Michael Vick was isolated inside a prison cell for almost 23 months for his horrific crimes before finally being permitted to finish the remaining two-months of his sentence in home confinement in Hampton, Va.
Now that his sentence is almost up, he will finally see sunlight, have the electronic monitor removed, and maybe even get some snaps as quarterback in the NFL next season.
Monday is the day he’ll be granted freedom, marking a new turn in the saga Vick, who some people discerned as the greatest rushing quarterback of all-time.
Even his creative Gatorade ads broadcasted Vick’s speed and agility as superior to any other quarterback in the league.
It was hurtful and shocking when allegations were confirmed that Vick committed such dreadful crimes. Kids identified him as their role model, and even intimated his motions and deeds at a camp funded by him to get children involved in athletic programs.
It was stunning and despairing, as our civilization did not have any notion that Vick was involved in such brutal and disturbing transgression; blinded by his dynamic abilities. In the world today, we tend to ignore the reality of athlete’s mistakes, and are very reluctant to change our perception of our favorite sports stars.
But Vick was more than a star, he was the face of the Atlanta Falcons. He hijacked our attention with his ability to accomplish what ordinary quarterbacks couldn’t.
People all over the world cheered and embraced Vick as he quickly turned into an NFL legend.
Just like that, he was embraced and welcomed with adulation from fans. He was flawless on the field, but had hidden flaws troubling his personal life that fans failed to realize. He was the epicenter of the Falcons, almost single-handedly marketing its franchise.
It was looking like Vick would become the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, an overwhelming plateau that seemed surreal, but was awe-inspiring and extraordinary.
The only weakness that he had was passing the ball, and his receiver had difficulty making catches. There were lingering questions and criticism of Vick’s status. There were even debates about crediting him as a top-10 quarterback in the league.
After the news broke that Vick was beating and torturing dogs, he lost all respect instantly, and was labeled as a dog killer.
Vick's career tanked as he was gradually deprived of his NFL pursuit, possessions, and endorsements. He filed bankruptcy, and went from a wealthy citizen to a minimum wage construction worker, earning $10 dollars hourly.
That is quite troubling and difficult to adjust to after signing a $130 million, 10-year contract.
Vick’s dog-fighting sentence is almost over, but he will never play for the Falcon's again, being release in June. Owner Arthur Blank relinquished credibility, and refused to give him a chance to redeem himself of the gruesome crimes.
When the news of Vick's crimes was first made public, Blank was perplexed and perturbed, yet understood that it was time to move forward by drafting NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Matt Ryan.
Ryan quarterbacked the Falcons in a dramatic turnaround, helping to heal Atlanta; a town that was still agonized and shocked over Vick’s judgement.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell controls his Vick's fate, and has yet to announce whether he will reinstate Vick. If so, it will generate controversy, as people who despise Vick because of his terrible crime will add tremendous amount of pressure on Goodell.
He’ll have to face scrutiny and endless response from bitter people who are convinced Vick doesn’t deserve another chance.
For instance, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would hold grudges against Goodell, after writing to him in January that Vick shouldn’t be allowed to return.
And here’s why I personally agree with them
He killed innocent animals and committed animal cruelty. He tortured dogs by electrocuting, drowning, and beating them–which makes me believe he’ll commit the same types of foul misdeeds to a human.
Don’t forget he is older, and after being away from the game for some time it is unknown if he be able to perform at such a high level. A team who signs Vick is putting themselves at risk.
I’m convinced that Vick has learned from embarrassing mistakes, which might have ending his career in the pros.
Goodell is expected to address the Vick question as training camps opens for veterans next weekend, and in the meantime, communications between Vick’s people and the league are occurring.
If Vick offers genuine remorse to a strict Goodell, there is a possibility he could wind back up back in the league, but chances are the Goodell will say no to Vick.
Even if Goodell lets Vick return to the spotlight, he will be subjected to scrutiny, belittlement, and humiliation when he runs out of the tunnel this season.
At the moment, Goodell plans to talk to Vick in a face-to-face meeting, where he has to be sincere and show true forgiveness.
The funny thing is that he can earn back public support by producing and accumulating wins. He could also earn endorsements if he is very apologetic.
He’s very fortunate if he earns another chance in the NFL. Of course finding a team that can trust and respect him as an individual is a different story. There are teams in need of a quarterback though, and someone of Vick’s caliber can bring sturdy athleticism.
The lingering questions are which team will take on a player of previous problems. Maybe San Francisco, Seattle, Minnesota, or Oakland... teams that have already expressed interest if he is allowed to return. To avoid scrutiny and burdens, Goodell must not allow Vick to return.
This is a forgiving country, but you could never forgive anyone who killed faultless pets.
Sorry, Goodell must say no to No. 7.