Michael Vick will plead guilty to federal dog-fighting charges, which means he now faces up to five years in prison and perhaps much more. But not if the NAACP has anything to say about it.
I have refrained from commenting about Vick until now, mainly because I believe in "innocent until proven guilty" and I've been rather disgusted at how the mainstream media tends to convict before any evidence is heard. Case in point, the Duke Lacrosse team. So, while I was disappointed to hear of Vick's potential involvement in all of this I still held out hope that he was not guilty. I was wrong.
Vick is an incredibly talented athlete. He had ways of making people say "wow". In short, he was fun to watch and had a very bright future ahead of him. It's a shame that he's basically flushed all of that for some cheap thrills. It's amazing to me how some athletes are hell-bent to waste their talent and self-destruct. Add Michael Vick to that list. Up to five years in prison and a lifetime of shame next to names like Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson, Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.
Amidst all of this, the question being asked is: When will Vick be allowed to play football again? Yes, this reflects poorly on our society, but it's still a legitimate question. Interestingly enough, the NAACP has quickly jumped to Vick's defense, asking the NFL to avoid suspending the superstar quarterback. NAACP president R.L. White said that Vick "made a mistake" and should be allowed to learn from it. He feels that any prison sentence Vick receives is punishment enough and that an NFL suspension would be harsh. Well, I understand the argument, but I couldn't disagree more.
First, the crime. White speaks of it (along with many other Vick supporters) as though Vick was ticketed for jaywalking. This man committed a serious crime. Brutal cruelty to animals represents human behavior disturbing in every sense of the word. Many clinical sociopaths are identified early because of their tendency to engage in such behavior. Any psychiatrist will tell you that someone capable of brutality towards animals is also capable of the same towards humans, which is one of the reasons why this is against the law. So, Vick will plead guilty to a very serious crime and with that comes serious punishment. Five years in prison is fair, although I highly doubt he will get that much.
So what happens after his prison term? White says that Vick's debt to society would then be paid and the slate wiped clean and Vick should then be allowed back into the NFL. Well, the debt to society might be paid, but what about the debt to the NFL? Vick's behavior reflects very poorly on the NFL, not to mention that he is yet another professional athlete with a felony history. I'm not the only one getting tired of these guys behaving like the rules don't apply to them.
Let me put it this way: If I were to commit a felony, my license to practice medicine would likely be revoked, meaning I could never practice medicine again. Other professional organizations are similar. I wouldn't object if the NFL suspended him for life, although that is also highly unlikely lest they risk a racism charge. Felonies and professionalism don't mix, and Vick is a professional. With that comes responsibility and violating that responsibility carries penalties. Yes, he needs to serve time, but that's not the only consequence he should pay. My guess is the NFL will suspend him for the length of his prison term and allow the suspension to be served while in prison. The NFL tends to be gutless that way (along with all other professional sports organizations). Hopefully, the individual teams will refuse to sign him. Vick committed a major crime, and he should lose his career for it. The NAACP is wrong.