Michael Vick has paid the price and should be allowed back into the National Football League.
Vick committed a horrendous act, bankrolling a dogfighting ring in which dogs were brutalized and abused relentlessly. As a dog lover myself, this whole story was a nightmare to hear about. It left me nearly in tears, wondering how someone could do something so inhumane. No explanations would suffice, certainly not that it was part of the culture that Vick grew up in.
Despite all of those feelings, I believe America is a land in which growth, learning, and opportunity are available until the day we stop breathing. It is why I despise the death penalty. A man certainly should be punished and rehabilitation attempted. I believe that once a man has met all of his obligations to the criminal justice system, he should be a new man, with no past indiscretions available to potential employers.
This type of vitriol by groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals furthers the chances for future crimes by attempting to essentially stop a man from working in his trade. If Vick were attempting to run a dog grooming business, I may be skeptical, but not if he's applying to run from NFL defensive lineman.
Vick spent two years in a Leavenworth, Kan., prison, and is currently finishing two months of his sentence in home confinement. He has lost millions of dollars. He has lost endorsement opportunities as well as his reputation. He will need time to restore himself. Although he brought this punishment upon himself, the debt to society has been paid.
In talking with people about this issue, I have encountered many who believe Vick shouldn't be allowed back into the NFL, but he should be allowed to work construction. They state that he should't be allowed the privilege of playing professional football, making millions of dollars.
This is a flawed argument. Why should the amount of money he makes and the prestige of his job determine whether he is allowed to work? Michael Vick is a football player, and that is what he should do.
It would certainly be nice to hear Vick express remorse for this horrific act. It is more important that he learns from this situation and once again becomes a productive member of society.
Vick deserves to return to the NFL in the near future.
Just one bit of advice, Michael: The next time you play in a tough game, just don't say it was a dogfight.