I've been, I'll admit, dragging my feet. I've been obsessing because, to be honest, I'm torn.
But I had a revelation today.
Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, said, via his attorney on Monday, that he will plead guilty to federal charges of conspiracy associated with an illegal dogfighting operation that Vick participated in. Allegedly, Vick operated a Kennel-"Bad Newz Kennels"-from his multi-million dollar Virginia home. Vick is purported to have provided the operating and gambling funding for the operation. He's also said to have organized fights-in which dogs were often forced to fight to their death. Others indicted implicated him as an active participant in the euthanization of at least eight dogs (deemed unfit to fight), by strangling or drowning. Government agents who raided the home are said to have found, among other paraphernalia, muzzles, whips, cages, shocking devices, and "rape stands" (to which overly aggressive dogs were strapped and forced to breed).
Let me ask you: what is the sole purpose of a professional football player? It's NOT to win. It's not even, really, to do a great job at his position. It's, simply stated, to attract fans to their games (as well as to the television to WATCH their games). There are various methods of accomplishing this-including winning, doing a fantastic job as a quarterback, and even by acting outrageously on the field (like Terrell Owens)-but at the end of the day, what matters is attracting fans.
Some of you, partakers of this healthy, yet sumptuous, fare called MyndFood, have voted on my most recent poll. Of those who actually know who Vick is, the majority of you (around 60%) don't feel Vick deserves a second chance. It surprises me, actually, that the percentage isn't higher (for those who've followed this in the news, you know the public outcry has been HUGE). Which is ironic-considering the fact that, in 1998, Leonard Little, St. Louis Rams defensive end was driving, intoxicated, and caused an automobile accident, killing another motorist. He received a slap on the hand-90 days in jail, four years of probation, and 1000 hours of community service.
In 2004 he was again arrested for driving under the influence. He was acquitted of drunk driving, but was convicted of speeding.
He signed, in 2006, a three year contract extension with the Rams.
Which brings me around to my point. Do I think Vick deserves a second chance? Yes. Everyone deserves a second chance (and perhaps a third, fourth, fifth, twelfth...). Will he get one? Absolutely! If there's profit to be had (and it's not a bad thing folks-don't get me wrong), he'll be hired again in a heartbeat. That is, there will be 32 coaches, General Managers and owners out there WILLING to give him a second chance-but will only put their money where their mouth is if YOU, the voting public, will accept him, and support their team.
But I'm not sure if you will. Why? I can't say. Hypocritical, to say the least, considering Leonard Little's experience. But then, we Americans, have a skewed perspective. I asked a gentleman, in passing, whether or not Vick deserved a second chance and he said, "Absolutely not!" I asked him why not. He said because animals and children are helpless beings, and he feels no sympathy for Vick.
Apparently drivers killed when in vehicles that are hit by drunken drivers are NOT helpless. Do you see? It has nothing to do with animals being helpless, it has to do with the fact that we're desensitized-motorists killed by drunken drivers have become "normal" news fodder, and it doesn't affect us any more. On the other hand, drowned dogs and rape stands-that shocks and incenses us! No second chances!
I'm not asking you to change your stance. If you truly feel he's lost all value to society, and can never regain any status as a productive member of an NFL team, fine; I respect your opinion. But I AM asking you to re-evaluate your reasoning. If it's simply because you're shocked and dismayed, then think again.
I, for one, hope to see him on the field again.
By the way Michael: if you happen to be reading this, I think your best chance is with the Raiders...