Michael Vick is now a New York Jet. That is a sentence I never thought I’d say in my life!
The reaction across twitter and Facebook was swift and extreme to say the least. I don’t ever remember a more polarizing signing. Many of you might say Tim Tebow brought more reactions. Oh, I agree the Tebow singing shook up the Jet Nation just as much but in a football sense. It was based on whether it was smart to sign him after just extending Mark Sanchez’ contract and whether or not he really had the ability to be the Jets Quarterback.
The signing of Michael Vick is very different. There’s been the same amount of arguments on whether he should have been signed, will he stay healthy, will he be starter or back-up, and will he mentor Geno Smith. BUT, I’ve never in the past read fans saying “I’m done as a Jet fan with this signing”, that they are giving up their season tickets, or disgusting references to his past in cruel and disgusting language, like I have with this.
There is no question what Michael did in his past with dog fighting and killing is horrendous, but he paid his debt to society. There were significant personal and professional consequences for his actions. He spent 2 years in jail and lost millions in salary and endorsements from sponsors. He came out humbled, has done many animal rights appearances, handled a benching with class at the Eagles, and soothed a problem after The episode of Riley Cooper last season acting as a mature leader of the team.
Others in the NFL have beaten girlfriends and wives (Ray Rice, recently), been involved with death (Donte Stallworth, vehicular homicide), guns, drugs, DUIs and PEDs, and the call is always “we are a nation of second chances”, of forgiveness. And many of these players just missed a few games, and there was no public outcry for letting them play again.
Michael is the first to admit his shortcomings as a player and man and I hope Jet fans will judge him on his ability to play Quarterback.
Philadelphia is a city that had a jail in their stadium with so many rowdy, drunk fans. They’re known for booing Santa Claus! But they had the heart of forgiveness for Michael. I sure think New York Jet fans could do the same. Or at least have some civility about it and not act like a man can’t learn or change.
I believe Michael Vick has.