Why Not Vick?
In this era of sports, we as fans have come to quickly vilify any athlete who has done wrong, and rightfully so.
But what about those that try and succeed in changing their ways? Michael Irvin is the best example. Having been arrested several times for charges relating to rape, drug possession and other serious offenses, he was able to revive his career as a player and now a broadcaster.
In his hall of fame induction speech earlier this summer, Irvin addressed the crowd and said, “Those that are truly determined, can always change their ways. Everybody makes mistakes; it’s what you do after that determines your character.”
To anyone who read that quote, it now begs the question: if Michael Vick wants to try to redeem himself in the Arena Football League, do you let him?
Having followed the Atlanta Falcons for many years now, I know what Vick can do for a franchise. Not only is he a Sportscenter highlight waiting to happen, he is also a consummate winner. Through the 2006 NFL season, Michael Vick owns the sixth best winning percentage among starting quarterbacks, which to most people, is the most important statistic.
Up until the 2006 season, Michael Vick was the toast of Atlanta. He was a community leader, never got into trouble, and made us wonder, ‘how did his brother Marcus end up that way?’
Fast forward to August 2007; Michael Vick now stands for everything wrong with society and the NFL by being the face of thug culture in sports. His crime not only might consist of gambling, suicide in sports today, but also deals with cruelty towards man’s best friend. As everyone now knows, the animal rights folks aren’t the people you want to anger.
The chant of “there’s no excuse for animal abuse, sack number seven!” are still ringing through my ears.
I know it seems sinister to mess with animals, but let’s be real people—what St. Louis Rams defensive end, Leonard Little did, killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, is much worse.
I am in no way condoning what Michael Vick and his codefendants did. Like many people I too own a dog and would be horrified to think that my dog could undergo some of the conditions that the dogs were found under in Surry County, Virginia.
The message that I’m trying to get through to the public that will immediately shun the embattled quarterback, is that he too deserves a second chance. He made the mistake of staying in contact with some bad people after he made his money. It’s hard to turn your back on people you grew up with, but as Vick probably understands now is that it’s utterly necessary to sever ties with people that can bring you down.
When Michael Vick is released from prison in the future, he will most certainly feel the wrath of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will likely suspend him for an entire season without an option to come back for ‘good behavior.’
If Michael Vick wants to revive his career and establish any kind of credibility to his image, he will need to find a home on a football field, and be a model citizen. If I’m Michael Vick, I give Commissioner Baker a call and beg him for a chance to restore himself by playing in the AFL.
The option for Vick to play in the Canadian Football League is all but closed. When former Saints and Dolphins running back, Ricky Williams signed with the Toronto Argonauts, several CFL general managers protested the move, and more would certainly follow should Vick try to play in the great white north.
Vick is a number one overall pick for a reason. He holds several NFL records, led his team to several deep playoff runs, and can be a game changer when things look bleak. If Vick were given a chance to play in the Arena Football League, he would most certainly succeed. It would be a great draw for the AFL fans across the country, and as long as Vick is sincere in his efforts to redeem himself, could be a great figurehead for the AFL.
To AFL owners, go on and take a chance. Everyone deserves a second opportunity to redeem themselves.
Who knows, the gamble might end up in a giant payday: an Arena Bowl Championship.