I rarely miss CBS’ 60 Minutes and I’ll be sure to tune in this Sunday to watch James Brown’s interview with Michael Vick. Not that I need to wait until Sunday to find out what Michael says.
He’ll express remorse and apologize. Say that he learned his lessons and did a lot of thinking while in the pokey for 18 months. Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the U.S., will say how animals deserve to be treated better than what Vick did and it’s his company’s job to see to it that people realize that. And former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who is a special advisor to Vick, will say that Mike paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance in the NFL.
This, after all, is the country of second chances. We give them to murderers, rapists, robbers, drunk drivers, child abusers and white collar criminals. Why should Michael be denied the right to work when sports leagues have not banished other law-breakers from its rosters? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally re-instated Michael to play on July 27. Now the question is which owner will have the balls to sign him? Which team wants to endure PETA’s rabid picketers outside its practice facility and stadium for several weeks, maybe all season?
The other day a dear friend wanted to know my opinion on the Michael Vick situation because I’m a dog owner and a huge NFL fan. It’s not a question of whether a dog’s life is worth more than a human’s. I told her that I don’t care what has happened in the past with other athletes back on the court or field after breaking the law but at some point we have to stop giving athletes preferential treatment just because they can throw a football further, run faster or shoot a basketball with more accuracy than the rest of us. It sets a bad example for youth and it is why athletes continue to think they are above the law. It’s why Plaxico Burress thinks its OK to walk into a Manhattan nightclub packing a loaded weapon and stupidly shoots himself. It’s why Donte Stallworth gets behind the wheel of a car after smoking weed and drinking and kills a man in Miami. It’s why athletes rape women.
Chances are if I were convicted of bankrolling a dog fighting ring and participated in the killing of dogs that didn’t measure up by shooting, hanging, drowning or slamming them to the ground that I wouldn’t be hired by a company upon my release. So what’s Michael to do? Everyone deserves to earn a living. He’s in debt up to his ears and has already filed for bankruptcy. (Welcome to the real world!) There are plenty of ex-cons out there working and I’m sure Mike’s parole officer can direct him to a less high-profile business that will allow the former quarterback to earn a paycheck. It won’t bring him anywhere near the millions he once earned but we see what he did with that money didn’t we?