Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michael Vick's Second Chance

For a time, Michael Vick was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch in the National Football League. Many thought he would redefine the position. Of course, since then his moral and legal troubles have been widely reported on and discussed ad nauseam. Vick has now been reinstated in the NFL on a conditional basis, with full reinstatement a possibility. Professional athletes commit all sorts of crimes, and are allowed to play. I'm interested in what people think about Vick and any other athlete who is convicted of a serious (i.e. harmful to other sentient beings) felony. It seems that the current commissioner of the NFL has a policy of being more strict, so to speak, about these sorts of cases, though he has conditionally reinstated Vick. Why might the NFL be justified in not reinstating Vick, or athletes convicted of assault, spousal abuse, and so on?


Prozac said...

Well, let's hope he doesn't waste this chance. Not a lot of athletes manage to get a second chance after what Vick's gone through.

Carl Thomen said...

Another player who comes to mind is Newcastle United's Joey Barton. As I understand it, Vick ran a dogfighting business. Barton, on the other hand, has been involved in a physical altercation with a teenage fan of a rival club; he put out a cigar in the eye of a youth-team player at former club Manchester City; he has assaulted his former teammates Richard Dunn and Ousmane Dabo - beating Dabo so severely he needed hospitalization and earning Barton a four-month suspended prison sentence; he is regularly cautioned for unacceptable on-field behaviour like mooning, signalling or insulting the crowd, and is currently suspended until further notice from playing for current club Newcastle because of the latest in a series of horrendous tackles that some would say define his footballing career. All of the above pales into insignificance however when one considers that Barton had already been given a "third chance" prior to his current suspension - after being released from jail early having served 77 days of a six-month jail sentence for assault and affray after a serious incident in a Liverpool bar.

I suppose it could be argued that there are maniacs in every profession. But should we really put someone like Joey Barton in a position where it is easily possible to continually inflict physical harm on other people? Do we give alcoholic, wife-beating husbands a bottle of vodka and the keys to their wife's apartment? We can't stop Barton being Barton in his spare time. But we can (and therefore must?) surely prevent him from potentially ending the careers of his fellow footballers.

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