Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pouring Water on a Drowning Man

Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. His detractors are preparing to protest wherever he goes. Vick has served his time and now it is time to leave him alone. His crimes were horrific, but in this country once you do your time you should be able to come out of the prison system and make a living. He has been punished and he will continue to be punished. Judge Henry E. Hudson sentenced Michael Vick to 23 months in prison -- exceeding the 12-18 months that prosecutors recommended. It was surprisingly severe for a first-time criminal, charged with crimes that some observers believe are routinely ignored by law enforcement officers, and whom prosecutors recommended not be sentenced to more than 18 months. Still, it wass within Judge Hudson's discretion, as he could have sentenced Vick to up to 60 months.

Vick lost everything, including a $135 million dollar contract plus a lucrative endorsement with Nike. He lost his home and two years of a promising career. In 2008, Vick filed for bankruptcy with $20.5 million in debts and $16 million in assets. He will never be asked to endorse anything. He will never make the kind of money he would have made. If he has lost his skills, he’ll be cut, but he deserves a second chance. He now has to live on $300,000. For the man who at one point was the highest paid player in the NFL, this is a drastic change. Vick will earn an estimated $5 million a year over the next few years with the potential of earning $8 million in 2010 with incentives.

In a recently aired show on 60 Minutes, James Brown of CBS Sports interviewed Michael Vick. When asked about his conviction for animal cruelty, Vick claims he’s sorry about what he did to the animals. He continues to apologize for his actions and promises to work with the Humane Society as they tour schools educating children on the care of animals. There’s really is nothing Michael Vick can say to satisfy his critics. For the rest of the football season he will be asked the same questions and he better not flinch when he answers.

The public will wonder if Vick is truly remorseful or is his remorse generated by the need for money? If you say Vick has served his time now let him work, you’ll be accused of sanctioning his acts of cruelty. There’ll always be some people who enjoy pouring water on a drowning man. I won’t be one of them.

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