Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Caveat Emptor: Michael Vick

When released from a federal prison on May 20th, Michael Vick will go to a half way house and use his body to earn a living, but it won’t be as an athlete; he will finish out the rest of his prison sentence for operating an illegal dog fighting ring back home in Hampton Roads, Virginia working a construction job for 10 bucks an hour.

There will be no one to cheer him when he drives a nail straight, no accolades for safely using a circular saw, no one asking him how he will handle next week’s game plan of pouring concrete.

Vick will be an average guy; a far cry from someone who was paid millions of dollars because of his unbelievable preternatural ability for throwing a football.

Vick wants badly to come back to the NFL. He will be relatively young; a little out of shape and will need some time to flex the rust off of his arm.

And if you’re an owner even mildly entertaining the idea of asking him to play for you, I offer you some free advice: Don’t do it.

Not because Michael Vick isn’t talented or will be too old to play.

If Roger Goodell thinks he is contrite and sincere about truly learning from his previous mistakes, then he will allow Vick back into the league as soon as this season.

But if you are a desperate team looking for an agile, scrambling quarterback who can make plays on the run, I offer you some free advice: don’t take him. In fact, don’t even talk to his agent. Vick comes with not only enough baggage to get a Samsonite endorsement, he will also come with an unlikely entourage.

Back when we first started learning about what an inhumane and cruel operation Bad Newz Kennels was, and read the news reports of how many dead dogs were buried on Vick’s Surry County, Virginia property, (the rape stands, the dog pits, and the thousands of dollars that were bet on this senseless sport), People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals made a promise.

It’s a promise they are still more than willing to keep and your franchise doesn’t need the head ache and the ticked off fan base.

If any team decides to pay Michael Vick to play, PETA has vowed to show up and protest. In a day when people protest everything and anything, when television news outlets have their pick of what group is protesting where, this may just sound like an empty threat or cacophonous din and nothing more.

But PETA will not just protesting outside of the stadium of the team Vick plays for on any given Sunday. They have vowed to go on the road and protest at the opposing teams stadiums. PETA has vowed to show up at any camp, appearance or event that is directly or indirectly involved with Vick or the team.

They say that the NFL has a short memory when it comes to talent. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys last year when they hired Adam “Pac Mac” Jones, as well as a host of other teams.

But if you’re an NFL owner, do you really want that kind of entourage following your team around? Just because you’ve “conveniently” forgotten what Michael Vick did?

It’s just not worth the headache.

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