The NFL, as a whole, has an oddly forgiving fanbase.
If you get charged with domestic assault, they’ll give you another chance. Abuse your children? You’re given another chance. Did hardcore drugs? All is forgiven and you even get rewarded with a Hall of Fame induction.
Get suspended multiple times for drugs or performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)? They’ll welcome you back with open arms. Time and time again we see this in the NFL.
But somehow, dog-fighting is the moral high ground NFL fans want to stand on.
Michael Vick, the once electrifying mobile quarterback, who came in before the Cam Newtons, Lamar Jacksons, and Russell Wilsons of the world, is getting a raw deal in my eyes. The guy who made Atlanta Falcons football a must-watch, not because the teams were always loaded, but because people were that interested in seeing what he’d do next.
Hands down the best quarterback to use in Madden.
For those who are too young to have watched him play, there weren’t many weeks where he didn’t have one of ESPN’s Top 10 plays. Picture Lamar Jackson with even more speed, and even more elusiveness –– that’s Michael Vick.
After being named a Pro Bowl Captain this year, the public response has been nothing short of harsh. In fact, there are already over 200,000 signatures on a petition to change that.
Not that I condone dog-fighting or abusing animals in any way, shape, or form. As a dog owner, I think it’s disgusting and despicable. But he served his time and came back into the league a fraction of his former self, albeit to mixed receptions in every stadium he played in.
That should be more than enough punishment, don’t you think?
In the society where we are all about second chances and, in some cases, third and fourth chances, why is he not deserving of one in so many people’s opinions.
A few examples that come to mind.
A wide receiver has been battling substance abuse since he came into the league. He’s served multiple suspensions, some even labeled indefinite. But here he is on his umpteenth chance.
A future Hall of Fame running back was suspended after being charged with abuse against his own child but is back to being loved by the fans.
Are children less important than dogs? How many players have been suspended for PEDs? But teammates and fans alike are willing to turn the other cheek and welcome them back with open arms.
The greatest linebacker to ever play in the NFL admitted to using cocaine regularly while he was still playing. He was also accused of soliciting a minor, but he is still adored by millions of fans.
A quarterback was accused of two counts of rape, but still remains adored by fans, and has been backed by his organization.
DeflateGate, defensive coordinators implementing a bounty program against opposing quarterbacks, the list goes on and on for those that were forgiven and forgotten.
But not Michael Vick.
But Vick is being held to a different standard, but are we certain that no other player in the NFL, past or present, hasn’t done the same thing but wasn’t caught? Football aside, all of us have done something wrong at one time or another, but we are forgiven by family and friends.
Vick, while he doesn’t deserve to have what he did ever be forgotten, deserves the same forgiveness as we give to others. Whether it’s a football player, a friend, a relative, whoever, let the man be a part of the NFL.