Was the NFL Too Quick to Forgive Michael Vick?

 Michael Vick is one of the most infamous dual-threat quarterbacks that ever lived. His NFL career spanned only 13 seasons, but during that time Michael Vick was just as deadly running the ball, as he was throwing it. His career took a twist because of the infamous 2007 scandal that shocked and disappointed his pack of adoring fans. 

Today, Michael Vick is attempting a comeback — not as a football player, but representing as one of the greatest of all times quarterback. And the NFL is willing to ride that bandwagon right along with him by naming Michael Vick as one of the four legends captains for the 2020 Pro Bowl. The other NFL legends to share the limelight include former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith and Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis.

Michael Vick’s career and downfall

Michael Vick was the first overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft. He transformed the role of a quarterback during his six years with the Falcons and was named to 3 Pro Bowls. Vick still holds these two stellar NFL records:

  • Most career rushing yards by a quarterback (6,109)
  • Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season (1,039)

Then, everything came crashing down for Vick in 2007 when he was tried and convicted for his involvement in a horrific dog fighting ring. The evidence of animal abuse and illegally disposing of dogs was overwhelming as the grand jury found the business was training pit bulls for fighting competitions. 

At the age of 27, Michael Vick pleaded guilty along with 3 other men and Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for running a “cruel and inhumane” dog fighting ring and lying about it.

Fast-forward to 2017, and we find Falcons owner Arthur Blank and droves of forgiving fans cheer as Vick makes a return visit to the Georgia Dome to be honored. 

Should the NFL reconcile?

It is not uncommon for bad boys of the NFL to return to the spotlight and be embraced by fans. Jim Brown’s name became synonymous with domestic abuse, but he still serves a vital role with the Cleveland Browns. Terrell Owens, Ben Roethlisberger, and Plaxico Burress are just a few other names that could be mentioned.

But, should the NFL reconcile with a player that used such bad judgment and reckless abandon as to harm and kill innocent dogs? This is a question that seems to be playing out in real-time.

Michael Vick has been making a steady return to the public eye through television and media. In 2017, Michael Vick was hired as an NFL studio analyst for the Fox Sports team. Today, he is the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Legends, one of eight start-up teams in the Alliance of American Football league.  

Is it too soon for Michael Vick to return and was the NFL too quick to forgive? Most fans would agree that Vick did show genuine remorse and regret over his actions. As a matter of fact, many of his colleagues rushed to Vick’s defense, noting that within the rough-and-tumble neighborhoods that Michael Vick grew up in, this type of behavior was not frowned upon.

Others will undoubtedly feel that Michael Vick has paid his dues to society and everyone deserves a second chance to get it right. Maybe the greatest punishment for Vick is wondering what could have been for an athlete with such stellar talent. In the end, Michael Vick was his own worst enemy.