Does Vick deserve a second chance?
|08.14.09 at 11:08 am ET|
Music has a way of finding its way into sports. Whether it’s the techno that’s played following a goal in the NHL, the chorus of “ole, ole, ole, ole” sung by passionate soccer (or Canadiens) fans, or the crazy guy with the kazoo at Fenway, sport and song go hand-in-hand. The song for today? I’m thinking Vince Gill’s “One More Last Chance.”
With Michael Vick set to return to the field for the first time since 2006– and everyone talking about it– it’s the only logical choice.
After dogfighting charges in 2007 landed him behind bars and in home confinement for 23 months, Vick has signed a $1.6 million deal with the Eagles that at the very least will bring plenty of attention to Lincoln Financial Field. Tony Dungy says he’s a changed person, but is he really? More importantly, does it matter?
Earlier this morning, Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid sat at a podium with Vick and Dungy as the two legendary coaches discussed the reform that the scrambling quarterback has faced. As Dungy says that Vick wants to “be a role model for young kids,” how can one not shake their head? I’m not talking about writing off Vick’s quest to be a better person– everyone deserves a second chance, regardless of how many dogs they’ve neglected/killed– but is signing an NFL contract about being a good person?
This isn’t to say that the NFL is a league of criminals. Roger Goodell– love him or hate him– has done a fantastic job of flexing the league’s muscle on those who take advantage of their celebrity, but isn’t the game about what you do on the field? Philadelphia must have thought so if they were willing to take on the media storm that surrounds the acquisition.
Apparently the Eagles weren’t the only team that were interested in bringing in the ’01 top pick. The Bengals (shocker) were also willing to turn a blind eye to his criminal past and give Vick the second chance he had been looking for.
How have these things worked out in the past? The Cowboys famously brought in Adam “Pac Man” Jones via trade in April of ’08 and were burned when it turned out that he had more of a rap sheet than was initially thought. End result? Snip, snip. Last season, the Cowboys also took chance on defensive tackle Tank Johnson, of DUI/weapons/you-name-it fame. Johnson has since signed with the Bengals, a safe-haven for NFL wrong-doers. Now for a run-down on Cincinnati’s history with law-breaking players.
The Benga– ah, forget it. I’m pretty sure they’re in contact with the creators of 24 to find the guy who played Habib Marwan just so they can be that more dangerous.
In his introductory press conference, Vick said that prison helped him reach a turning point in his ways. Whether you want to believe that or not, it’s hell of a lot better than when Vick spoke in ’07 about the sacrifices he was prepared to make regarding the company he keeps.
“If I’ve got to be fishing or playing golf every day to keep myself away from everybody else, that’s what I’m gonna be doing,” Vick said.
Poor guy. At the very least Vick is displaying what could at least be interpreted as remorse.
It would be naive to think that nobody– whether it be PETA, angry Falcons fans, etc.– will criticize this move. However, now that Vick’s in Philadelphia, he has the support of at least 52 people. As far as Atlanta goes, those who invested money on No. 7 jerseys are licking their chops as they wait for Dec. 6.
What will the future hold for Vick? Will he make contributions as a receiver/back? Will the Eagles exercise pick up his option for a second season? Will he end up falling into old patterns and be the next Adam Jones? The questions are flying, and Vick has given the most important answer.
“You only get one shot at a second chance.”
So let’s operate under the assumption that Vick is just a football player. The man has paid his price, filed for bankruptcy, and wants to start anew. He may not be able to be a quarterback, but let’s at least give him the opportunity to be a professional.
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