Should Michael Vick Be Given Another Second Chance?

Yesterday, I gave you my opinion about football players who are currently facing charges of rape (I don’t think they should be allowed to play). Today, we find out that Michael Vick — he of the infamous dogfighting charges — has signed a deal to be a spokesman for sports clothing company Unequal apparel.

Suprisingly enough, the president of Unequal tells CNN that he’s a dog owner…but also a Christian:

“As a dog owner, I know the love of a pet…But as a Christian, I believe that people can repent and deserve a second chance.”

If you want my opinion, Vick has already been given a second chance — a fucking multimillion dollar second chance, courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles. And I’m also a dog owner, and I’m pretty appalled that someone with a dog would want to see the face of someone who once killed dogs viciously for sport endorsing their company.

But that’s just me. I think what’s really getting to me about this whole Vick, Roethlisberger etc. situation is this: there are a shockingly high number of criminally violent football players. Is that surprising, given that they’ve been rewarded their whole lives for being uber-aggressive to the point of violence? Not really. But it is disturbing that so many innocent people and animals are paying the price for the absurdly high value that our society (and yes, primarily men) place on an aggressively macho, hero-worshiping game.

My question is, when are the lives and safety of those people (and dogs) going to be put first? When is something going to be done to curb a culture that not only endorses but encourages this kind of behavior?

By the way, if you want to see what the dogfighting of Michael Vick hath wrought in order to help guide you in answering this question, just google his name. But be forewarned, the images are gruesome.

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    • Lindsay Cross

      As someone who really loves watching football, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Because as much as I love the sport and my team and Sundays screaming at the TV with my husband, I really hate the culture that the NFL has created. I hate that a reporter doing her job should have to endure harrassment, and the world will call it her own fault for being attractive. I hate that domestic violence charges are so incredibly common in the NFL, and yet so totally ignored. I hate that a player from my home team was accused of sexual assault in April of 2010, and I never even learned about it until I started researching the NFL players’ criminal charges.

      But the most surprising thing for me is that women make up 44% of the NFL’s fanbase. They know this. They expanded their women’s clothing lines, they started marketing bath salts and lotions. Yet, the league ignores the fact that its players abuse and assault women at rate much higher than the population at large. If the NFL really wants to reach out to its female viewership, I’d prefer some honest reflection and steeper punishments, not a cuter, tighter jersey.

    • macalny

      I am also a woman who loves football. I look forward to watching games, to the camaraderie of being with others who are as excited as I am to see how the game will turn out, the cheering for a good play, the disappointment I can share with others who understand when a beloved team or player doesn’t play well. And yet I agree with Lindsay in her comment about the culture the NFL has created. Violent behavior is rewarded and certain behavior is overlooked. And the NFL sure is courting women with all they’ve got these days.

      As for these two men in particular, I abhor what both Vick and Roethlisberger did, but I have to say that at least Vick has acknowledged his transgressions. He went to jail, he’s paid fines, he is doing community service and putting in time to make amends. Ben has not had to do these things because he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. What I keep coming back to is that we live in a country that is governed as a democracy. We grant our fellow citizens the right to a trial by a jury of their peers and we offer people parole and probation, yet we can be hesitant to accept that they’ve paid their debt. Why? This legal system is the one we’ve got and if someone commits a crime, ‘pays’ for it in the way the court system tells them to, and then gets a job and happens to be awesome at their job, why do we begrudge them success?

      Lastly, consider that if Vick was your average, blue collar joe working an assembly line making minimum wage no one would care that he got his old job back. This argument is also about the fact that he makes a lot of money (when *all* pro athletes make a ridiculously disproportionate amount of money for what they do) and is in the public eye. People hate seeing someone make a mistake and then succeed. Pure and simple. We LOVE to see someone fall from grace in this country as it makes the rest of us feel less bad about the fact that we’re not as successful or wealthy.

    • Tracy

      I personally have forgiven Michael Vick. He has paid and is still paying his dues. He says that he’s repented. Unless he does the crime again, you can’t tell for sure what’s in a person’s heart, but I will take him on his word.

      I know people who are brought up having no respect for animals. That’s where he’s from. Hopefully after all he’s been through, he can empathize with any pain an animal can experience.

      I could be wrong and I won’t ever forget what he did, but I think it would be better if he were judged on his current actions and everyone move on.

      Rapistburger is another story entirely.

    • Outshined

      We love to reward people for bad behavior. Charlie Sheen is the highest paid person on television. Snooki is a NYT list author. It seems the worse they are, the more they’re paid. Decline of civilization. And yes, that made me sound old.

    • GoodChristian

      Glad to hear the owner of Unequal is a Christian. Gotta love him! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth….oh, wait a second, that would mean Michael Vicks should have his teeth pulled out and should be burned to death. Hmmm. Love the way Unequal’s president has picked ONE biblical homily to excuse Michael Vick’s behavior. What about, um, biblical justice?