Copyright 2009 by William A. Mays, Proprietor
|On the Question Should Michael Vick Bring
His Mediocre Quarterbacking Back to the
NFL? The Police Gazette says "Nah, brah!"
Business-failure Michael Vick has been released from prison for his role in running a dog-fighting ring and in torturing and killing several dogs. Fair enough. He has served his time, and that should be the end of his punishment for those particular crimes. After all, if we at the Gazette turned away every prospective employee who had a few felony convictions spotting his record, we would be very short-handed indeed! So we do not call for any further jail time or any other such penalties for Mr. Vick. However, whether he's allowed to play professional football again or not is another matter.
Professional sports leagues are privately run organizations with rules and standards they create and enforce without regard to what the government or–very often–the general public would do in the same situations. These standards have traditionally included rules governing the behavior and conduct of the league's players both on the field and off. Previously, these standards had been set fairly high. Similar to the "conduct unbecoming an officer" designation one hears about in the military, a professional athlete's conduct is fair game for league officials regardless of its connection to the actual sport itself. The league may choose to protect its reputation and good name in any manner it pleases. And to let Michael Vick play pro football again sends the wrong message to those with aspirations to someday play in the NFL. That message is "Don't worry; it's okay to engage in criminal activity. You can still reap all the rewards the NFL has to offer." To those struggling with the decision whether to try a life of crime while they wait for the one-in-a-million shot at fame in the NFL–or NBA, MLB, etc.–this is the worst message possible.
Making a good living at sports–or entertainment for that matter–is reserved for those very few who rise above a certain level. Engaging in anti-social behaviors with the thought it's okay because one day you'll be living large in the sports or entertainment fields is a thought process on par with a man who quits his job because he's just purchased a lottery ticket. Spit in one hand and stack your pro-football–or record label–offers in the other and see which fills up first. Those who live by such rationalizations find themselves perennial losers in life, a state to which Michael Vick was greedy to return, in spite of his already having won the lottery.
May 26, 2009