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Monday, July 27, 2009

Michael Vick Was Humbled, What About Us?

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling Michael Vick, who NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has just "reinstated" into the National Football League. All over the blogosphere, people are talking about what a despicable person Vick is and how this "monster" should not be allowed to play professional football again.

Vick served 23
months for his role in bankrolling a dog fighting operation in Virginia. He served 18 months in the Leavenworth prison in Leavenworth, Texas and the remaining months under house arrest. Under his "reinstatement," Vick will be free to practice with a team and to play the last two games of the preseason, but he will not be able to play the first 6 games of the NFL season.

But here are a few things that need to be understood about Vick's reinstatement. First, to call it a reinstatement is to play with words. Yes, Vick can be selected by a football team to play for them. Yes, Vick can practice with that team. Yes, Vick can even play for the team in the last two pre-season games. However, his "reinstatement" is conditioned on Vick's good behavior as defined by Goodell. So, technically, Vick can practice with a team, play in that team's last two games and still not be allowed to play one regular football game after six weeks. Remember: Goodell said he will reevaluate Vick's status after six weeks.

Second, Vick will not be allowed to play for the first 6 games. In this decision, Goodell is doing two things: (a) He is ensuring that Vick will not become a public relation nightmare for the NFL in the beginning of the season. In other words, he does not want the season to begin with animal right's organization picketing NFL ball games that Vick would be playing in. (b) He is straight up punishing Vick and, by doing so, using him to send a stern message to other NFL players that he will deal with any negative behavior off the field in a harsh manner.

From a public relations point of view, denying Vick the ability to play for the first one or two games makes sense. However, denying him the ability to earn a living for six full games is too punitive. Like him or not, felon or not, Vick still deserves a chance to earn a paycheck and to become a productive citizen of society.

By denying Vick the ability to play for six weeks, by denying him the ability to make a paycheck for six weeks in the work that he (Vick) loves and is good at, Goodell is piling six weeks on top of the 23 months Vick has already served. In effect, Goodell's decision is not a conditional reinstatement so much as a punitive six week suspension.

Vick has been pushed enough. First he served his time in prison (And for those who think that 18 months in prison is not enough, try staying one week in one. You'll change your mind). Vick was once worth 25 million. Now he has nothing. Vick has lost all credibility with NFL, which once viewed him as a marketing gold mine and cash cow. Worst of all, he has lost all credibility with NFL fans, especially youth, who once viewed him as perhaps their greatest hero ever. This is not to play the violin for Vick. In The Daddy's opinion, he deserved it. But it is to say that he has obviously been humbled by this experience. But what about us?

How understanding are we? How empathetic are we? Sure, we are a "Christian" nation, but how forgiving are we? After a person serves the time for a crime, are we so angry, so numb to the plight of a "son of God" as to say, "That monster should never be allowed to play again?"

Are we "Christians" so in love with our animals and yet so filled with hatred in our hearts for fellow human beings that we dare not say, "Every human being deserves a second chance, even a felon?"

Michael Vick was humbled. What about us?

30 comments:

Somebodies Friend said...

I totally agree with you on this one MacDaddy. Vick has definitely been pushed enough. As far as I'm concerned, If he has already did his time, he shouldn't have to wait another minute to do what he does best.

Even though public opinion of him may be at an all time low, he should still be given a chance, he is human after all like you said Daddy.

When does the punishment begin to exceed what he should reasonably have to endure. I don't condone what he did, as a matter of fact I think it's wrong on just about every level. But he has paid his dues so I say let him play ball.

Anonymous said...

