Everyone makes mistakes. Whether or not the individual can learn from the consequences is entirely up to them. But when you disregard someone who has literally redefined the quarterback position, infusing agile dexterity into what used to be a conventional drop-back-to-pass formula, it doesn’t seem like the most logical thing to do.
Despite his legal issues, especially his role in a dog fighting operation that created a stir nationwide, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick deserves a second chance.
Although this might sound unpleasant for some, it is only fair to give him a second chance at what he used to do best: terrify defensive coordinators and swiftly maneuver around a plethora of defenders for a touchdown.
There are some who think Vick should never play again in the NFL and should be incarcerated for a long period of time. There are some who call him a “scumbag.” They are actually, to a certain extent, right. Obviously, his role in that dog fighting scandal should not be condoned because on a moral level, dog fighting is inhumane. However, when people want to ban Vick from the NFL because of his dog fighting fiasco, it seems too illogical.
Being an NFL quarterback and a person outside of the NFL are two different things. Sure, it is always preferable to have a football player be chivalrous on and off the field. But, in this day and age, not everyone can be perfect like LaDanian Tomlinson. People don’t need to question Vick’s talent, because he has actually proven himself.
“The first time [Vick] runs 70 yards for a touchdown to win a game, everybody will be cheering and they’ll forget about everything else,” said former Baltimore Ravens Coach Brian Billick in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
As a player, Vick set the single-season quarterback record for rushing yards with 1,039 in 2006 and is third all-time. Furthermore, he also passed for 11,505 yards in six seasons, with 71 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. As a quarterback, he can’t be questioned after three Pro Bowl invites and single-handedly leading his team to the NFC Championship game.
Unlike Terrell Owens, who recently signed with the Buffalo Bills and is notorious for his locker room antics and causing rifts with his coaches and teammates, Vick doesn’t necessarily have that sort of stigma and locker room plague. As a player, he rallied his teammates together and exuded those leadership intangibles which carried his team to the playoffs.
For Vick, though, he found himself in an unfortunate situation. Being the marquee quarterback and posterboy for Nike sponsors, his harsh punishment alone only serves as a deterrent for other NFL players. Someone had to commit a major felony to scare other players from engaging in illegal activity. Unfortunately, it had to be Vick, the NFL’s star quarterback and role model for young kids.
After serving his 23-month sentence, which should end in July, Vick will be released on parole, allowing him to get ready for the 2009 season.
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who is known for his inspirational life —winning a Superbowl a year after his son’s death — and inner strength, insists that “there are a lot of things [to] make it work [for Michael Vick].”
“Most of all, you have to have a real talk with Michael about where he is in the process,” he said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “Does he understand the things he did are wrong and how he’s going to have to run his life? Has he removed a lot of the people who were around him before from his life?”
If Vick can answer “yes” to any of these questions, there is no doubt that he can flourish in the NFL again. He already publicly apologized on Aug. 27, 2007, after pleading guilty.
“I’m more disappointed of myself more than anything because of the young people [and] young kids I let down, who look at [me] as a role model. I will redeem myself,” Vick said.
If he does live up to these words, he might find success again. Vick has already proven that he can help and motivate his teammates around him to win ball games, but until then, he is still a “scumbag” to most people’s eyes. But what should hold him back? Nothing.
Should he be reinstated back in the NFL? He has nothing to lose. He should just be silent and let his play do the talking. Only then can he slowly redeem himself. If this happens, there should be a place for him in the NFL.
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