By Elizabeth Brenner
The New York Jets may not have been the first team to give Michael Vick a second chance, but that doesn’t make it any more right or any less confusing. Or any less amazing that they signed him on National Puppy Day.
For those of you who are not familiar with Vick, he went from being a number one pick in 2001 to being convicted in 2007 for being a key player in a dogfighting ring. He provided money as well as a location for the fights and dealt with losing animals by hanging, electrocuting, or even smashing them into the ground. He admitted to personally dropping dogs with nooses around their necks, causing their deaths.
Some may argue that his more than 500 days in jail were enough and that he served his time. But this isn’t like he ran over a dog here; he literally starved the animals, forced them to fight for their lives and killed those who under performed. Funny, considering he’s never won a Superbowl.
I don’t understand how the Jets would want someone who has no trouble killing animals to be the face of their football team. Regardless of who the Jets try to market to the fans, as long as Vick is starting, he will be the face of it. His actions show the type of bad judgement that a football team should try to avoid.
Mark Sanchez, who the Jets released to make room for Vick, grew his hair out to donate, and has a history of doing community service voluntarily. Unfortunately, character seems to mean nothing in the National Football League just so long as a troubled player gives the team a better chance of winning.
Vick might not even do that, though. He’s been unable to avoid injury since he rejoined the league and while a healthy Vick might represent an improvement over current starter Geno Smith, the Jets need to do a lot more before to improve the team before challenging the Seahawks for their title.
What I find particularly interesting is that they waited until Friday evening to announce the release and signing. By releasing the roster changes in the evening it is too late to arrange a press conference until Monday. It’s not the type of news they want being bigger than it has to be. Something tells me the Jets won’t be having a Michael Vick bobble head day, even if his jersey sales have historically been better than they should be.
Many fans have taken notice of the move anyway. Twitter posts describe people abandoning their loyalty to the Jets or their intent to boycott games that Vick plays in. Other fans started petitions demanding the team look to more reputable characters for talent, including one that encouraged people to mail Rex Ryan and Metlife Stadium.
Which reminds me of one bit of irony we can all enjoy: Michael Vick is going to be coached by a man with a dog’s name.