If You Don't Believe In Second Chances, You Don't Believe In Second Downs

What President Obama and my lazy news media don’t seem to remember, or don’t want to address today, is something Jeff Lurie said back when he hired Vick:


"I needed to see a lot of self-hatred in order to approve this"

Jeff Lurie

Excerpted from "With Eagles, Vick gets second chance" ESPN Online

Any grade school teacher will tell you that they teach children to despise the bad acts they may commit, not themselves. So why did Vick, who is nothing more than a very good football player who has had off the field legal problems, need to hate himself so much before Lurie could sign him back in 2009 as a potential quarterback for his team?

I had put the notion of wrestling with redemption and Michael Vick on the back burner after the holidays curtailed much of my heavy duty thinking time. Then President Obama, of all people, weighed in on Vick’s felony conviction and his remarkable reentry into society with the help of the Philadelphia Eagles, and all hell broke loose. I don’t think the president was particularly courageous for stating the obvious. But in a society where too many African American men are denied reentry into the workforce because of their criminal history, it is as legitimate a concern for the White House to be behind as the idea of better college readiness by high school students, no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office.

Vick may not be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this year, but there is no doubt that he is this season’s Most Exciting Player. His mind boggling display of his unique skill set on the field of play captivates football fans, myself included, around the country week after week. And yet in some ways, it is still hard, even for a person like me who doesn’t like dogs of any kind, to reconcile in my mind this new and improved Michael Vick with the version who brutalized half a dozen pit bulls without a second thought.

Back when the Vick dogfighting story first broke, it brought an avalanche of vigilante journalists running to the rescue, with more mind bending methods of torture being described for Michael Vick than I can ever remember for...

...Eric Rudolph...

...Jeffery Dahmer...

...John Muhammed...

...or even

Lee Malvo...

The only people I can think of in recent memory who have generated such rabid hatred are O.J. Simpson, Saddam Hussein, and maybe, just maybe, Mohammed Atta and friends (remember them? the terrorists who took over the planes back in 2001 on September 11th?).

The anonymous internet user who originally posted the phrase "if you don't believe in second chances, you don't believe in second downs" on a sports blog last year was absolutely right. The larger philosophical question the furor over Michael Vick's future brings to mind is whether or not we are the real Christians we say we are. Whether or not we really believe in the rehabilitative aspects of our criminal justice system, or whether we should simply let all transgressors rot in their jail cells because they are forever fatally flawed, unable to ever even partially redeem themselves.

Related Articles

Why are Americans so bad at math?

Research shows that the way math is taught in schools and how its conceptualized as a subject is severely impairing American student's ability to learn and understand the material.

One derivative coming right up... (Photo: Getty Images)
Technology & Innovation
  • Americans continually score either in the mid- or bottom-tier when it comes to math and science compared to their international peers.
  • Students have a fundamental misunderstanding of what math is and what it can do. By viewing it as a language, students and teachers can begin to conceptualize it in easier and more practical ways.
  • A lot of mistakes come from worrying too much about rote memorization and speedy problem-solving and from students missing large gaps in a subject that is reliant on learning concepts sequentially.
Keep reading Show less

How swimming in cold water could treat depression

The surprisingly simple treatment could prove promising for doctors and patients seeking to treat depression without medication.

Photo by Luis Marina/Flickr
Mind & Brain
  • A new report shows how cold-water swimming was an effective treatment for a 24-year-old mother.
  • The treatment is based on cross-adaptation, a phenomenon where individuals become less sensitive to a stimulus after being exposed to another.
  • Getting used to the shock of cold-water swimming could blunt your body's sensitivity to other stressors.
Keep reading Show less

Eating your kids may improve your sex life? Sounds fishy.

Maybe try counseling first before you try this, married folks.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • The study looks at cannibalism in fish.
  • If it doesn't look like the brood is going to be 'productive,' it might get eaten.
  • Don't try this at home. Seriously, don't. Human beings deserve love and respect.
Keep reading Show less