Michael Vick pleads guilty to dog fighting in 2007
I believe it sends the wrong message, and here's why.
As you no doubt know, Michael Vick was a superstar quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. He was the Falcons' first draft choice in 2001 and rose to NFL stardom. Vick signed a 10-year, $130 million contract extension on Christmas Eve 2004.
He was on top of the football world. Michael Vick had it all: money, fame and NFL stardom. Soon, he had thrown it all away.
Vick got involved in illegal dogfighting and in July 2007 was charged with felony interstate dog fighting by federal authorities. He was charged and on Aug. 20 of the same year agreed to a plea bargain to the federal charges.
He went to jail in November 2007. Michael Vick's NFL career was put on indefinite hold. Vick served less than two years in prison.
Michael Vick and his friends in the dog fighting ring had been responsible for the death and mutilation of hundreds of dogs. He was the poster child as the villain of animal rights organizations everywhere. When Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, PETA and other groups protested.
Since that time, Michael Vick has supposedly turned his life around. His NFL career is back in flight. Vick had an Pro Bowl season in 2010 for the Philadelphia Eagles. In his personal life, he has stayed out of trouble.
But succeeding at football doesn't take away what Michael Vick did to all those dogs. I agree that everyone deserves a second chance and I don't blame the Eagles for giving Vick a financial commitment, but as an animal lover, it galls me that four years after he was convicted, Vick can become a multi-millionaire again like it never even happened.
I believe that when Roger Goodell reinstated Michael Vick, he should have made one of the conditions that a decent percentage of Vick's future earnings would go to animal rights organizations.
Much like the tobacco companies have been penalized, by forcing them to pay for public service announcements that tell people not to smoke, Vick should have to pay enough so it hurts to help the kind of dogs that he hurt and killed.
Giving Michael Vick a $100 million contract tells the youth of America, especially the urban youth, that dog fighting isn't that bad after all. Hey, spend a year and a half in jail and you too can be rewarded with a $100 million contract if you can just play ball.
I'll never forgive Michael Vick for what he did to those animals, and I'm sure any animal lover or dog owner won't, either.
He hasn't redeemed himself or proven to me that he's a changed man. All he's done is enough to get the next big contract. Time will tell if he really learned his lesson. I tend to doubt it.