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May 21st, 2009
10:05 AM ET

Does Michael Vick deserve a second chance?

Michael Vick was released from a federal prison on Wednesday. File photo.

Michael Vick was released from a federal prison on Wednesday. File photo.

From CNN's Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Does Michael Vick deserve a second chance? The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback's agent says the National Football League could reinstate Vick by September - but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the NFL won't do that until Vick shows "genuine remorse."

The problem is no one knows what that means. And the NFL isn't saying.

But there are some who say Vick has already paid his dues, and deserves another shot at a 140-million dollar contract. Others say even humiliation, prison, and 3.7 million dollars-plus in legal fees are not nearly enough.

At Atlanta's sports radio "790 The Zone," football fans who once revered Vick called in to say he's paid his dues. After all, they say, the quarterback did show remorse before he went to prison for 21 months.

In August, 2007, Vick appeared at a press conference and announced "...I want to apologize for all things that I've done."

But for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - or PETA – Vick's apologies don't add up to "genuine remorse." PETA wants Vick to undergo a brain scan–to see if he's capable of remorse.

PETA spokesperson Dan Shannon says his group believes Vick "has lost the privilege of having his remorse, if he does choose to express it, taken at face value and we feel that we do need to see some evidence that he's capable of it and that he's genuine before it can be taken seriously."

That argument fell flat with 790's "Mayhem in the A.M.," co-host Steak Shapiro. "With what authority does PETA have to ask him to take a brain scan? You know, you have guys busted on coke, vehicular homicide, domestic abuse, they get in front of the commissioner, nobody is taking a brain scan to Roger Goodell to show the authenticity of their remorse, and Michael Vick ain't doing it either so that whole notion is preposterous."

Not to mention the fact that the NFL has re-instated lawbreakers before.

In 2000, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to "obstruction of justice" in a murder case. In 2005, running back Jamal Lewis went to prison on drug charges. Both are now NFL superstars. Despite those cases, some say redemption in the court of public opinion could be tough for Michael Vick.

"I don't know if it's hypocrisy, but it certainly seems as if Michael Vick's been targeted as the greatest villan around," says Michael McCann, legal contributor for Sports Illustrated.

Filed under: Crime
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Mari

    To Bev: Taking illegal drugs and steroids is not the same as causing all this damage to dogs by putting them in unnecessary fights and then killing them in horrific manners. Dog fighting is considered as mild by many to this day but that is something that should change! It is ridiculous how people don't think twice about putting a dog to sleep because of it's "dangerous demeanor" but when a person is the cause of this animals way of being, that person gets a year or less in jail and if lucky just a "minor fine". You'd be surprise how many of such criminals are "lucky".

    Gifted or not, this man should not have a second chance because he does not deserve it; he has caused too much pain and damage. And by the way, just because he offers a "simple" apology does not prove he is genuinely remorseful.

    July 28, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  2. Ameyala

    How he can be considered as a hero if he can´t respect life?
    Unfortunately there are many “humans” like this guy, who think they can do anything they want with other life forms. Could it be possible that he had forgotten the horrors suffered by his brothers, or this is the reason of such cruelty? Maybe is the only way of a sick mind of take out all his traumas and low self – esteem, trying to feel superior, with power, treating other creatures like he did.
    As a public figure he is, an exemplar punishment should be impose to him, so everybody think twice before doing something like this. Public figures have a mayor responsibility in because their actions have a big impact in the society, especially in kids.
    We don´t want MURDER KIDS or KIDS WITHOUT RESPECT FOR LIFE, don´t we?

    June 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Amanda

    No, that completely sick insane former NFL excuse for a respectable member of society, Michael Vick, does not deserve "another chance". That body does not house a human brain or heart - it houses something dark and depraved.

    He and everything he stands for cannot be tolerated if we have any hope of ever making progress in braking stereotypes and trends toward hatred in this country and across international borders. He and his "people" must be stopped.

