As many of you already know, I am a dog lover. Check that, I’m a HUGE dog lover. With that clarification out of the way, several of you are probably curious as to what I think about the Pittsburgh Steelers deciding to bring quarterback Michael Vick in for a visit, so here it goes.
For starters, I think Vick is a despicable human being for what he did, or allowed to happen, to those poor dogs several years ago. In case you forgot, he was sentenced to 23 months in prison in December 2007 for running a “cruel and inhumane” dogfighting ring and lying about it.
“I’m willing to deal with the consequences and accept responsibility for my actions,” Vick reportedly said at his sentencing.
Despite him trying to repair his image over the years, Vick will always be known as the quarterback who had a hand in the mistreatment and killing of several innocent dogs. Those are indeed the consequences.
In 2009, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to sign Vick, who at that time had just completed 21 months in prison. The Rooney family, however, wouldn’t allow that to happen, according to Bouchette, as “they had no desire to bring in a felon, just out of prison, and all the negative reaction his signing would bring, both internally and externally.”
So, has time and the need for a back-up quarterback now have the Rooneys thinking differently? It appears that way. At the very least, they are now at least entertaining the idea as evidenced by Vick being allowed to visit on Tuesday.
Several fans are now outraged that the Steelers are even entertaining the idea of signing Vick and I can’t rightly blame them. Several more are now even ready to denounce their fanship.
Being a fan of team means that you are a fan of a “team”, it doesn’t, however, mean that you have to be a fan of individual players, or every organizational move that is made. When you get into morality issues and decisions such as the one we now have with Vick, it makes it even tougher to be a fan and especially if that morality issue hits one of your hot buttons.
At the time I’m writing this, Vick still hasn’t signed with the Steelers. In fact, Tomlin said after Tuesday’s practice that the team will work out Vick later on in the evening and that the decision as to whether or not they pursue anyone else depends on how the veteran quarterback looks.
Will I still be a fan of the Steelers should they ultimately sign Vick? Yes, however, I won’t be a fan of Vick just the same. He will become just a player wearing a Steelers uniform that if called upon, I hope can deliver. Am I a hypocrite for that? I’ll let you decide.
As for the Steelers organization, just as Vick was prepared to deal with the consequences of his actions several years ago, they, too, should be prepared deal with whatever consequences that come attached to them signing a despicable dog murderer. Will they lose fans? Yes. Will packages of Steelers merchandise be returned to the Southside facility with angry notes? Probably. Will the national media call the Rooney family hypocrites? I’d count on it.
Yes, Vick has done the time for his crime. I may forgive him, but I can’t forget it ever happened.
In summation, I will root for Vick to continue to attempt to restore his image by doing good things in the Pittsburgh community when it comes to humanity for not only dogs, but all animals, should he ultimately be signed. I’ll also root for Vick to never take a meaningful snap in a Steelers uniform in addition to rooting for his time in Pittsburgh to be brief. As a fan of both the Steelers and dogs, that’s all I can do.