MACDADDY - NEVER SEEN YOU MISS THE POINT SO MUCH IN ALL OF YOUR MANY POSTS...BUT CLEARLY YOU DON'T GET IT. GUESS THAT'S THE NATURE OF "CONTROVERSY". SOME GET IT AND SOME DON'T. YEAH - LET HIM IN BUT DO IT CAUTIOUSLY AND SLOWLY. HEY! ACTORS ON A FRIGGING TV SERIES GET DROPPED --NO QUESTIONS ASKED --FOR DRUGS, DRINKING ETC. HE WILL BE SLOWLY FORGIVEN BY SOME...NEVER FORGIVEN BY OTHERS. FOOTBALL IS THEATRE LIKE THE MOVIES. GET OVER IT IT. IF THE CORPORATE $$$$ MAKES SENSE FOR HIM TO SURVIVE IN FOOTBALL HE WILL. BUT GIVE ME A BREAK. HE'S BROKE?? CRY ME A RIVER. REMEMBER COMEBACKS? IF HE HAS BALLS AND TALENT HE WILL MAKE A COMEBACK AS A BALLER OR IN SOME OTHER LINE OF BUSINESS DUE TO THE PREDATORS ALREADY LYING IN WAIT FOR HIS "BUSINESS" NO WORRIES ABOUT HIM! MOVE ON TO SOME MORE WORTHY SUBJECTS FOR YOUR SUPPOSED "EMPATHY"

MacDaddy said...

"MOVE ON TO SOME MORE WORTHY SUBJECTS FOR YOUR SUPPOSED "EMPATHY"
Anon: You're all heart. I pray neither you or someone in your family end up prison or jail for some terrible crime. But if you or someone in your family desire to fully return to society, I certainly hope that your community treats you or the member of your family with more compassion that you seem to have. Blessings.

Somebody: Yes, he's served his time and deserves to become a productive member of society. Nobody is asking that he be given some handout...Just give the guy the opportunity to work.

R.J. said...

I think Vick deserves another chance. At the same time, Goodell needs to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated ever again so I understand the six-game ban.

Playing pro sports should be a privilege, not a God-given right. NASCAR has Shane Hmiel, the NHL has Mike Danton and baseball has Pete Rose as examples why players need to conduct themselves in a manner that doesn't embarrass the league and its members.

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS, dammit it. Quit impersonating me and misrepresenting my point of view. You are a fraud, not to stand up for yourself. And you are intrusive to come in here, disturbing the peace, making no sense, and shouting in upper case characters. If you came in like this on my site, you would be summarily thrown out on your ears.

Vigilante said...

I speak as a big fan of big dogs (not small runty dogs). I also speak as a huge baseball fan. I do not quibble with the justice handed out to Michael Vick just as I did not disapprove of that handed out to Manny Ramirez. Admittedly, the offenses of this pair defy comparison.

But justice is done. They did their crime and have done their time. Manny is back (being Manny). The Vickster should be back in uniform. I would be happy if he were playing for the Los Angeles Rams! (Oops!)

I can see how the Commish wants to diffuse the inevitable hostile demonstrations by liberal do-gooders. But I can also see how keeping Michael Vick under arrest even while he wears a uniform, might make him a little less of a pariah and a little more marketable to his future team(s). Goodall, if he himself is just, will judge Vick on a yardstick as level as the standards by he judges other players in the NFL.

But the Daddy is right. Even felons get 2nd chances. This unusually talented man should have his opportunity to comeback and achieve his potential in this game of football. He shouldn't be condemned to do something mundane to make a living for the rest of his life.

Like blogging, for instance.

Stimpson said...

I have to dissent somewhat on this. As far as I know, Michael Vick wasn't violated in a "rape stand" like his dogs were, nor was he electrocuted. Not that I'm saying he should be, but my point is about empathy and being "humbled". I see no reason to believe he has developed the empathy for living creatures that we should expect from any civilized person. I don't think he has been humbled. Can anyone point me to evidence that he truly understands how sickening and reprehensible his business enterprise was?

Having said all that, of course Vick should be let back into the NFL. He has the skills and he has done his time. I'm just not convinced he's deserving of more than the barest of sympathy.

What about empathy? Well, I don't know. I never committed such cruelty to other animals. Hard to relate.

MacDaddy said...

Stimpson: Welcome. I'm not sure we're not saying the same thing. I'm saying he's done the time for the crime and therefore should be allowed to come back into society and try to make a life for himself. I'm not saying we should cry a bunch a crocodile tears for him.

I also don't think he doesn't needs to show you or me some kind of contrition or evidence that he is some sweet or great guy. All he needs to do is the same thing that we do: abide by the law.

But I think there's a larger issue here: some of us don't believe in either rehabilitation or forgiveness. To those people, there's nothing you can say. They're going to hate Vick forever, no matter what he does. So I'm asking questions beyond Vick, which is, "If we don't believe in rehabilitation or forgiveness, what does it say about us?"

