Has Michael Vick Paid His Debt to Society?
One of the most frequently heard comments in support of Michael Vick being named BET “Sportsman of the Year” and reuniting with Nike is that Vick has “paid his debt to society?” Has he?
There is a difference between a moral debt and a legal debt. People who don’t believe the rules that govern their fellow citizens apply to them and those without consciences default on the first. Any “time served” is unjust and inappropriate (according to them), but once they have served their time, they want the books closed, and preferably forgotten.
Other frequently heard statements are that “everyone deserves a second chance,” “it’s nobody’s business,” and “it doesn’t affect us.” If, by “second chance,” we mean the opportunity for a new beginning—yes, absolutely. But no one begins at the top; no high school kid walks out onto the football field for the first time and is named “Sportsman of the Year” and given lucrative contracts by corporate sponsors. Conversely, society would demand that any “beginner,” be put away for life (one of the nicer demands) if he or she committed the same acts Michael Vick has acknowledged committing.
I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of sportsmanship and sportsmanlike conduct, both of which can be practiced on and off the field (court, arena, rink or any sports venue). Does that make it my business if Subway sponsors an award or Nike offers a contract? Is it my business if Michael Vick continues to rake in the bucks because there are people who idolize him? Not really. But Subway, Nike, BET, and Michael Vick all made it my business. I’ve never had an interest in writing about sports or athletes, but this latest maelstrom precipitated by these entities is sucking in many who wish it wasn’t an issue, no matter what their view.Continued on the next page