Will Michael Vick Ever Be Forgiven?

Michael Vick was signed to be a backup quarterback by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The anger and controversy began before the ink hit the paper. Vick has done his time for the misdeeds of his past. Will he ever be forgiven?

Vick gave the Steelers a sigh of relief, just a few days after signing with the team. Michael proved his skills as a quarterback haven’t diminished much. Taking over for Ben Roethlisberger, Vick completed 4 of 5 passes for 106 yards. On his first play under center, he completed a 63 yard bomb that put the Steelers into scoring range. Vick later took a sack and the offense sputtered.

Vick’s stellar play may have delighted the front office and some diehard Steelers fans, but what about the others? What has Michael Vick done to deserve the wrath of the entire spectrum of NFL fans, no matter where the journeyman winds up? Isn’t spending time behind bars enough?

In a lighthearted, yet strong piece, SBNation warned that Vick would be a bad influence on Russell Wilson. The source makes it very evident that the writing is satire. Yet the fact that the piece received tons of social media attention is sobering. People of all backgrounds are angry at Michael Vick. Some fans are so fired up, they’ve decided to boycott his success.

An event to be held at Heinz Field, by The Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center, was cancelled within hours of Vick’s signing. The shelter’s director of marketing told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “[Vick] is a football player in their eyes. In our eyes, he is an animal abuser.”

“While we understand that Mr. Vick has made an effort to atone for his past mistakes and has worked to help strengthen animal abuse laws, we do not believe that it is appropriate for him to continue a high-profile and influential public career. Our hope is that the very public discourse taking place across Steeler Nation this week raises awareness of the brutality and inhumanity of dog fighting. With increased community knowledge of the issue, we can all play a role in helping to end dog fighting once and for all.”

Michael Vick may not be a great and loveable guy. But his past actions have brought a horrible pastime to the forefront. Something is being done about it now. Doesn’t Vick have the same rights as anyone else? Human nature tends to make people judge and hold grudges longer than they should.

Tons of other celebrities and sports icons have been forgiven for their past misdeeds. Isn’t it time to turn the other cheek when it comes to Vick?

Love him or hate him, Michael Vick has proven himself as an athlete. It’s time to let him prove himself as a man.

[Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images]