Will Michael Vick Go to The Dogs?

Some athletes get a second chance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michael Vick was released from prison in Leavenworth, Kansas yesterday morning after being locked up for 19 months on charges related to running a dog fighting ring. He will spend the next two months under house arrest in Virginia and will be working in construction for $10 an hour as part of his probation-- a far cry from the multi-million dollar contracts he enjoyed as an NFL player.

So what’s next for this fallen Atlanta Falcons superstar? Is his career over, or will he join the long list of professional athletes who've gotten a second (or third, or sixth) chance? The NFL has been hinting that Vick very well may get a chance to play again. Does he deserve it? We are joined by The Takeaway's sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, and from Atlanta, GA, we are also joined by two Atlanta Falcons fans, Richard Palmer (who likes Michael Vick), and Larry Jamison (who emphatically does not).

More from Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on whether Vick should return to the NFL...

For more debate on letting Vick back into the NFL, watch the video below.

More from Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on Vick's return to the NFL:

After speaking this morning about former quarterback Michael Vick, I want to clarify my position. Mr. Vick created the mess he is in. Mistreating animals is a serious crime. Vick was wholly in the wrong and — at least in legal terms — has paid the price for his egregious crimes. Everyone who has been around athletes of this caliber knows they are over-privileged. Vick is no exception. He took his position as a role model for granted and landed in federal prison.

So why do I support his return? I think that he can be a role model now by showing, as NFL Commissioner Goddell says, true remorse. Vick has said he's willing to work with The Humane Society; he is eager to spend time with his children. And he is still young enough to do what he does best — play football. The opportunity for him to return means he has a greater platform to become a strong advocate for animal rights and an even stronger voice telling young black men engaged in this sick 'sport' of dog fighting that the practice must stop. Vick should dedicate himself to getting out that message.

I know that there are those who believe the image of the NFL is at stake. I don't agree. Michael Vick is a singular talent and he has been (deservedly) humbled — something that few pro athletes have experienced. Vick's playing in the league again will not hurt the NFL’s bottom line. In fact, should he win again and win big, his redemption becomes a wonderful storyline.

So I'll just repeat my advice to NFL general managers: bring in Vick as your newest running back. That isn't the leadership position that quarterback is, but it still gives him — and your team — a chance to profit from his talent.

— Ibrahim Abdul-Matin


Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Larry Jamison and Robert Palmer

Hosted by:

Katherine Lanpher


David J Fazekas

Comments [11]


agreed! I would only support him playing in the NFL if he was to give 75% of his salary to the humane society or an animal cruelty protection agency. He is a monster. This is unlike any cruelty ever seen. National Geographic has a show called Dogtown(?) which works to rehabilitate these grossly abused dogs. anyone supporting him should take a look at what he has left behind!~

Jul. 27 2009 08:00 PM

I wonder if Nicole would be singing this tune about Jeffrey Dahmer or Andrea Yates? Or is it only animals whose pain and suffering doesn't matter?

Sweetie, people are judged every day. As I said before, you and I would be judged for far smaller infractions when trying to get a far less in-the-spotlight and well-paying job. But I don't see you railing against those injustices.

May. 22 2009 09:48 AM

People really amaze me. Who are we to judge this man and determine his life. I agree fighting dogs are wrong, so are a lot of other things. No one in this world is innocent of sin, no matter how big or small, you think it is. We are no different than him. God is a forgiving God, who are we to judge, when we have our own skeletons and if some our secrets were to come out.....wouldn't we want to be forgiven? I am sure we would. This man has served his time, so leave him ALONE!

May. 21 2009 10:01 PM

Keith, thanks again for paying attention, it really means a lot to have committed listeners that actually pay attention. Interesting idea bout fantasy football, i will shoot that into the takeaway's idea mill - thanks again!

May. 21 2009 06:51 PM
Keith Erskine

Hi Ibrahim - great analysis this morning and I always like to hear your take on sports. Your idea of Vick as a running back is interesting, but I think someone will pick him up to run AND throw.

BTW, if "TheTakeAway" wants to start fantasy football this year, I'm in =)

- Keith

May. 21 2009 01:42 PM

Ibrahim, you're on the ball. This is definitely an opportunity for Vick to right his wrongs. Plus, this could be a great redemption story the NFL can tote around. We all love redemption stories. I can already see the ESPN doc on this one.

Vick on Vick: Dog Fights on the Field and in Taco Shacks

He can also do some specials on Animal Planet. Go visit the White house and pet the dog. Or just put the whole ordeal behind him, and move on with his life. Whatever the case, I think it'll be interesting to see what happens next.

May. 21 2009 11:04 AM

I think in this instance it's about talent and cash... if Vick can play and still has the ability to compete at the highest level, which isn't clear yet, then he will be given the chance regardless of his image, or what moral boundaries that might cross. It's about money, and winning makes money. Moral considerations don't even come into play...

May. 21 2009 10:32 AM

The issue here isn't so much that Vick was involved in illegal activity. People can get over that. What so many commentators avoid or gloss over is the fact that Vick exhibited extreme, vicious, sadistic cruelty. The man violently tortured and executed dogs after exploiting them for financial gain. What else is he capable of? He’s a monster and should have stayed in jail much longer. It says something about our society that we accept atrocities towards creatures who have no choice or voice—in this case in the name of pro sports. I hope his popularity with kids is over exaggerated.

May. 21 2009 10:17 AM

I hope he does go to the dogs. Why treat sports stars better than anything else? If I were convicted of torturing and killing heaven-knows-how-many living, breathing, feeling creatures, how quick do you think anyone would be to give ME a job after that? And the same goes for you and every other "average person" out there. Employers want to hire good people with good morals. Vick doesn't fit that mold. Why should he be treated any different than the rest of us, just because he's famous? it's just like Kwame Kilpatrick being given a job. Good, honest people who have more ethics in the tip of their little fingernail than these two pieces of scum can't find work to save their lives, but the big fat cats are riding pretty in spite of their misdeeds. Disgusting.

May. 21 2009 10:02 AM

you know that is a good point Biko! the Wall Street types have a revolving door back in and their feloniousness hurt more people than not for sure! excellent point!

May. 21 2009 10:02 AM

preach ibrahim.

trust, these dudes that ruined wall street will get a shot to get back in the game. mike vick should too.

keep doing ya thing. glad I get to read sports from a good writer, who actually played in between the lines.

May. 21 2009 09:15 AM

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