If you follow pro-football, and especially if you follow the Steelers, you know all about the brouhaha surrounding the Steelers' signing of Michael Vick. People have threatened to boycott the games and burn their jerseys. I have no doubt some have and some will. Animal Rescue League, an organization that I financially support yearly, really made a statement when they pulled out of having their gala at Heinz Field, after first having removed all Steelers-related auction items from the event.
I get why they did it, though, to be fair, the Steelers don't own Heinz Field. And there are plenty of other players on the team who seem to be decent. But as for the rest of us? Well, for sure we can all choose to support or not support a team for whatever reason. But personally, I think some people are taking it a bit too far.
Michael Vick did a terrible thing. [He pled guilty to bankrolling a dog fighting enterprise and participating in every
aspect of it, including killing dogs that refused to fight. He was
sentenced to two years in prison, and eventually declared bankruptcy.] I think very little of him for that. No, I think nothing of people who are involved in dog fighting or animal abuse in any way, shape, or form. I would never want to be friends with that kind of person. If I were single, I would never date someone like that. Just as I would never date or want to associate with someone who had abused women or children.
But here's the thing: Michael Vick went to prison. He made (some) restitution. He has done speaking engagements against dog fighting. He has donated money to animal charities. He is trying to move on from the very terrible things he did. He is or at least was good at football. He was suspended. And now he is not (and has not been for several years). So don't buy his jersey. Don't cheer for him if you don't want to. But can't the man go on to make a living and live his life? Do the rest of the Steelers have to suffer because of what he did (and I realize probably none of the Steelers are "suffering" because of this)?
Again, what he did was awful. Inexcusable. One of the worse things you can do (next to doing the same thing to humans). My beloved Sadie was a pit bull mix who had scars on her face. Not sure if she was abused by a person or got into fights with dogs, but either way, I feel very strongly about pit bulls and dog fighting.
But if we forever crucify people who have done their time, then why even let them out of prison or make a living? Let's just keep everyone locked up forever. The 18-year-old black kid who shoplifted and beat up a store owner? Nope, sorry, no second chances for you. Even if you go to prison and repent. Forget it. You should not be able to hold a job. People should boo you whenever you walk by. The 24-year-old white woman who abused drugs for years, including selling them to teenagers, some of who probably OD'd? Well, you may have been clean for a few years and have gotten your life back on track by speaking to youth, but, no, we should forever scorn and hate you. Because no one can change. No one deserves forgiveness. No one should ever be able to move on from anything. Right?!
I know I am comparing apples to oranges, but, hey, both are fruit! The point is, is that people deserve second chances. Sometimes even third chances, particularly if you have done your time. And I have never been down with punishing or hating an entire team, college, town, etc., for the acts of one or a few. It makes so little sense. Even PETA had this to say: “As long as he’s throwing a football and not
electrocuting a dog, PETA is pleased he is focused on his game.”
If I go to a Steelers game, I won't cheer Vick. But I can assure you I won't boo him. And I sure won't stop being a fan.