Signing Michael Vick: Reason for Philadelphia Eagles Fans to Abandon Ship?

Jason FanelliContributor IAugust 14, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Jags fans taunt the Atlanta Falcons with a sign in reference to Falcons quarterback Michael Vick while facing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium September 16, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Falcons 13-7.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

My jaw dropped after receiving the call:

"The Eagles signed Michael Vick! Yeah, that Michael Vick!"

I couldn't believe it. I had heard that my Birds weren't even in contention for the controversial QB, but when I heard he was signed, I couldn't help but be happy.

Until, that is, I saw the reaction of my fellow "fans."

The big Eagle fans saw exactly what this was: the signing of a terrific athlete who brings a whole new swagger to the team, and one who can make plays every time he sets foot on the field. They understood that, if it pans out like the front office wants it to, the Eagles quickly become a stronger contender in the NFC, if not the NFL as a whole.

But others were much more focused on the elephant in the room: Vick's beleaguered past.

I began to see things on my social sites that made my skin crawl:

"Michael Vick? Not cool."

"You think this is big news, wait until Joe Banner announces he's signing OJ."

"I am officially an ex-Eagles fan."

...wait, what?!

People are literally talking about abandoning their team, the team they cheered and cried with for YEARS, because of one signing? Seriously?

Let's look at this logically, shall we?

As I said above, he is a remarkable talent that gives the Eagles a much more diverse offensive set, but that's not what I want to focus on.

For the record, I do not in any way support what Vick was convicted of. Dogfighting is heinous, reprehensible, and any other word you can think of.


Everyone, with the right guidance, deserves forgiveness and a second chance. We've been told this since we were children. Vick served his time in jail, a year and a half to be exact.  He was mentored back into real life by none other than Tony Dungy, the nicest man in sports and a man who's involved in more charities than I can count.

Vick became involved in charity work himself, got readjusted to life outside of prison, resumed his family life, everything he needed to do to get back on his feet, including getting his old job back.

Why, then, is it so hard for Eagle "fans" to understand this?

Why are there people already persecuting the Eagles' organization on their Myspaces and Facebooks? Even people who freely admit that they don't like football are putting their two cents in, and why? Because a man who did what he had to do to get back into society is being given a second chance?

I especially love those that say "he's only acting normal because he got caught and he has to." Nothing about this line of thought makes any sense.

Consider this: Vick getting caught was the best thing that could possibly have happened to him. He was caught, arrested, and convicted, which started the wheel of redemption's turning.

Without that, he's still doing those terrible things and still getting into trouble. Without his arrest, his chance to be "born again," as it were, would never come.

Now that it has, how is it logical to think that he is being forced to act a certain way, without considering that he might actually be doing it on his own accord?

Of course, the reaction could have been expected anywhere football is played. Pittsburgh, New England, Green Bay, all of them would have had the football people who love the signing, and the too-hung-up-on-the-past people who damn it.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, sure, but to turn your back on your team after all of the tears, cheers, and jeers because of one player's signing is not only extreme, but borderline football treason.

In closing, everyone deserves a second chance in life, even Michael Vick. After a lot of personal reflection and work, Vick is getting his chance to redeem himself, and he is doing it in the City of Brotherly Love.

If you want to abandon your team because of one man, be my guest.

Just don't think you can join the party in February should the Eagles get there.


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