I have felons in my family and they live tormented lives. They cannot vote, cannot get jobs, and cannot get health care coverage. They feel ostracized from modern-day life. They struggle to stay sober. I feel very sorry for them.
And because of my first-hand experience with my family, I feel sorry for Michael Vick. Sorta. Even though he went to Virginia Tech and had all kinds of opportunities in life, it takes some pretty serious trauma to cause a man to torture dogs.
And he tortured them. For fun.
But Michael Vick paid his debt to society and has every right to earn a living. That’s America.
I just take issue with the fact that he can only earn a living playing football for the NFL. He could work at Taco Bell. He could work as a data entry analyst. He could go back to school and work in IT. He could be an electrician, work as a carpenter, or punch a clock at a granite quarry.
Michael Vick doesn’t lack options. He could find a job doing anything other than playing football for a league that brands itself as a family sport.
But why should he, right? Michael Vick has the right to use his talents to play football with the NFL, yes?
Well, I dunno. My cousins and relatives are ex-felons who have natural abilities — artists, musicians, poets, and athletes — but they can’t pass a background check for a real job at the mall. Why is Michael Vick any different from my family members — who can sing & paint & cook & play football — but can’t get jobs at Sears?
I do like how the NFL took a chance with Michael Vick. It’s admirable. I believe in redemption, too, and I hope they continue to support ‘second chances’ and hire other ex-felons — drug addicts, rapists, check forgers, pedophiles, bank robbers, arsonists — to work in locker rooms, training facilities, and corporate offices.
Live the brand, NFL. Live it. Hire more felons. Hire my cousins. Don’t they have a right to work for your organization and flourish under the mentoring of Tony Dungy?