Michael Vick has been reinstated by the National Football League. But there’s no guarantee that he will ever see the field.
“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,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Opportunities for redemption are rare–but that is exactly the opportunity that awaits Mr. Vick,” chimed in Ed Sayres, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Both men, in their way, were attempting to put the best possible spin on Vick’s return to the NFL. After serving twenty-three months in federal prison at Leavenworth for running a dogfighting ring–an ironic sentence considering the fact that a warmonger like Dick Cheney still roams free–Vick can now sign with an NFL team after a suspension that can last as long as six games.
While in prison, Vick met with the president of the Humane Society of the United States. He also will be working with groups aimed at steering young people away from dogfighting. By all accounts, Vick is profoundly remorseful. And if you had to declare bankruptcy and spend two years in Leavenworth, you would also be feeling a share of regret.
Vick said in a recent statement, “As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to re-evaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward.”
Goodell’s decision comes in the wake of several players showing their support for Vick on Twitter and even challenging the very idea that he could be suspended. It started with Terrell Owens, who tweeted, “Who’s w/me on the Vick situation? All n favor, lemme get a tweet 2 support Mike Vick! He did the time 4 the crime! Let the guy play!!”
Former pro bowler Steven Jackson added, “Playing is a priviledge…But who has not sin? Who can I say I haven’t made a mistake? Don’t forget this will follow him the rest of his life. If serving time 4 the crime is not enough then what is? Don’t agree with 4 games, 23 months is enough.”