Jul 22, 2009
Michael Vick's sentence is over. Now what?
A few months ago I wrote about Michael Vick being released from prison, and asked whether or not he had paid a big enough price for what he had done. I talked in that about how, in my opinion, he had done his time and should be allowed back. I also pointed out how in the NFL, there were athletes who had killed PEOPLE and were still in the league, such as Leonard Little.
Since then, another NFL player killed someone with his car while drunk and with marijuana in his system, Donte Stallworth, and only got 30 days in jail, and will probably play either next year or the following.
So shouldn't Vick be allowed back in? Otherwise you basically say that killing animals is worse than killing people.
Now Vick is done with his sentence. He's no longer under electronic monitoring, and he's going to meet with Roger Goodell about his return to the league. Sources are saying that as long as Vick seems contrite and remorseful about what he did, then he'll be let back in as long as he stays out of trouble.
I listen to a lot of sports talk radio, and on ESPN, All Night host Jason Smith set up a convincing argument for why he believes that Vick HAS to be suspended prior to coming back. He said that if you or I went to prison for 20 months and came back, is our job going to be there waiting for us? Probably not, Smith said. In fact, he jokingly said that they probably wouldn't even answer our calls.
And I agree to a point. But this is where I respectfully disagree with Smith.
True, if I worked at a restaurant (for example) and I got arrested for running a dog fighting ring, or some other felony, and went to prison for nearly two years, once I was done with my sentence, I more than likely may not get my old job back. Especially if they KNEW what I had done.
However, I COULD get a job in my chosen profession. So if my chosen profession was to be a cook, I could get another job at another restaurant. So if I was no longer being hired by Chilis, I could go to Pargos or Applebees or whatever, and more than likely get a job, as long as they were cool with my criminal record. I wouldn't necessarily be blackballed from the restaurant industry for what I had done.
Now let's look at Vick. His old job, as the Quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, is unavailable. Owner Arthur Blank has said so, plus they have their quarterback of the future, in Matt Ryan. So, no, Vick's old job is not available due to what he did.
However, he IS free to get a job in his chosen profession, which is professional football, specifically the National Football League.
Why should be be prevented from coming back immediately and starting for a team (not likely) or backing up another quarterback (more likely)?
If you want Vick to be treated like you or me or whoever, as Smith said, then he should be allowed back without suspension.
Because if we get arrested, go away for 2 years and come back afterwards to another job, the head of the Restaurant industry (if there was one) wouldn't be saying "you have to wait six months before coming back".
And therein lies the essential problem with this argument, which I've heard from more than just Smith. Vick's not in a situation like you or I. The work industry you are in, more than likely doesn't have someone overseeing all the businesses that controls who gets hired and who has to serve suspensions before coming back to work.
It's up to the individual businesses to decide whether or not to hire you. And same with Vick.
It's up to the individual teams to decide who if anyone will hire him. Goodell's job is to dole out punishment to those who step out of line. Vick was already suspended and barred from even going to the stadium before his trial. He went to prison for 20 months, and he has lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
He's going to have PETA, that organization that supports terrorism, on his ass no matter WHO hires him because let's be honest here, this is more attention than PETA's had in awhile.
They're gonna milk this for as much as it's worth, which is less than they'll make it out to be.
The man has paid his debt to society, according to how this country is set up. Let the man get back on with his life, and his career.