Michael Vick returns to the NFL, as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
I'm glad he's not with the Bills, but he's still with a team I kind of like, so that makes it hard. I'd been hoping he would end up with some team I don't really care about. Jacksonville, maybe. Or the Bucs.
I'm generally of mixed mind on Vick. He did an awful thing (running a dogfighting ring), and it was well and truly an awful thing. On a moral scale, I think that Vick's transgression is quite a bit worse than, say, the steroid-poppers of Major League Baseball. In my book, cheating to hit home runs isn't nearly as horrible as taking pleasure and finding entertainment in the violent and torturous deaths of animals. Not even close. I find what Vick did loathsome, and had the Bills signed him, I would probably have declared the end to my Bills fandom and switched my allegiances fully to the Steelers (who have always been my #2 team).
However, I can't deny that while what Vick did is about as loathsome as it gets on my moral scale before moving into "crime against humans" territory, I also can't deny that he paid the price dictated by society. He served time in jail, and his personal finances, once princely, are now a train wreck. His "sky's the limit" football career is now reduced to "Work hard and hope the guy in front of you gets hurt someday and maybe you'll get a shot". Vick has fallen far and hard, and I can't deny that he deserves the proverbial second chance.
I just don't want that second chance to be here. Maybe Vick's sincere in his contrition since his release from prison, and maybe he's really turned himself into a new person. At his press conference today he was extremely contrite, with all the right answers and all the right statements. Someone on a sportstalk radio show asked, "Which is it? Is it that Vick was well-rehearsed and well-prepared in advance of this press conference, or is it that he spent eighteen months in prison and had a lot of time to think about his actions and what they meant?" I'm not sure it can't be both, to be honest.
As I said, maybe Michael Vick is a model citizen from here on out, never getting so much as a speeding ticket and never stepping out of line and finding ways to become a role model again. If that happens, good for him. That, after all, is what's supposed to happen. But it'll be a long time before it's evident that that's the case, and in the interim, I don't want him on Buffalo's roster.
(On a side note, I think it's been generally embarrassing to see the rumors flying around the sports news world the last week or so about Vick. There have been "Vick sightings" everywhere, including Buffalo and New England, that were eventually debunked for one reason or another, but each new rumor that would pop up on Twitter or someplace similar would be reported by the news, and checked out, and followed up on, because woe to the news station that misses the story of Vick's arrival in their town. I've found this embarrassing, not just because the news outlets have been led by the nose this whole time, but also because of the likelihood that at least some of those "Vick sightings" were probably sincere. Someone probably saw a big, strong black guy on a plane somewhere, maybe wearing athletic gear, and thought, "Hey, this town's an NFL town! Is that Michael Vick?" And then we're off to the races. Jeez.)