Michael Vick Won’t Walk My Dogs08.17.09
Okay, let’s just admit something off the bat: Michael Vick will never be the president of the American Humane Society. But does that mean that he shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL again?
A lot of people truly hate Vick for his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring. They don’t think he should ever be able to play in the NFL again. I do find his crimes to be despicable, but I don’t understand why Vick shouldn’t be able to make an NFL roster now that he’s paid his debt to society by serving nearly two years in federal prison. Nevermind that the NFL is acting at least partially out of self-interest in allowing the former Falcons quarterback to rejoin the league – Vick will put fans in the stands and money in their pockets – I think more employers should follow its lead.
Two of the more frustrating requirements of applying for jobs (I should know since that’s been all I’ve been doing lately) are the spots on the application where the employer asks if you’re a convicted felon and where they say that they’ll want to do a credit check. I am already having a tough enough time finding work and I’m a college graduate with a clean criminal record. I can’t begin to imagine what the job search would be like otherwise. (I’m not even going to start with the notion that I could be refused a job due to bad credit.) It seems that our society enjoys finding ways to keep people in prison long after they’re released.
Vick is definitely luckier than others of his ilk in that his unique skill set makes him a very attractive employee regardless of his marred criminal record. Most felons don’t have that luxury. But reading and hearing about all of the people who don’t think that Vick should have another chance playing professional football makes me wonder if maybe most people think that way about all felons who try to return to their chosen profession.
Had Vick committed a crime that threatened his credibility to continue in that chosen profession, like Pete Rose betting on baseball or an accountant embezzling from his employer, then I could get behind the uproar. But it seems that it’s simply because of the unsavory nature of the crime he committed.
I don’t believe that prison time did anything to rehabilitate Vick in terms of feeling sorry for brutally killing dogs for sport. He said so himself. But since we are putting people in prison as punishment, then we should honor and accept when said punishment has been completed. Vick went to prison. He served his time. He’s not a child molester trying to get another job as a teacher. And he’s not trying to open his own dog kennel. He’s just like many other felons who broke the law, paid their price, and now should be able to reenter society and get back to work.