The signing of Michael Vick
That’s not unusual; I usually have several of them that have arrived overnight.
As soon as I saw who it was from, I knew what it was about.
My wife and I had dinner with old friends Saturday night. Like me, they are huge Eagles fans. They also happen to be animal lovers.
Eventually the conversations converged. They asked me if I thought Michael Vick would play again in the NFL. I did not hesitate.
He’s one tweaked knee away from a phone call from a team more than willing to employ his services, I quipped.
It didn’t take that long.
The Eagles stunned just about everybody last night by signing the disgraced former Falcons quarterback.
If you’re a sports fan – or an animal lover – you might have heard of him. When last seen he was walking out of a federal prison after doing two years for his role in running a dog-fighting operation.
This morning he will be introduced as the Eagles new backup quarterback.
Saturday night I tried to explain to my friends my thinking, that I’m a firm believer in offering a second chance. That includes Vick. Bottom line? He did his time. I think he deserves a chance to make a living.
The Eagles obviously agree. They will pay him $1.5 million this year and more than $5 million if they decide to keep him next year. Anyone remember Brian Dawkins? The man many (I don’t happen to be among them) believe was the heart and soul of the Eagles defense parted ways with the team over a couple million bucks.
Talk about stepping in dog dung and coming up smelling like a rose.
My friends are not nearly so forgiving as I am. They were adamant that no team would dare risk the public relations nightmare of signing Vick.
Certainly none of us ever imagined it would be our beloved Birds.
“That wailing noise you hear is Bill in tears at the Eagles betrayal at signing Michael Vick,” Lisa wrote me in her e-mail. “Of all the teams, I never gave them a thought … We are making protest signs and putting the harness on our pit bull even as we speak.”
I don’t think they are alone.
The things Vick admitted to doing to those pit bulls is beyond horrific.
He has made overtures since his release from prison to humane societies and others to indicate he has reformed.
I have not changed my opinion. I believe he has a right to do his job.
Michael Vick happens to be a football player. One that brings some special talents to a team. Or at least he used to. Starting tomorrow, he will do that in a green uniform, I imagine with the number 7 emblazoned on it.
Somewhere, Ron Jaworski must be howling. He won’t be alone.
I’m sure the Eagles took into account the backlash they are going to face on this signing.
They have just become the poster boys for giving people a second chance.
And paying them pretty damn well to do it.
Joe Banner’s infamous “gold standard” probably never looked more so to Michael Vick. But to animal lovers, it will be forever tarnished.
The Eagles gave Michael Vick a second chance. It will be interesting if their fans are willing to do the same - for both Vick and the team.