Don't Make The Newest Eagle a Vick-Tim of Circumstance

Lou DiPietroAnalyst IAugust 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 31:  Michael Vick #7 of the Atlanta Falcons scrambles under pressure from Darren Howard #90 of the Philadelphia Eagles in NFL action December 31, 2006 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 24-17.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In case you haven’t heard, the Eagles played a pre-season game yesterday. They looked decent. And, in a fitting ending, David Akers missed a long field goal that would’ve given them the win.

Actually, you probably hadn’t heard, because you were inundated with the news that Michael Vick is now a Philadelphia Eagle. People are overjoyed, people are outraged…but either way, people are talking.

Even if Vick’s acquisition doesn’t make the team better, it sure will make for an entertaining media circus. And the folks at PETA need not worry, because I know the Eagles are a very animal-friendly and socially conscious organization. Hell, their mascot is a bird.

But, for those in Philly—and specifically the Iggles’ organization—who are worried about the personal ramifications of Michael Vick’s employment, well, I have a gift for you.

The Top 5 Ways the Eagles can keep Michael Vick in check:

5. Write it into his contract that he must play middle linebacker if and when any Eagles opponent lines up in the Wildcat offense. After all, who is the biggest natural enemy for domesticated cats?

4. Instead of having to tackle Vick, all defenders rushing the quarterback will be allowed to smack him with a rolled up newspaper.

3. Place an invisible fence along the sidelines, and fit Vick with the collar. So if he tries to step out of bounds…

2. Anytime Vick commits a turnover, discipline him by rubbing his nose in the spot.

1. Six words, Philly fans: Dollar Dog Night at the Linc.

I hope you took that list all in the good fun it was meant as.

Seriously though, you can believe what you want and judge Michael Vick how you see fit. He’s not going to see the field for at least a couple months (if at all this season), and if he even makes one positive contribution, his acquisition is worth a gamble.

Yes, in terms of morality, Vick’s past indiscretions are quite egregious. I don’t condone what he did, nor should anyone, really.

But don’t make him a victim of circumstance.

After all, there are players in the NFL who have been accused of murder, convicted of involuntary manslaughter and been partially responsible for the permanent paralysis of an innocent bystander.

I think Vick understands now that what he did was wrong, and has taken his punishment like a man. And while you may think he deserves more, I think a more suitable punishment would be something akin to the list above—something that reminds him of his past every day.

In that vein, I’m reminded of an old HBO special I once saw. I don’t remember names or gory details, but the gist was that a drunk driver killed an innocent child, and as part of the restitution, the driver was required to send a check for $1 to the victim’s family every Friday.

It was an inconsequential amount (over 50 years it would be all of $2600 or so), but the fact that the driver would be reminded of their mistake at least once a week was enough to justify the punishment in the judge’s eyes.

That said, I guess it’s fitting that Vick is coming to Philly—a town so passionate yet so fickle about sports that most fans would boo their own mother if she threw an interception in a key spot.

No matter what, that’ll never be enough for some people.

I guess to them, the saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” doesn’t apply.

But when does it ever?


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