Disclaimer: The following article speaks on controversial and potentially upsetting issues.
Michael Vick was a starting caliber NFL quarterback for 11 of his 13 seasons played. Praised, in his early career, for having changed the game at his position, Vick flashed a mobility and improvisational play in a way never before seen by a signal-caller. The former 1st-overall pick was destined for greatness, it seemed, claiming Pro Bowl honors in 3 of his first 6 seasons at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons.
Michael Vick was more than just a flashy, talented, exciting QB though. He was a competitor, a generational talent, and a despicable individual. Michael Vick’s name is always going to be tainted with the knowledge of his crimes and, if his limited statistical showing doesn’t do it already, his shame will keep him out of the coveted Hall Of Fame. He financed and operated ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ alongside 3 friends, and participated in their activities in a major way.
He’s been marked as saying he thought it was “funny” watching his kennel dogs fight, injure, and frequently kill house pets that had been thrown into the ring. After failing a polygraph test in denial of his involvement in the animals deaths (he stated that he “only helped throw the dogs bodies aside”), it was revealed that he personally hung 3 dogs until dead; another 3 dogs he drowned in a tub. Having paid someone $100 to dig graves for them, who later refused to bury the animals, Vick tossed the bodies in the holes himself.
His friends had reportedly tried to take anything that could get him hurt or harm his NFL contract out of his hands. Despite all the evidence and the weight of his crimes, he was only tried and convicted on 2 counts: 1 of dogfighting, and 1 of animal cruelty.
Luckily for the animals, 47 of the surviving dogs were able top be rehomed, though the rest were put down due to their injuries/infections. After a short 21-month stint in prison, however, Vick was welcomed back into the NFL with open arms. His contract had been voided by the Atlanta Falcons, so he signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he enjoyed 5 successful years. He would play 2 more seasons as a backup for the Jets and Steelers, respectively.
A lot of people around the NFL believe in Michael Vick’s “rehabilitation”, but it’s unlikely that his mindset on the matter has changed, considering the nature of his crimes. Historically, dogfighters and animal abusers show some of the highest rates of repeat offenders amongst incarcerated citizens.
Though it’s unlikely that Vick would re-engage in similar activities, considering his platform and the visibility it allows him, many have found themselves angry with his appointment at the Pro Bowl. Terrell Davis, Darrell Green, and all-time NFL sack leader Bruce Smith shouldn’t have had their day in the sun shadowed by Michael Vick’s captaincy alongside them and (purely based off their statistical showings) it’s likely Vick shouldn’t have had the honor if he were scandal-free.