Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So how should we treat Michael Vick?

Michael Vick was released today from prison, allowed to serve the final two months of his sentence from Hampton, Va. home, where he will be permitted to participate in a work release program, earning $10 per hour at a construction company. So the question is how do we treat Vick following what some perceive as a heinous crime of dogfighting and dog torture?

While I believe his crime was reprehensible and cruel for those innocent dogs, many of whom are used a means of some men trying to justify their manhood, Vick didn't inflict any harm on a human being, didn't slap his girlfriend, didn't kill anyone driving drunk or any other of the inexcusable crimes committed by many athletes who not only didn't serve jail time but are free to play in the NFL or NBA or MLB. We have to ask ourselves, was Vick the victim of a society that was looking to make a rich, arrogant and callous black man pay for his stupidity and viciousness with animals? The answer is yes. In Seattle, two teenagers received 36-week stints and another 72 weeks in a juvenile facility for beating to death a middle-aged man who played the tuba in front of every major Seattle sporting event.

Vick served 19 months, lost more than $200 million and a significant chunk of his career for dogfighting. We definitely know Vick won't be the grand marshal at the Westminster Dog Show or a spokesman for Purina, but we should embrace the man because he served his punishment and hopefully will change his life and is ready to atone for his sins. Let's allow him that right and provide him the second chance we all deserve for our mistakes. And maybe he can provide us some more thrills on the football field and prevent youngsters from following in his footsteps.

Vick's playbook is rather ambitious, yet he is capable of doing a lot more than scoring touchdowns. Let's root him on.