Tuesday 28 August 2012

Michael Vick was always one of my favorite NFL players. Between the way that he could run at the quarterback position like a running back could, his incredible moves on the field, and even what he did in video games, I was a full fledged Michael Vick supporter.

I can remember the first time I ever saw Vick play. This was in 2001 against the Patriots. Having been a rookie at the time, the New England defense basically swallowed him, but Vick quickly progressed and developed. In 2002, I saw him once again, this time versus the Seahawks. Vick won his team the game.

After his epic playoff win versus Green Bay at Lambeau, I thought he was going to be a star for years to come. I bought his jersey, bobble head, and rookie trading cards. I was officially a member of Mike Vick Nation.

Over the next few years I'd watch his games, and his talent didn't fade. During the 2005 season, he went so far as to lead Atlanta to the NFC championship game against the Eagles, falling one game short of the Super Bowl. The season after this, he rushed for more yards than any quarterback ever had. One year after this, everything changed.

He was indicted on dog fighting charges. He trained them. Gambled on them. Tortured them and in the end, killed them. There is no doubt; he hung out with the wrong crowd. However, I was shocked, appalled, and downright disgusted about his decisions and actions. How could any human being do this to an animal? It was downright cruel and inhumane. My respect and admiration for the athlete died. I tossed my jerseys in disgust and his collectibles are in storage somewhere. Would he ever overcome this travesty? Would he ever return to the NFL?

Two years later, Vick is back and the league is willing to give him a clean slate. Having signed with the Eagles, it looks like he has a genuine chance to redeem himself. He deserves this second chance, but I'm still not ready to forgive him.

He deserves a fair chance and all the haters need to give him that. It bewilders me that Donte Stallworth who was drunk, drove, and killed a man, is getting less flak than Vick. Both deeds were unthinkable, but why should Stallworth be given a free pass because the victim's family took the money and he only did 4 weeks in jail? I don't see any signs with Stallworth's number with a slash through it.

Vick is being constantly attacked as a dog killer and everything else, but you don't see Stallworth getting the same kind of attention. Both of them made horrible mistakes and both will have chances to redeem themselves, but let's leave it at that and hope they've both learned their lessons.


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