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August 4, 2009

Steelers Interested in Michael Vick?

As a long-time Steelers fan, this doesn't necessarily thrill me, but not for the reasons you might think.

According to Pittsburgh's (evidently there are Examiners for 90 cities), The Pittsburgh Steelers are rumoured to be interested in signing Michael Vick, he of the infamous dog-fighting conviction. This article comes out strongly against the Steelers doing so, calling the idea of signing Vick a "disgrace."

But doesn't that go against everything we're supposed to believe in this country?

The article says:

There is no doubt that Vick is a great player, but his ethics and moral character make him a questionable person to be in the eye of the public in such a way as pro sports players are in our society. NFL players are idolized by fans and young athletes, and allowing Vick to continue playing football gives young impressionable minds the idea that if you're famous and you do something wrong, eventually it will be ok.

Don't get me wrong. I find what Vick did reprehensible, and I'm glad that he suffered for it. It's amazing how little crimes against animals seem to be punished, at least from news stories I've heard. People will get life in prison for murdering a person and maybe a year or two for murdering somebody's dog. I'm not saying they should be equal, but it's a bit disproportionate, don't you think?

Anyway, so I'm glad they threw the book at Vick.

However, the man has now paid his debt to society. Evidently, he has repented his sins, is trying to lead a clean life, and has even presented a plan to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicating how he's going to get his life back on track. Tony Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts and strong Christian, has talked with him and counseled him. If Vick is truly the new man that he purports to be, then why shouldn't he be forgiven? How is this a bad example that "if you're famous and you do something wrong, eventually it will be ok"?

Isn't that what our whole prison rehabilitation system is based on? You do your time, you reflect on what you've done and you try to become a better man for it? Just because it seems to so seldom work doesn't mean that we shouldn't give a guy a chance who seems to have honestly done that.

I'm not saying the Steelers should sign Vick. In fact, I don't want them to. I find Vick to be a one-dimensional quarterback who was always overrated because he was extremely fast and could run very well. He's always been a horrible passer with the occasional signs of greatness, and a very poor replacement for Ben Roethlisberger (who hopefully is innocent of the rape charge against him and thus would make that discussion moot).

But I wouldn't stop following the Steelers in disgust if they signed Vick. I'd just put away all hopes of another Super Bowl ring.

I'm also not saying that Vick shouldn't be watched to make sure he doesn't slide back into his old ways. But until he does, just like any convict who has been released from prison, shouldn't he be given the benefit of the doubt?

Otherwise, why not lock everybody away for life?


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