal rights groups since leaving prison,

But critics were still quick to pounce, saying Vick hasn’t really paid for his crime. Bill Smith, founder of an animal rescue organization in Philadelphia, is one of these. Last season, he took the perverse action of collecting food for animal shelter every time Vick was sacked while trying to pass.

What does Vick have to do to satisfy such critics? Even self-immolation probably wouldn’t be enough for those so opposed to rehabilitation.

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