Stimpson said...

Mac, I realize our viewpoints aren't far apart. I guess I'm trying to say I haven't seen or heard enough evidence that Vick "gets it." Until then, I don't know how much forgiveness I can find in my heart for him ...

MacDaddy said...

Stimpson: He says he gets it. He says that, when he was in prison, he thought about what he did and how horrific it was. He said he feels he has matured and is ready to be a productive in society. It could all be b.s or it could be genuine. He even offered to do volunteer to do commercials for the Human Society.

At this point, all he can do is say he gets it. Personally, I think he showed he got it by not whining, doing his time, accepting help from Tony Dungy, and meeting with Goodell, admitting that he lied to him in the past, and saying he's ready to change. What else do people want? See him do a press conference, break down and cry?

I think some people don't want this guy-- this black guy-- go back into the NFL and make a lot of money. They just won't say so.

At the same time, their own president and vice-president get us into an unnecessary and illegal war where thousand of our soldiers died and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and about hundreds of thousands made refugees. But we don't ask that they crawl on their knees and ask forgiveness. Something to think about, huh?

patti t said...

The world of pro sports! Vick was on top of the world, only to throw it away--I have no doubt he knows how much he lost. And I agree that he has done his time. I also think he has done more time for his crime than many people pay for more horrendous crimes against humanity--but that's another issue... However, he has chosen to want back into the game that made him a household icon, so whether we agree with Goodell or not, Vick is the one that gets to decide whether it is worth pursuing and if he's willing to be held up as an example. We can agree or disagree on whether or not it's fair and if Goodell has taken his power/authority too far...but in the end he has done what he thinks he should and Vick will go on. I think Vick will be just fine. And I think he still has people who see beyond the crime he committed.

MacDaddy said...

"I think Vick will be just fine. And I think he still has people who see beyond the crime he committed."
Patti: I think Vick will be fine as well. And like you say, it's really up to him. But I wonder about us Americans. We claim to be such a good, Christian nation, yet we invade and occupy countries that don't necessarily see us as the guardians of humanity.

We speak of ourselves as a nation of compassion and equality and yet we're reluctant to bring one Latina onto the Supreme Court. Indeed, during the hearing, a few idiots of The Republican Party (Sessions, Graham, Grassley, etc.) completely disregarded her brilliant record and spent four successive days raking her over the coals, asking the same stupid questions. It was a kind of procedural lynching, Washington beltway style.

We claim to be so just yet we've thrown millions in prison for drug-related crimes rather than provide them drug treatment, a strategy that has proven to work and save taxpayer dollars. We've also keep thousand of people in prison without trial for years, not to mention kidnapped citizens off the street from other countries like Canada and Britain and transported them to countries like Turkey and Afghanistan, where they can be tortured without the press around to check it out.

Yes, Vick will be fine, but I wonder if we Americans realize how hypocritical, unjust, classist and racist we can be; and if we even give a damn about it.

MacDaddy said...

Patti: I forgot to say thanks for coming by and all the great work you do here in the twin cities in the field of domestic violence. Blessings.

rainywalker said...

Vick has payed dearly for what he did. His slate is clean for me and it should be in sports. This is not a perfect world and he will be shadowed all his life. Humans never quit, even when they have a man down and kicking him. Very sad for us all.

RiPPa said...

And all of this because of...

Dogs?

You would think the dude sold crack to strictly the elderly in nursing homes or worse...5th graders. In this country, a country with champions justice and equality. One would think that he would not face this much scrutiny by the NFL and in the court of public opinion.

But hey, he is Black, right?

MacDaddy said...

"One would think that he would not face this much scrutiny by the NFL and in the court of public opinion."
Rippa: One would think. I can understand why people would be angry with him for bankrolling a dogfighting operation where dogs get hurt and eventually killed. But after a person serves time for a crime, admits that he was wrong, even offers to do commercials for the Humane Society telling people not to do what he did (because it was wrong), he deserves a second chance. What's really behind it is that the white people who don't want Vic to succeed don't want any black man doing well. They hate black men. But, in this case, they can hide the fact under some great love for dogs. Oh, I believe they love dogs. They just hate us. Blessings.

