Driving through New Jersey along I-95 this week, I passed The Meadowlands, home to The New York Jets and their controversial new quarterback, Michael Vick.

One thought immediately crossed my mind: Leave Vick alone. Enough is enough. Vick paid his debt to society; he is a solid and productive player in the NFL, but still, Vick’s misguided critics won’t let him return to a normal life.

It’s wrong — and the boycotts against Vick should stop. But they won’t. Now, there’s a new petition to ban Vick from SUNY Cortland’s campus, where the Jets will hold training camp this summer. So far, the petition has nearly 3,000 signatures.

The petition states: “I love SUNY Cortland, and cannot abide welcoming this sociopath onto our campus with open arms. We need to stand by what is right as a university by barring him from the grounds. I don’t want him anywhere near my beloved college or community. We MUST send the message that we won’t be party to the torture of animals by conveniently forgetting what he has done. If we welcome Vick onto our campus, we are complicit in his crimes.”

This is absolutely ridiculous. How would any critics of Vick be ‘complicit” to his crimes? So if we follow this twisted logic, then his critics should also be jailed. Vick plead guilty to a federal dog fighting conspiracy charge in 2007. He served 19 months in federal prison, he was released from jail, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, cut, and signed with the New York Jets last month.

As part of his restitution, Vick has worked with The Human Society, talking to young people about the wrongs of dogfighting and providing an living example of learning from your mistakes.

All was going well until this absurd new petition began circulating. Although the Jets have not commented about the petition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems genuinely supportive of Vick.

“Michael is a young man who made a tragic mistake,” Goodall said in a statement. “He paid a very heavy price for it, but I’ve seen him, in everything he’s done, exceed expectations. He has worked very hard to be a positive force in a lot of different areas. That’s something I admire about him. When we went through the process of reviewing whether he would come back into the league, he demonstrated that he was somebody who was committed to saying, ‘I am going to do this the right way. I am going to be a positive force.’ He has, and I’m proud of the work he has done. I think that’s the kind of thing we should have.”

Goodall’s comments certainly reflect my views about Vick and should encourage others to give Vick the space he deserves to keep his life on track. Here is how Vick’s publisher describes Vick’s book, Finally Free.

“One of the most talented and polarizing athletes of our generation, Michael Vick’s stunning story has captured news headlines across the nation. From his poverty-stricken youth, to his success on the field in high school and college, to his rise to NFL stardom and his fall from grace, Finally Free shows how a gifted athlete’s life spiraled out of control under the glare of money and fame, aided by his own poor choices.

In his own words, Vick details his regrets, his search for forgiveness, the moments of unlikely grace–and the brokenness that brought his redemption on the way to his celebrated return to the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.”

As I motored past The Meadowlands along I-95, it reminded me of how we could all use some forgiveness and second chances in life – and that includes Michael Vick.

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17 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Let Michael Vick Live

  1. What about all the athletes that have been arrested for DUI’s, DRUG possession, and possession of illegal weapons, what about all the athletes that have beaten, and raped helpless women through out the years? There has never been a petition to ban these athletes from playing sports. I guess it’s ok, to drive drunk, and high on drugs, while putting every one in their path at risk. I guess it’s ok, to beat, rape, and disfigure women, after all they’re only humans.

  2. marie on said:

    What are you talking about? Mike Vick is alive and well and enjoying his millions. Not so for the animals he hung, electrified and drowned because they were of no use to him anymore. Why, I don’t think they ever had one day in the lives to ever enjoy. There lives were miserable and they died horrific deaths at the hands or commands of Vick. Let him live. Let him hide himself from humanity never to seen again I say and let’s stop rewarding him through football. Yes he served his time but justice was not served. Justice would be served, to some extent, if he were banned from football.

    • If these animal lovers would channel that same energy toward the hundreds of thousand of pedophiles, rapist, and murderers who torture, and mutilate countless of innocent people every single day crime in the country wouldn’t be as high as it is. What about the child that was stumped to death by his own mother, what about the child that was set of fire by his own father, what about the children that were drown by their own mother, what about the child that was starved to death by his own parents, do you obsessed animal lover shed one tear for them?

  3. They are quick to judge Vick about his past because he is black. Some of us know the truth about what they do behind closed doors. The one’s that scream the loudest have the most skeletons in their closets. Vick was fighting dogs. They do other things with animals. It is not a secret to some of us.

  4. MV, was not just another celebrity who received a slap on the wrist for his crime, this man served prison time, you can’t get any lower than that, he also lost millions of dollars while in prison. This on going fight against MV is completely motivated by racism, and I know that for a fact, because, a few years ago, when OJ Simpson, was dating that pill popping ex-girlfriend Christine Prody, she left town, and her neighbors started complaining about a foul odor coming from her apartment, so they called the police, you should have seen the media coverage here in Florida, they all assumed that OJ had murdered her, anyway, when the police went into her apartment the found her cat dead, this woman, left that cat in her apartment without any food, and that poor thing starved to death. If Christine Prody, would have been a black woman, she would have been lynched by these so called animal lovers, there was not one word from PETA, complete silence. These people behind this petition, are nothing but a bunch of jealous, hateful, bigots, and they are hell bent on making MV, life a living hell, because, they don’t have a life of their own.

  5. Joe Valdez get some knoledge you are a stupid ignorant person who shoudn”t have a computer you Know nothing about black peolpe so dont comment you idiot ! Let Michael Vick live ! it is because he is a black man still talking about this dog fighting crap ! Like they havent done worst really !

  6. I’d be willing to bet that a good number of those petitioners are woman beaters, child abusers, bullies, cheaters and no telling what else. I’ll bet if all their stumbles and mistakes were aired publicly, not a fraction of the names on that petition would come up clean. AND more than likely, never did anything to atone for what they’ve done. Vick broke the law. He paid his debt. He’s making good on his promises. Hell, some people who murder other people don’t get lifetime banishments from society. Perhaps if these busybodies would leave Mr. Vick alone to live his life in peace, they would have more to do with their lives than sit around and try to dream up ways to make others miserable. Fools.

  7. Joe Valdez on said:

    White Liberal Homosexual Obama Supporters are attacking a Black Man who was involved in Dog Fighting. White Liberals Homosexual have used Black People to further their causes , in fact Obama has done everything for the Homosexuals than for African Americans. All These Big speeches do not impress intelligent Blacks , they only impress un educated Black idiots who supported this phony cut and paste Mulatto President . A Dark Black person has no rights , only sellouts like Ophra, Tom Joyner , Al Sharpton ,and Black Homos like Don Lemon are benefitting from Obama. Obama doesn’t care about Blacks , he used Blacks as a power base , and once in a while he makes a big speech to appease Blacks . Dark Skinned Blacks are “Back In The Back Of The Bus”

  8. Annette R Stephens on said:

    This is some Racist bull crap…They thought by locking him up over it would ruin his career to give them something to talk about. When he did the time and came back just as bad as he wanted to be they couldn’t stand it…going out of they minds wondering what else can they do to bring this young strong Fine Brother down they come up with this garbage!!! They need to go after those Drug users like Aron Rodgers and the rest of their Caucasian athletes who fine it necessary to use drugs to do what Micheal does naturally…I know this is only because Vic is a young Black man that their going after him…The same way the did Ali (do you remember that)? I sure do!!

    Keep doing your thing Micheal; not one person on this earth has not fell short in the eyes of God, what make them think they can sit in Judgement of you? Their nothing but Hypocrites…all day everyday!!!

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