With Michael Vick home in Virginia and set to be released from federal custody on July 20 — after which time he presumably could try out for an NFL team — the trial-by-tabloid that has now become customary with fallen sports heroes has begun. This week’s Sporting News has five former Hall of Famers — Sam Huff, Paul Horning, Raymond Berry, Harry Carson, and Ted Hendricks — weighing in on the issue of whether Vick should be banned or reinstated.
In today’s Daily News, several people from outside pro football, most of them from animal rights groups, are having their say.
For instance, Dan Shannon, assistant director for campaigns from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wants Vick put through a rigorous examination — psychological, that is — to determine whether “This guy really thinks what he did is wrong.” The supposition here is that Vick should not be allowed back into football until, in addition to having served his legal penalty, he convinces animal lovers that he’s really, really sorry.
For the record, we love dogs and we do not like Michael Vick, but this is all getting a bit thick.
As former New York Giants Harry Carson said to the Sporting News,
“Michael Vick was charged, he was tried, he was convicted, he paid the
price. I don’t see any reason why he should not be able to come back
and play.” Thanks for the spot-on analysis, Harry. Vick paid his debt
and that should be the only consideration regarding whether he should
now be allowed to continue to pursue his living in his chosen
Whether any NFL team should want to hire Vick
based on his playing record is another matter, one that has curiously
gone undiscussed in the sporting press. While everyone agrees that he
is one of the most talented athletes of his time, Vick has always
gotten a free pass when it comes to analysis of his effectiveness on a
football field. His won-lost with the Atlanta Falcons is an
unimpressive 38-28-1 and his career NFL passer rating is a less than
mediocre 75.7, which would rank him 27th among active NFL quarterbacks
— if you considered Vick as active. Certainly the Falcons, who went
11-5 last year with Matt Ryan (QB rating 85.7) aren’t going to be
thrilled to see Vick’s car pull up at their training camp.