Let me begin this by telling a bit about myself. Aside from my wife and daughter, I love animals more than most people. I have never seen Old Yeller, Marley & Me, or Lassie because I can’t handle the end. I cried like a hungry baby (parents will understand that) when Will Smith had to kill Sam in I Am Legend. I want to bring home every stray I see, and that will never change.
I was also one of the angriest people when the Michael Vick case happened. I was mad that he screwed the Falcons’ franchise out of the most dynamic player they have ever had. And yes, I am including Prime Time in that statement. My anger intensified when I heard about the way those animals were treated. I won’t get into the specifics as there is no reason to do so. With that being said, it is PAST TIME to stop allowing Vick to live his life.
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. I was one of the people who said it should have been longer. I was one of the people who allowed my emotions to control how I felt towards Vick for a long time. Vick served almost two years of his life in federal prison and did so without complaint. However, this was done 12 YEARS AGO! Over a decade later, and he is still being harassed by members of the animal rights community.
Vick was scheduled to appear at a youth football camp in Lexington, Kentucky but was forced to cancel due to the strong opposition by animal activists of his being there. Not only was Vick sent out the door, but the entire camp was canceled because of the heat it received. Due to the refusal of a second chance for the rehabilitated quarterback, children in Kentucky will not be able to learn the fundamentals of the great game of football.
That’s a damn shame.
I know people will not cry about Michael Vick losing it all. They won’t care about the debt he accrued while in prison or the fact that he gets reminded of what he did daily. People will say, “He is still a millionaire. Boo-Hoo.” and that’s okay. But it has been 12 years of treating him like he is Satan’s right hand whenever he is in public. This country was built on second chances. Don’t believe me? Take a look at a few of these prominent figures:
Craig MacTavish– MacTavish was drafted in 1978 by the Boston Bruins. On January 25, 1984, MacTavish was drinking at a bar and decided to drive home. That’s when he hit a car being driven by 26-year-old Kim Radley in Peabody, Massachusetts. She died four days later in the hospital. MacTavish pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was given a year in prison. After a successful NHL career, he would talk to schools about the dangers of drinking and driving, and he was also made an honorary chairman on CheckStop, an anti-drunk-driving program. MacTavish killed another human being and is allowed to be an advocate against what he did. His story positively affects the lives of others.
Floyd Mayweather– Floyd Mayweather is arguably the greatest boxer of all-time. He is a world-renowned athlete and is also a serial woman-beater. To be clear, he’s been arrested or cited for domestic violence seven times over incidents involving five different women. Then there were several other times when police were called, but Mayweather wasn’t arrested. In one confirmed incident, he threatened to kill the mother of three of his children and beat the children, who witnessed the incident, if they called the police. Men who beat women the way Floyd Mayweather has should not be able to walk around with $1,000,000 in a duffel bag — yet here we are.
Daniel Manville– Think it is just athletes? Wrong. Daniel Manville served three years and four months for manslaughter. He killed another human. During his time behind bars, he began to study law. After being released from prison, this convicted felon went to law school, passed the B.A.R. exam, and worked as a defense attorney for both inmates and prison guards in civil court cases. He currently teaches at Michigan State University. This man killed another person and was allowed to become a lawyer and a teacher.
In no way am I defending Michael Vick’s actions. They were deplorable, despicable, and he deserved everything he was sentenced to and then some. But he has paid his dues. Stop keeping him from living his best life possible due to the hatred caused by actions over a decade ago. Allow for Michael Vick to be a voice against animal cruelty. Allow for him to speak from personal experience about the horrid things he did and how he is now rehabilitated. Allow for him to spread his message to kids at a football camp — who some are very likely to know people who fight dogs or think it is cool because they know no different. Allow for Michael Vick to atone for his mistakes by changing the lives of everyone he can by telling his story. No one is perfect, but this country was built on second chances.