Is Michael Vick Really a Bad Man?

I received a last minute phone call, on this past Saturday, to be a guest on “Talking Right with Raynard Jackson”, a radio show in Washington D.C., which airs on the U.S. Talk Network on Saturdays from 7-9:00 p.m. (EST). I was asked to give my assessment of the recent signing of QB Michael Vick signing from a front-office perspective.  What made the call all the more interesting was that I was paired on the call with a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

I am a proponent of people having an opinion and being able to voice that opinion, but please be respectful of others in making that opinion. The PETA representative referred to Vick as a “bad man” for what he did do the dogs under his care. While I do not agree with the acts of Vick and his associates, it is not just cause to call Vick a “bad man”. He may have committed a “bad act”, but should not be considered a “bad man”. She went on to say Vick was predisposed to commit future bad acts as a continued “bad man”, based on the behavior he showed with his actions towards the dogs.

C’mon now! Are you serious?

At what point are we going to allow Vick to move on with his life after serving his time in prison and become a productive citizen? I think if Vick were the average citizen, he would not receive as much of the backlash he is getting at this time. However, he is not the average citizen and is now in a position to make $1,000,000 as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. If he were not in a position of making a large salary on the same stage he made millions of dollars before he landed in prison, I am not sure many would be making as much of a fuss as they are today.

I am not proud of everything I have done in my past, but I have no regrets being that each experience, good and bad, has made me in to the man in am today. Who is to say Vick feels no different than the previous assessment? He served his time and said he is sorry; what more will it take to allow him to show his remorse for what he ahs done?

Professional athletes are often held to a different standard by society, but they are just as human as the rest of us and many have made mistakes and will continue to make them. Vick does not have a right of passage to play in the NFL, but also should not be denied an opportunity to make a living if someone is willing to pay him a salary to do a job. Despite what many people think who have never played the game at the professional level, it s J.O.B., not just a game.

The sports industry is measured by wins and losses; it is that simple.  A coach has to win in order to keep his job, but ownership it held to a different standard of making its fans and corporate sponsors happy. If Michael Vick is a player that the head coach feels can help him win games in order to keep his job, which makes fans happy and ultimately results in ownership making money, then there is a delicate balance regarding the decision that has to be made by ownership as to whether the risk and or backlash in the beginning outweighs the end result of winning games in the end.

Only time will tell and no one knows what lies ahead for Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, but when it comes to grading players in the vacuum of sports, the player is first measured by his ability to play; second, his medical history; and third, his character. If you keep that simple formula in mind when looking at a player, it is much easier to understand the decisions that are made at the professional ranks, which helps to better understand why the Buffalo Bills will take a chance on WR Terrell Owens, why the Los Angeles Lakers will take a chance on F Ron Artest, and why the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay big dollars in taking a chance OF Manny Ramirez.

As long as a person’s favorite team is winning, it is a lot easier to overlook the antics of any one player off the field, no matter how devastating they may be, short of full blown murder (for the record, murder is homicide committed with malice. Homicide is the illegal killing of a human being, not wild or domestic animals). I give the benefit of the doubt that he is a changed man with his new found second chance, but if he ruins his opportunity this time, he has no one to blame but himself.

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