Now it’s up to Michael Vick.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated the just one week after he completed his federal sentence for dogfighting. He’s allowed to practice and participate in team activities, and Goodell will consider in mid-October whether to allow him to play in games. But that’s only if a team picks him up.
“Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited,” Goodell said in a letter to Vick, according to reports from the Associated Press. “I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you.”
This causes a strong reaction from those of us who love dogs – disappointment, anger, frustration. The NFL has a reputation for allowing players convicted of crimes to continue without reparation. This decision to allow Vick to return continues down that path of indifference.
But there’s potential for some real good to come out of this. Yes, really.
Michael Vick has expressed remorse about his involvement with Bad Newz Kennels, the dogfighting operation he financed. He’s promised the world he has changed. It’s hard to believe that’s true. Can someone who so callously allowed animals to be torn to shreds and abused ever really become human again? Vick has a chance to show us if it’s possible.
After Goodell makes his decision about whether Vick can play in games, he’ll be off the hook for good. He’ll have wrapped up his prison sentence and been allowed to return to a salary that most of us can only dream about.
So that’s when he’ll have his chance.
He doesn’t have to put on a front. He doesn’t have to play to the cameras. He doesn’t have to tell everyone in sight that he’s sorry because he’ll have nothing to gain. Right now it’s debatable whether he’s really sorry. Come October, we can find out if he really is.
Come October, Vick could be a real force for change in the world of dogfighting.
He’ll be in the limelight because of his career, and therefore he’ll be a natural role model for children and adults alike. He’ll have the chance to continue his work against animal cruelty for no other benefit than doing the right thing. He can show that people can change and that dogfighting is wrong. He can become a powerful voice against animal cruelty. If he chooses.
For those of us who have been angry at the former football star and his ruthlessness, this is a chance for him to prove us all wrong. I hope he does.
Staff Writer Carrie Coppernoll