Nun in the Hood said...

HI, MacDaddy,
I have read through your post and all of the comments. I, too, believe that Vick has done his time and has repented for his actions, but I do not agree that this is a racist,,,"They all hate us"...thing that is drving all the heated comments. I am committed to fighting racism in al its forms, but I do not believe that in this instance, racism should be the last word or the primary issue. It is a matter JUSTICE that Vick be reinstated in society with a clear slate...regardless of whether he is black, brown white or yellow.
If you get a chance read the editorial in the Minneapolis Tribune on the Opinion page for Saturday, August 1st.....

Anonymous said...

I agree with you NUN in Hood. Yes, he's paid his price and should be ready to go back to work. Unfortunately, many professions (like football, baseball, stockbrokers, teachers, doctors, etc) have their own set of rules that dictate when "felons" can re-enter their workplace. It's my understanding that this varies from state to state, union to union etc. I think the worst penalty for felons in some states is that they are not allowed to VOTE. But from a practical standpoint, what's worse for a felon than coming out of jail and not being able to get a job because of these "additional" sanctions? Personally I hope someone picks him up as he is a talented QB and deserves a chance. But I agree this is not about race.

Nun in the Hood said...

Dear Annonymous,
Thanks for your response. These issues are complex, and with each of us trying our best to articulate Truth authenically, we just may together come to some concensus.....I think it is important to hear all viewpoints and , hopefully, come closer to realizing a world of peace and justice for all.....

MacDaddy said...

Nun/Anonymous: You both say these are complex issues and this is not about race. I say this issue is not complex at all. A person did his time for a horrific crime. Now he seeks work. Under the guise of reinstatement, he is being denied that work. This happens to numerous people who have been imprisoned. Vick's situation is just a more glaring example because he is a celebrity. If you believe people deserve a second chance once they've paid their debt to society, there's nothing complex or difficult about it.

Obviously, you haven't checked out the other blogs on this. Without using the words race, bloggers (white) are saying over and over again that this dog killer shouldn't go back to work and make lots of money. It's difficult to sense the angry resentment of this black man, or black men, making a lot of money just behind the phony shield of dog protection. Like the racism just below the doubts of a great judge like Sotomayor by Senators Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham, most White people steadfastly refuse to acknowledge their racism and check it at the door when dealing with issues. Some just can't do it.

patti t said...

As much as I would like to say this has nothing to do with race, I can't...the fact that Vick is black does make a difference. The fact that Sotomayor is Latina and was challenged because as a Latina she brings a perspective that many white judges don't, is all about racism. She lives in two worlds and can adapt to the worlds around her because she has to... White people who can't recognize their racism and white priviledge don't have to try to understand anything but their own reality--which the rest of us don't live. Obama, is black and he is our president, and this ought to bring out the best in everyone, but the racial divide is highlighted everyday in so many different wasys. I have no doubt that Nun in the Hood and Anonymous do not judge Vick because he is black...and I agree that Vick should be treated fairly because it is right...
But many people across this country will never see him as more than a black man who doesn't deserve another chance.

Anonymous said...

"Nun/Anonymous: You both say these are complex"
Please read my comment again. I did not say it was complex. I said many felons --regardless of race --pay their penalty to society with jailtime only to leave jail and have to deal with further sanctions from society, professional groups, licensing agencies etc. Some even lose their vote. This isn't fair but it's not racism. I've read many blogs on this topic and understand the controversy. But we can agree to disagree. Blessings.

MadMike said...

Unlike Vigil I am a fan of all dogs. It doesn't matter to me whether I am walking a German shepherd or a poodle. My manhood has been tested many times and "size doesn't matter."

Now I despise Vick for what he did to these animals and it has nothing to do with his race. I don't think Vick should be reinstated because athletes serve as role models for our young, and he is far from a role model for anyone. It has nothing to do with him being black.

I have put a lot of people in prison only to see them finding Jesus, being contrite, wanting to somehow make amends, and etc. The fact is it is all a load of disingenuous crap designed to influence the parole board. You don't rob, rape and steal one day and sincerely become a model citizen the next. It doesn't happen and it won't happen here. You don't hang, drown, electrocute, and otherwise torture beyond words living creatures and then decide all of a sudden that you love them and want to help them. It is a ploy; a con.

