Fans Split Over Vick
Since the pre-season there have been two kinds of Steeler fans, those who are okay with having Michael Vick on the team and those who aren’t. It’s a roster move that led to some early protesting outside the team facility, albeit by a very small crowd. Some fans say they won’t even watch the games that Vick is starting in while Ben Roethlisberger recovers from his recent injury. Other fans feel he has paid his debt to society and it is more than time to move on.
In 2007, Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role (which was a pretty big role) in running a dog fighting kennel. It was technically for racketeering, which doesn’t help convince any animal lovers that he deserved another chance. He served 18 months and was eventually reinstated by the NFL after an indefinite suspension. Animal rights activists have come and gone with protests since his return to the NFL with Philadelphia, and later the New York Jets. Now with Pittsburgh, Vick started his first game last night which was an overtime loss to the Ravens. Fans at Heinz Field did not seem to mind he was under center, and the only boos they had energy for were for kicker Josh Scobee. I married into a Steelers family so I get to be pretty close to the source. For the most part the reaction has been that as a person he’s not the greatest human being, but if he can do well on the field then for the moment he’s tolerable.
When you get into the details of what he had a hand in doing to these animals it gets pretty gruesome. I certainly don’t condone any of his actions, but the fact is what’s done is done. Aside from the jail time, these actions cost him millions of dollars in endorsements and other lost earnings. No fan has to be Michael Vick’s friend. They don’t have to have a beer with the man or introduce him to their kids. All they should do is keep supporting their team because that’s what is going to matter long after his playing days are over. If you absolutely cannot root for him, just pick any of the other 52 guys on the team. Okay, well maybe not Josh Scobee.
Kevin McQuade covers the NFL for MFST, you can follow him on twitter @kmcquade9.