May 21, 2009

Vick, the NFL, and Second Chances

"Does he deserve a second chance?"

Ultimately, that's the question that hangs over the head of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell has mentioned that he'll consider reinstating Vick only if Vick shows true remorse for his crimes, that he exhibits he has learned from his mistakes, and is willing to lead a better lifestyle befitting a man in such a high-profile role as NFL athlete.

I'm a dog guy. Anyone who knows me knows of my love of, and passion for, dogs. Through all of time, mankind has never created a bond with an animal quite the way we have with dogs.

In the world which we know, among the different and primitive geniuses that preside over the evolution of the several species, there exists not one, excepting that of the dog, that ever gave a thought to the presence of man. ~Maurice Maeterlinck

Dogs have served us in many role: On the battlefield, sniffing out landmines and other explosives; in the wilderness, tracking down missing people and escaped criminals; after a disaster, searching for victims buring in rubble; on the streets, guiding the blind; on the farm, herding cattle, sheep, and other livestock. They love without conditions, have courage without ferocity, serve without expectation of reward, and are loyal without question. They have virtues we wish we had.

Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ~ Roger Caras

Being a dog guy, I find the concept of making a dog fight to be abhorrent. I find the idea of killing a dog because "It didn't fight well enough" to be more so. Would that we could apply the same logic to, say, NFL Quarterbacks: "Jeez, Michael, but you were only 10-28 today, for 117 yards, no TDs, and two picks. Best get right with Jesus, and be quick about it. Sorry, but that's how it is."

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~Mark Twain

We won't do that, of course. A dog is just a dog, and there's thousands of them waiting in shelters, ready to be taken in. We also have a double standard regarding animals. Those who would be quick to condemn the idea of dog fighting have no hesitation biting into steak and eggs for breakfast, or a bacon cheeseburger for dinner. Killing a cow or pig is socially and morally acceptable. Killing a dog is not. Why?

(For the record, I like bacon cheeseburgers, steak and eggs, and chicken wings, so I'm as guilty of the hypocrisy as anyone else.)

Then there's that whole sanctity of human life thing we hold so dear in our country.

Yet our country also holds dear another principle: Redemption. Second chances. Making right by your past mistakes. Paying your debt to society and moving on in life. Becoming a better person.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

It's possible that some folks won't ever get past this event. If Vick gets picked up by a team, they'll have to deal with PETA protesters at every game. There will be signs held aloft, shouts of "Dog Killer!" through a bullhorn, and so on and so forth. These protesters will punish the team for doing what is a basic American concept: Giving someone a second chance.

Does Vick deserve a second chance? I'd have to say he does, even if his crime was, in my mind, rather heinous. I can't deny him the chance to redeem himself, make it right, and learn from the error of his ways anymore than I could deny the same chance to anyone else. Vick had his chance with the legal system. He was sentenced to punishment by that legal system, and completed the requirements of that punishment as laid out by the legal system. He did what America requested of him. Now, America has to uphold it's end of the bargain, and let the man have a second chance. Commissioner Goodell has to uphold that promise as well.


Ambulance Driver said...

You know what I used to do for a living.

Michael Vick has a lot of penance to do before he's redeemed in my eyes, but I'm willing to give him the chance.

Personally, the only thing I find more morally repugnant than Michael Vick is the idea of PETA protesting him at every game.

In the pantheon of dog killers, PETA ranks far higher than Michael Vick ever could.

Bob said...

On the condition that he never own a dog again, I'm willing to give him another chance.