Last week it was reported that Michael Vick had signed a one year deal to become the backup quarterback in Pittsburgh for the Steelers. It seemed like a smart move for both given Big Ben’s tendency to get injured and that Vick is still skilled enough to be a serviceable backup, not to mention his strong veteran presence in the locker room. Although it might not seem like a “breaking news” story, several Steeler fans were trying to make it one; and certainly not a positive one at that.
For those who are unaware, Vick was suspended from the NFL in 2007 and served a 21 month jail sentence for an illegal dogfighting ring. He was reinstated by the league in 2009.
Steeler fans throughout Pittsburgh are outraged that the organization would sign Vick given his troubled past. Season ticket holders are claiming that they will boycott home games until Vick is released by the team. Most of the fans that were interviewed admitted to being dog lovers and stated (paraphrasing) that Vick’s philanthropic work and rehabilitated image was nothing more than a PR stunt and it’s impossible for someone who did such cruel things to animals to change.
Now, before I go into a rant, I want to make a few things clear:
1) I’m a dog lover and have been my entire life.
2) What Vick did was reprehensible and he deserved the punishment that he received
3) Vick served his time and has been a model citizen since his reinstatement
Given the way that they’re acting, those Steeler fans who are “outraged” over the signing of Vick are hypocrites. Maybe they forgot, but their starting quarterback was charged with sexual assault in 2009 and again in 2010. Not to mention, he was suspended for the first six games in 2010 without pay for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. So let’s all try and follow along with season ticket holders in Pittsburgh. If you plead guilty to dog fighting, serve your sentence, and come back rehabilitated you shouldn’t be allowed to play on their team. However, if you are accused of sexual assault two years in a row for two different cases and are suspended from the league for violating their personal conduct policy, you’re welcome play.
I’ll never forget what Vick did to those dogs but I forgive him. Who the hell am I to judge him, especially after he served his punishment and has done numerous things to try and make amends for his past transgressions? Even if his charitable work is a publicity stunt, he’s still paying for his crimes and it’s something that will follow him for the rest of his life. I can appreciate that there are many dog lovers who have a hard time with what Vick did, but the man served his time and deserves to be given another chance to prove that he’s a better man.
To all those who can’t find it in their heart to forgive Vick and move on, I’ll end with this; I feel sorry for you. I hope that you never make a huge mistake that affects those in your life and look to others for forgiveness and there’s none to be given. That would be truly unfortunate.