I *really* need to get this off my chest

Memo to the sports media: stop using the word “redemption” when talking about Michael Vick. Just stop. While his return to prominence in the NFL might be an interesting story given where he was two years ago, and while his candidacy for NFL MVP is a legitimate debate, he has in no way “redeemed” himself merely because he’s fun to watch and his team is winning.

He was good at football.

He committed a horrible crime and got caught.

He went to jail.

He’s back being good at football.

That is NOT redemption. That is time served. The fact that he is “able” to return to NFL glory is not a praise-worthy example of his “character”, but rather a lucky by-product of his physical gifts. If he didn’t have those gifts, he wouldn’t have received the second chance he has now. His crime and the success he’s had since then are not related.

I know he’s done a PETA commercial. I’d also be willing to bet he’s spoken at a few schools and maybe made some local appearances at a shelter or two. How nice. It doesn’t erase what he did. It certainly doesn’t “redeem” him. MAYBE if he gave up football and devoted the rest of his life to taking care of animals I could buy the redemption angle. Or if I knew he spent his off-days scooping dog crap out of the bottom of cages at a local kennel or giving baths to strays. Yeah, maybe then I’d start to come around. But simply saying “my bad”, then running around chucking a football on Sunday afternoons to the delight of fans doesn’t count in my book. The message that sends is, “hey, if you’re gonna screw up royally, at least be good at sports because then we’ll have a reason to forget what a giant a-hole you were”. Unless of course you’re Brett Favre.

It’s strange. I don’t have anything against Michael Vick (aside from the obvious “dog killing” thing). He seems genuinely contrite about what he did. Plus, he served the punishment we dished out. And I have no problem with him returning to his previous job and being a success at it. Good for him. You shouldn’t be blackballed from life just because you screwed up. But if I hear one more media person refer to his “redemption”, I’m gonna lose my mind. It’s just sports. You don’t get back into Heaven just because you can run with a ball really fast. If you could, O.J. Simpson would have tried a comeback years ago.

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