I don't begrudge Vick a life, but I begrudge him a life in a career that pays millions and puts him on a pedestal as a model for the young. If a cop goes bad he goes to prison, serves his time and is released. He also deserves a life, just not as a cop again. He has violated the public trust and the same holds true for Michael Vick. He deserves a second chance but not as an athlete.

Vigilante said...

If Michael Vick committed a felony while he was wearing a badge, he should never be able to wear it again. If Micheal Vick committed a felony while he was an attorney practicing law, he should be permanently be disbarred. Since Michael Vick did not commit a felony while wearing a NFL uniform, he should be back in uniform. And ASAP. When I think of the example he can provide others as a man who can redeem himself, I have to say, ASAP!

When it comes to dogs, size should matter for old men like yourself. A Cocker Spaniel can trip you up and break your leg. A Doberman, on the other hand, will look at you in the eyes and put her paws on your chest when she asks to borrow your car keys. Much better.

MadMike said...

Your first paragraph is not a sound analogy to the examples I present, or for that matter, those you present. Professional athletes are always working, whether on the field or off. Vick represents his team 24/7, so do cops, lawyers, doctors and etc. It has nothing to do with the badge, the book or the stethoscope. Crime is punished regardless.

Your second paragraph made me laugh, especially when you mentioned my "age." :-) :-)

Stella by Starlight said...

First of all, it's wonderful to be blogging again, especially at DaddyB's. I'd prefer to discuss James Baldwin, but I wanted to weigh in on Michael Vic, as I did at Mad Mike's site. I am taking a brief excerpt from my position.

I told Vig I would visit the wonderful DaddyB and to read his comment. You and Vig provided me with a completely different perspective. His suspension from football for six weeks is certainly fair. I am, nevertheless, horrified by his actions. I feel the same about anyone that abuses animals.

Daddy, we both know that Vic's actions are reprehensible, My respect for you and Vig leads me to a better understanding of your perspectives. Voicing our ideas is the foundation for dissent and dialog that leads to understanding among people.

As I noted at Mad Mike's, during his probation, if this is not already a condition, he should be made to care for abused animals for the duration. I think that's a positive way for Vic to establish a connection for homeless and abused dogs and cats, and the animals would win because they would receive care.

Community service during probation is not punishment, and may help Vic become a more understanding and compassionate person towards animals.

MacDaddy said...

Stella: I like the idea of Vick doing community service. Personally, I think it should have been part his original sentence. Just so you know, Vick had offered to work with animal rights organizations as a part of community service. I can only remember one idea: him doing commercials telling people not to harm animals as he did. But the organizations seemed to think it was just PR for Vick. But I still think it's a great idea. Blessings.

Stella by Starlight said...

Thank you, DaddyB. Vick needs to actually work in animal shelters and tend to wounded animals rather than give public service announcements. He needs to see and understand the suffering of these poor, neglected animals first-hand so he can develop a conscience.

Pardon me for not remember who posted the comment about putting drug users in prison, but I am—and always have been—pro-legalization of marijuana, at the least, and even all drugs. With legalization, I believe crime would lessen. Criminalization of drug use is no different than Prohibition was.

Rippa, your comment, "And all of this because of...Dogs?,,, well he is Black, isn't he?" doesn't appear on my radar. I agree with much of Mad Mike's comment, but also think Vig has an excellent point. I cannot support this comment, but consider Vick's actions as part of the many problems our society faces.

Rippa, Vick's actions are criminal. I don't give a damn what his ethnicity is. I guess others do— that's been a terrible wrong in our society for far too long.

ANYONE, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation who treats animals the same way Vick did, deserves a jail sentence and community service helping animals in kennels and time in jail working with those who revere animals.

I'm not a sports fan,so Vick's standing in the NFL is irrelevant to me. So is his race. I cannot shed my opinion that anyone who abuses animals to that extent is at least partially sociopathic.

Certainly a sentence must fairly and reasonably fit the crime. Vick deserved what he got.

Anonymous said...

it appears no one's neutral on dogs

Stella by Starlight said...

LOL, Anonymous. You're absolutely right.