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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Vick deserves a second chance

Two weeks ago, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was released from prison and placed under house arrest. After spending 18 months in federal custody for his involvement in a brutal dog-fighting ring, Vick wants to return to his multi-million dollar career as a Pro-Bowl caliber football player. As heinous as this athlete’s crimes against animals were, America is a land of second chances. If Vick shows an appropriate amount of remorse for his crimes, the NFL and its fans should allow him to resume his career.
When Vick’s guilt seemed assured two years ago, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the star athlete indefinitely. Goodell has suspended many marquee players for various infractions with the law in an effort to clean up the league’s image. These suspensions usually apply to millionaire athletes like running back Marshawn Lynch, whose numerous infractions for illegal weapons and a hit and run can not be seriously punished by a court fine.
While this effort to prevent star athletes from being above the law is a noble endeavor, a year and a half in federal prison is hardly a slap on the wrist. If reinstated for the upcoming season, it would be unrealistic to expect Vick to perform at the same level he did before prison. The sentence served to derail his promising career by preventing participation in two years of workouts and practices necessary to compete at an NFL level. There is no guarantee that Vick will ever be the franchise quarterback he was before he unraveled his career by getting involved with dog fighting.
Vick has already been punished appropriately for his crimes, there is no need for the NFL to send a message by continuing a sentence after prison. Although Vick’s cruel treatment of animals is despicable, it can not compare to taking a human life. Multiple Pro-Bowl winning linebacker Ray Lewis’ questionable involvement in a 2000 Super Bowl stabbing neither earned a suspension nor caused a public outcry. Lewis continued his career with merely a $250,000 fine from the league.
Furthermore, the league and public was not as shocked by wide receiver Donte Stallworth’s D.W.I. accident that caused the death of an elderly man, as by Vick’s crimes. Sadly, it would appear that fans have become more concerned with the murder of pets than of people.
As terrible as Vick’s crimes were, he deserves to attempt to rehabilitate and rebuild his life. Already the former quarterback has met with the U.S. Humane Society in an effort to be a part of the campaign against dog fighting. Undoubtedly much of the money earned from re-entering NFL will be donated by Vick to various animal rights associations to make amends.
Americans and the NFL should be willing to give Vick the opportunity to change his ways and continue his life, in the same way they have forgiven the crimes of other players. Vick’s suspension should be lifted by Goodell and football fans should tolerate his presence on the field as long as the superstar shows proper remorse.

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