When Michael Vick went to prison I made a bet with a friend that he would never again play in the NFL. I hope I lose.
In America, there are few second chances anymore.
An arrest is a conviction. A prison sentence is a tattoo. The internet bears all, forever, and when harm to animals is involved, forget it.
Employers are less interested in performance and quality in their employees. They are fearful of liability. You can't hire someone who was once arrested, for anything - they may go out and kill someone. The kid pulled over in his Honda Civic with a marijuana joint, will eventually move on to cocaine, buying it from people who promote terrorism as the money goes to Hamas, Al-Queda, and the Taliban. It's all connected perfectly, just ask any legislator.
Miami Herald Sports Writer Greg Cote says Michael Vick deserves a second chance.
Sure he does. He won't get it though.
Michael Vick didn't kill anyone, didn't even send someone to the hospital. He didn't steal from anyone, didn't rob a house or business, didn't buy or sell drugs, he didn't do anything that even the broadest definition (and they get pretty broad these days) of public safety would describe.
Michael Vick was involved in harming, killing animals. The killing of a human being doesn't raise emotions as much as the harming of animals. Disagree? Just walk into a courtroom where an animal cruelty case is being heard, next to the courtroom where a murder case is on the docket. Cote makes the case in mentioning Leonard Little. He killed a woman while driving drunk. He's still playing.
So Cote says in regards to Vick that:
"The bigger issue is whether the rest of us can muster anything close to ''genuine forgiveness'' -- or at least begrudgingly admit that the man has paid his debt and deserves a clean slate and a fair chance to resume his life and livelihood."
Greg, Michael Vick will have paid his debt to society when he dies. Just knock on a few doors in any neighborhood if you disagree. There is little "genuine forgiveness" after a criminal conviction, save for the "wacky liberals" who understand that someone who does their time should be able to re-enter society and move on.
Cote says: "He has not been pampered or gotten off easy, and that's not to mention the ruination of his name and finances."
Greg, people think he should have received the death penalty.
He says "it's time to move on, and to not allow the zealots over at PETA to continue to set the agenda in what seems a concerted effort to unfairly ruin him beyond his time served." He claims "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals might be insane, by the way. Recently they suggested that the music group Pet Shop Boys change its name to Rescue Shelter Boys. Seriously."
Then Cote mentions the exact reason Vick will not play in the NFL again: "PETA leads the protest league in sanctimony and publicity chasing, turning off more people than they persuade, so let them paint their signs and sing their chants for the TV cameras the day Vick is released from prison."
Greg, right now PETA is thumb tacking the cities of the 30 NFL teams on a huge map on the wall of their office. Note to owner of NFL team that takes Vick: protests, every game, beginning and end, protests at your office, daily, your home, daily, everywhere you are. The NFL meetings, NFL stores, anything NFL. It will never stop.
Cote says (hopes I think) "some NFL team is going to be brave enough to sign a reinstated Vick, even knowing the PETA protests will be daily occurrences -- or at least until some socially incorrect celebrity is spotted on a red carpet wearing fur and the publicity-seeking PETA army gathers its blood-red paint and shifts to a new cause."
As a lifetime dog owner, I disagree.
Then Cote goes off on a tangent, speaking for the minority of the American public that has any perspective on the criminal justice system:
"This is about second chances, though. About the idea of a man not still being charged after he has paid his debt. You can hate what Vick did and still believe it ought not turn into a life or career sentence for him.
I hope most of us are better and bigger than what that attitude portrays."
Oh Greg, you're such a sentimental guy.
Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com
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