A Philosopher's Blog

The Return of Vick

Posted in Ethics, Sports/Athletics by Michael LaBossiere on July 28, 2009
National Football League
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After serving his sentence, Michael Vick has been allowed back into the NFL. However, at this point he does not have a team and is still under some limitations. Naturally, the question arises as to whether he should be allowed to play again.

Since I have a dog, I am a bit biased against him. From an emotional standpoint, I feel that he got off too easy and shoul not be allowed to return to playing football. But, how a person feels is hardly a good indication of what is morally correct.

From a moral standpoint, Vick should be allowed to return to the game provided that he has, in fact, paid his debt to society (that is, he has been properly punished for his misdeeds). After all, to deny him a return to his job would be to punish him more and if he has been justly punished, then this additional punishment would be unjust.

It might be argued that he should not be allowed to return to football because his misdeeds show him to be a bad person. In reply, people should not be punished merely for being bad, but for what they have done. Of course, bad people do bad things-and that is what they should be punished for.

Of course, people who have done their time are often subject to being denied certain liberties. For example, someone who did time for being a child molester would (one would presume) not be allowed to work at a day care. After all, someone with such a record most likely can still not be trusted around children. However, as bad as Vick’s behavior was, it does not seem to disqualify him from being a football player. After all, there seems to be no special character requirement to be a football player that Vick would fail to meet at this point. After all, football players are neither expected nor required to be good people (over and above what is expected of anyone).

It could even be argued that Vick’s return would be a good thing. After all, he has been working hard to “buy” a good reputation and there seem to be plans for him doing public service by speaking out against dog fighting and such. If he were to return to the NFL, his words would be more influential-after all, many people listen to celebrities.

If Vick has been justly punished for his crime and there are no special moral requirements for being an NFL player, then he should be allowed to return. Of course, he could be something of a PR problem for any team that decided to pick him up. Then again, may people do find redemption stories very appealing-so a reformed Vick might do just fine.

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  1. toddyenglish said, on July 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I’m an animal lover so I have an intense disdain for people like Michael Vick. Yet, I am all about redemption and second chances.
    His change for the better can only be taken at face value. With that said he paid his debt to society so he must be given the oppurtunity to make a living…::shrug::

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