The time has come to draw a permanent, solid, definitive line in the prescription athletic turf.Michael Vick never plays another down in the National Football League.As Vick is released from prison and begins his term of home confinement, the debate will only pick up speed as he inches ever closer to his meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell, and what will undoubtedly be a scheduled and well-choreographed public self-flagellation before a packed house of media. This of course the pack of scheming vultures and self-serving NFL apologists all yearning to be the first person to ask that question, which will send Vick either over the edge in anger or into tears of remorse.Michael Vick is a killer, and one who took great pride in his bloody work. He took personal funds and invested them in the maiming and violent deaths of intelligent, caring and social animals. This was done under the heading of “entertainment” and “sport”.Sixty-six dogs were rescued in April 2007 after they were found living in squalid conditions on properties owned by Vick. Tied tightly with chains to trees, savage injuries untreated, and blood stained carpets were just a few examples of the inhumane treatment given to these animals.During the investigation, Vick had a chance to come clean and admit what he did was wrong. One sentence spoken as an adult, one taking responsibility for these heinous actions, is all it would have taken to set him on the road to forgiveness.He never uttered a single word.After being arrested, Vick had yet more opportunities to address the general public and admit his complicity in dog fighting, a felony in all but two States. Either admission would very likely have lessened his sentence and drawn sympathy from those seeking something, anything that might have been construed as regret.By this time it was too late. Certainly his lawyers knew he was guilty and ordered his silence. After being convicted, the obligatory press meeting was held where Vick spoke in low tones and apologized to everyone his handlers could think of. As has been the custom for too many of those caught and convicted for any number of crimes, the words “role model”, “young kids”, “deepest apologies”, and a reference to divine intervention were used.The NFL carries it’s own weight of shame, having allowed Leonard Little to resume playing after being convicted of manslaughter in 2001. Little was almost three times over the legal limit and got a mere 90 days in jail despite killing a woman in an accident. Six years later, arrested again for speeding and driving while intoxicated. He escaped with a misdemeanor.Playing in the NFL is not a right. It’s a privilege, supposedly granted to those who deserve it both on the field and off. At least, that’s what the PR machine tells us.The NFL continues to insist they are a family sport, concerned about their players and employees presenting the proper image to their fans and to the general public.We hear from the NFL and every other organized sport dependant on fans and sponsor dollars about how important it is to think about a person’s character, as much as their athletic talent.There is no time like the present. Start right now. No excuses. No backing up. Set a standard for others to follow.Michael Vick is allowed and encouraged to resurrect his life. Speak out and make amends. I sincerely hope he lives and long, happy and prosperous life.Not in the National Football League.
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