Michael Vick is with the Kansas City Chiefs this week, and for a three-week period during training camp, as a coaching intern. It is part of a internship with the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, which gives opportunities for minorities to get into coaching.
Vick being in Kansas City has angered some, as evidenced by the Kansas City Star’s Editorial Board coming out with a piece entitled, “Why Michael Vick doesn’t belong on the Chiefs coaching staff.”
You know the basic reasoning if you have been alive and a sports fan over the last decade. Michael Vick ran a dogfighting operation, tortured and killed dogs, and was convicted and served time in federal prison. Vick missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons serving his sentence and then was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles (then coached by Andy Reid) as a backup for the 2009 season.
So you either believe–as I do–that Michael Vick has served a prison sentence, and has been largely controversy-free and so far a positive case of reform–or you think he never deserves to be employed again ever. Apparently, this is the Star’s view in regard to a hallowed quarterback internship position.
Sports can be cynical–just see this week when the Dallas Cowboys released Lucky Whitehead upon news of an arrest for shoplifting that turned out to be false, while the same organization has had Ezekiel Elliott in the news multiple times. We know that having other-worldly talent excuses or causes organizations to overlook things. You can run the 40 in 4.3, they’ll give you a second chance. You stop being a star, and suddenly you are untouchable.
This three-week offering as an intern is one of the least cynical things, though. It would be more troubling if Vick was good enough to get a second chance because of his arm strength and speed after his conviction, but not worthy of getting a coaching opportunity. Vick is, at this time, just like hundreds of others with a small opportunity to see if coaching is in their future. Andy Reid likely gains nothing from this, other than knowing Vick post-conviction and time served, and believing he merits a chance.
Yes, what Vick did a decade ago was heinous. We are a country of second chances (and in a world built on “do unto others,” it is a societal philosophy that everyone capable of failure should embrace.) Vick paid dearly for his callousness. What he did will never be forgotten (as evidenced by the editorial and well, our common knowledge). The Star Editorial Board, though, isn’t the judge of his forgiveness.