Quarterback Vick's return bittersweet

Michael Vick, arrested for dog fighting four years ago, is back, playing for the Eagles.

When late night television became a soap opera last year George Lopez, in reference to Conan O’Brien, said that the only thing America loves more than a happy ending is a big comeback.

That’s probably true. We love the story of someone down on their luck who turns their life around to regain past glory. Something in our psyche attracts us to the comeback story and we can’t help but cheer for the second rise of a fallen icon.

Normally, I love that about America. I usually love how we rally around someone who is trying to rebuild themselves. But I still can’t bring myself to cheer for Michael Vick.

Maybe it’s the heinousness of the crime. The idea of dog fighting and dog torturing for sport is too much to handle. Most of the time, athletes who make comebacks were injured or were substance abusers so they were only hurting themselves and not helpless animals.

Maybe it’s the lack of punishment he received. Vick’s prison sentence didn’t fit the crime. Murdering an animal in cold blood doesn’t bring a hefty legal penalty and it absolutely should.

Commentator Tucker Carlson suggested last week that Vick should have been executed for what he did. That may have been a tad extreme, but I certainly think his punishment should have been closer to execution than to two years in prison. The more helpless and kind the animal is, the longer you should suffer for killing them for sport.

Maybe it’s the lack of remorse. It seems like Vick is sorry, but only because dog fighting ruined his life. He’s sorry he messed up his career, not that he murdered animals.

But I think the biggest reason I can’t bring myself to cheer for Vick is that other people are cheering so loudly. Everyone seems to have forgotten how awful his crimes were. People are amazed at how well he’s playing football and aren’t looking past his MVP caliber play to see the man who committed atrocities less than five years ago.

They’re calling it a comeback and we all know how much this country loves comebacks. Vick was a promising young quarterback before he went to jail. He destroyed his image, and then rebuilt it by being that same quarterback. In other words, people rallied behind him because he’s fun to watch on the field, not because he redeemed himself.

You can’t redeem yourself on the field for something you did off the field. Or at least you shouldn’t be able to. It’s wrong.

If Vick had spent ten years working in animal shelters and giving half of his salary to animal rescue, and then played like a champion, I’d be bitter, but accepting. But the only thing he’s done beyond what the court ordered is play football really, really well.

Don’t cheer for Vick because he’s playing well. Don’t cheer for Vick because he’s made a “comeback.” If Vick had murdered a person in cold blood, gone to prison and then made it back to the NFL, would you still be cheering?

Or are you only willing to cheer for someone who murders man’s best friend? If it weren’t dogs, would it be worse? Or would you cheer for anyone who can run the Wildcat offense?

Murdering animals is sick. He didn’t get “caught up with the wrong crowd.” It wasn’t a one time thing. The same person you watched lead the Eagles on Sunday is the same person who killed dogs four years ago.
Everyone makes mistakes, but some people make bigger ones and some people make more. Vick is one of those people. His crimes are unforgivable and his acts of redemption have been shallow.

I won’t be cheering for Vick and you shouldn’t be either. He hasn’t redeemed himself. He hasn’t done anything except light up the stat sheet.
So whatever you do, don’t call it a comeback.


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