Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great article - Couldn't have said it better

Detroit Free Press

We're a forgiving people, just not a forgetful one.

There will never be a clean slate for Michael Vick, nor should there be. His apologists equate his release from federal prison sometime today as washing away the stains of his heinous transgressions. Punitive debt paid, he's somehow owed the opportunity to continue his high life before the feds exposed his sordid sub-life.

Think again.

Vick doesn't walk out of prison a football player. He's a convicted felon.

Vick has a right to make a living, but playing in the NFL remains a special privilege dutifully earned. Vick has the right to prove that he's reformed, that he's grown from his mistakes. But the NFL isn't constitutionally bound to provide him with that platform.

Immediately reinstating Vick to the NFL upon completion of his two-month house arrest in July would be an ill-advised business move for the league.

Is Vick truly appreciative of all he's lost? Prove it now that he's out of jail. Have him spend another year as an average layman earning modest wages trying to make ends meet. Test his tenacity in maintaining his football conditioning while working a regular 9-to-5 job. Give him a real taste of what second chances at redemption are for the rest of us who don't run a 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds or rifle a football 70 yards. Perhaps the additional humility wipes away the last vestige of celebrity entitlement and Vick emerges as a truly repentant individual.

His problem is that he will never shake the loathsome portrait conveyed in the federal government's case, chronicling how he and his associates choked, hung and even electrocuted pit bulls because they weren't mean enough to win dogfights.

The issue isn't the value of a human life compared to an animal. The issue is strictly criminal intent.

NFL defensive end Leonard Little got drunk following a birthday party, got behind the wheel of a car and tragically took the life of an innocent woman in another car in 1998. Little pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He served 90 days in jail and resumed his professional career.

Why should Little get another chance in the NFL while Vick forever sits since Vick "only killed dogs?"

But it wasn't Little's intention to deliberately take another life when he took the wheel that night.

If it was, prosecutors could've charged him with first-degree murder and, if convicted, he'd remain in prison to this day.

You cannot look at Vick's situation through Little's legal prism.

You cannot escape the premeditated viciousness of Vick torturing and killing animals for a number of years under the guise of an underground business enterprise. It was no accident, no instance of criminally poor judgment. It was a savagely calculated plan.

You cannot forget that. Ever.

But the onus for turning the page rests predominantly on those still outraged over Vick's deeds. They should just "get over it." Let the man live his new life. Let him play NFL football.

But the latter two points are mutually exclusive.

If Vick and his cadre of sycophants still only measure his self-worth as strictly a football player at the outset of his new life, then he's learned nothing from the last two years. There will be no genuine remorse for his actions, only a perceived victim's contempt for his persecutors.

Vick will have every opportunity to show all that he's a new person possessing a new moral compass, but that has absolutely nothing to do with him taking another NFL snap.


Anonymous said...

The only problem I have with this write up is the lack of forgiveness. People in all walks of life ask for forgiveness. Children who have lied to their parents, people who have stolen, couples who have cheated on each other, druggies whose addictions have wrecked lives, people who ruin lives with financial scams. All of these people ask for forgiveness and are given it by God fearing Christians. What is the difference with this NFL star?
Dont he deserve forgiveness?
It appears you love love dogs and I can understand why you would rant about this but I only hope that when you have asked for forgiveness, you were not as cold as you sound towards Vick.

gjwriter said...

I agree, and the article clearly states we are a forgiving people. I forgive him. I don't like him. I most certainly don't like what he did. I also agree with the article that there was absolute criminal intent. I read the indictment. This operation ran for seven years. This was not some random, special case one time dog fight. This was a business, and these dogs were victims of a horrendous, heinous crime. I am not trying to be cold. However, this was a man with an incredible future at his disposal and he blew it for a $2,700 purse per fight. My question remains, who would do that? Now we know. I have had much in my life to ask forgiveness for. There are those who have been terrific, understanding people and have forgiven, and there are some incredibly harsh individuals who won't. I do the best I can to make amends, but in the end I have to move on. I hope Vick does the same regardless of what I or anyone else says. On another note, here is the truth. This man is a celebrity, and with it comes a certain responsibility. He has a tremendous opportunity here to live the conviction of his remorse that he has expressed, and be an aide in stopping these heinous crimes from continuing. We consider ourselves a civilized society. Civilized people don't behave this way. We have a responsibility to treat those around us, including animals with kindness, compassion and respect. Humans tamed dogs centuries ago, and they trust us, to that end, I believe very strongly we owe them a responsibility to care for them in a gentle and loving manner, sadly dog fighting is not the only form of abuse heaped on these creatures that provide us with unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

The article also clearly states that "You cannot forget that. Ever". From your remarks, you seem to want to forgive him but the article you put in here says "You cannot forget that. Ever." Which is it already??
I can tell your a woman. My exwife thought her dog also unconditionally loved her. Do not want to rain on your parade, but all domesticated animals "love" you as long as you feed them

gjwriter said...

Forgetting is not a requirement for forgiveness. Most men missed that class.