Daily News Editorial
Michael Vick will play football again, thanks to the generosity of a lot of people, and most particularly, to what seems to be a genuine effort on his part to change.
Vick was released from prison after serving a term for sponsoring a dog fighting ring. If you didn’t already know, dog fighting involves putting two animals together until one kills the other. It’s ugly and brutal and totally disgusting.
Why someone of Vick’s professional athletic calibre would have even thought to have participated in such a “sport” is still a huge question mark. However, Vick did indeed pay a heavy price – a year in prison plus at least that much time away from a high-paying career with the National Football League.
As one of the conditions of his reinstatement, Vick will act as a spokesman for animal rights.
How sincerely Vick conducts himself in that capacity will determine not only the efficacy of his own punishment but it will also reflect on the character of the judicial system that set him free and the NFL which readmitted him into its ranks.
If Vick makes a mockery of his role as animal rights spokesman, that will also be a mockery of the conditions of his sentencing. It will also send an ambiguous message to youth who may think that one does not have to live up to any moral standards at all whatsoever – and still be the object of hero worship.
However, if Vick is indeed contrite in his role as animal rights spokesman, if he truly believes in the cause for which he is speaking, then perhaps he can begin to right some of the wrongs he has committed.
Indeed, some of the most effective spokespeople for causes are those who have “come from the other side.” They have the authority of having “been there” so they know the truth of what they speak.
A huge weight rests on Michael Vick’s shoulders, the weight not only of his own character but also the parole board that set him free and the NFL itself.
We should see very soon whether Vick is equal to the test.