    Drugs, violence, celebrity, money, fame, power, all of the above - have been given far too much control status. How can a depraved serial-murdering animal mutilator ever be considered worthy of public spotlight? What are we saying to children, teens, young adults, ourselves, other countries? Wake up! That man, his fiancé, their family and friends are all sick, sick, and sick! These people are exactly why the world is in turmoil - do not support that man or his potential to be rehabilitated ... impossible!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  4. kisha k

    We are way to judgemental. Everyone makes mistakes and we are all ill advised at times. I don't know how many of you believe in GOD but if you want him to continue to forgive you and grant you mercy for your shortcomings then you must do the same for others that have done wrong. Mike Vick is not perfect and through this situation he has lost everything, this man has paid his debt to society and deserves a 2nd change at life. Don't we all!

    May 27, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  5. gb

    My knee jerk reaction is to want to see him treated the way he treated those helpless dogs....but if he can save a child from thinking this inhumane, disgusting practice of dog fighting is okay....I say let him work with kids to stop this horrible practice for at least a year to see just how sincere he really is. If he has true sorrow a year shouldn't bother him at all.

    May 25, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  6. Bill

    No... give him the electric chair.

    May 22, 2009 at 7:25 am |
  7. wot90s

    yes , I absolutely agree let Mikey get in the dog ring, let the dogs go after him, and see who wins. I think that is the best second chance he can have. Anyone who will take an animal, and abuse them that way, needs to work at a dog shelter , under supervision and let him see how animals have been treated, and see how they should be treated.
    Perhaps Cesar, the Dog whisperer should take him home with him and see if he can retrain him????

    May 22, 2009 at 7:20 am |
  8. T. Carter

    WTF!!! PETA seriously wants this guy to get brain scan to see if he is capable of remorse. Are they (PETA) capable of forgiveness. This man paid his dues.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  9. AJ




    Michael Vick should find another line of work, outside of the NFL. He's just not an appropriate role model.

    For the record, the man has done his time and should be forgiven. But NOT reinstated.

    Blessings to Michael as he attempts to reform his life.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Armi

    Remember what Ghandi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

    Interesting that the forgiveness crew forgets that May is BE KIND TO ANIMALS MONTH. Brutal irony, there.
    ome things are unforgiveable. Like torturing animals.

    No NFL for VIck.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  11. GG

    but agree with william.. (sorry hit submit too soon)

    May 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  12. GG

    disagree with all above

    May 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  13. RJ

    any moron who compares what Vick did to a petty crime is a moron themselves! Killing dogs is always the first step a serial killer makes before moving on to humans! For anyone to downplay his crimes as nothing big and petty at best ought to be in prison to rot away with all the other criminals!

    May 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  14. RJ

    Hey Chris D, Vicks not that great, when hes forced to throw the ball, well you see why hes a medicore player at best. Quartebacks job is not to run the ball, its to lead his team! None of which Vick is capable of period! Hes a thug that belongs in prison with the rest of his homies!

    May 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  15. William R.

    You people are sick! Just because others have "gotten away with it" does that justify THIS puke "getting away with it." Vick is no good. He comes from a family of people who are no good. (Remember his brother MARCUS VICK purposely stepping on the hands of a wide receiver at Va. Tech? I say he should remain at the level of the $10.00/hour construction worker he's been reduced to now, and should sink back into the morass that spawned him. I won't walk across the street to watch this criminal, and won't support a team that pays him to play for them. He's loathsome. He's filth. He's degenerate.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  16. Chris D.

    Yes, he should be reinstated.....he's an athlete and a damn good one, nothing more, and I want to be entertained.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  17. Rev. Lynwood F. Mundy

    Mr. Vick deserves a second chance, and even 7×70 per Jesus' teaching.

    If God can forgive you and I that are saved, then He can forgive Mr. Vick from his sins of using animals against each other in vicious ways toward each other.

    Lets pray for one another that we may live in love and peace with each other.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  18. Bev - NYC

    Why shouldn't he get a second chance, sports have always been forgiving of athlete who take illegal drugs, steroids, DWI arrests, well publicised rape trials. Dog fighting is mild in comparision to what gifted jocks have gotten away with.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:21 am |