Michael Vick: Why Kennel Controversy Isn't an Afterthought in 2011...Or Is It?
Much has been made of Michael Vick's comeback from the dogfighting controversy. Whether or not forgiveness has been fully endowed upon Vick from the public's conscience is up for debate.
Two years removed the immediate impact of his return to the NFL, but many question whether the controversy surrounding his crimes is still a hot issue. Or whether it has faded into the background and dulled in comparison to other issues?
Vick Has Made Amends
Since signing with the Eagles, Vick has made it his mission to partner with the ASPCA to speak out against dogfighting and cruelty to animals.
Vick has been genuine in his actions since his return. There is no sense that his public appearances are forced in a way to put a good face on an ugly situation.
It is evident that Vick is remorseful for his actions and wants to make amends for them any way he can.
At 31, Vick has matured beyond the man who kept company with criminals that landed him in a prison jumpsuit rather than a jersey and shoulder pads.
He has a fiance and children to think about in every action he considers making off the field.
Regrettably, no matter where he goes, the scrutiny is there for him to act "right."
That's too much pressure for a person with the weight of an ugly past following him everywhere he goes.
However, Vick has never made excuses for himself. He has owned up to his actions and never once spoke up to say that the criticism he has received is unfair.
That's a great deal of maturity in the face of enormous adversity for a man who's job description involves scampering away from 300-pound defenders.
PETA and Animal Activists Will Never Forgive
Of course, Vick's controversy will never be a complete afterthought.
The media will bring it up at every turn to jog the public's memory in case they seemingly forgot.
Also, PETA and other animal activist groups have long memories.
Its unavoidable that activists will picket and protest Vick's employment in a high profile profession.
It is something that Vick and the Eagles will just have to deal with as part of the territory.
Vick: The Public Image
Vick has taken his redemption tour, from high schools to speeches at risk youth, and spoken to those who would heed the word of someone like Vick who has come back from the ashes.
Vick could have easily shunned his moral responsibility and taken his money home.
But, Vick has spread the message of the lessons he has learned from serving time in jail to youth that may have been teetering on that same path.
For that, Vick needs to be commended more than he is condemned for his past.