Many people are outraged that the Eagles are giving Vick a second chance. Some wish Vick would suffer the same fate as the animals he tortured, and argue that he shouldn't be allowed to play football again.
That's wrongheaded, mean-spirited, and contrary to the basis of the U.S. justice system. Vick has paid his debt to society. In addition to punishment, prison is about rehabilitation.
Michael Vick deserves a second chance.
He also deserves a chance to earn a living. The legal fees and prison time have left Vick bankrupt. Vick's profession just happens to be that of a professional athlete. At age 29, he is still capable of doing his job well and becoming a productive member of society.
Vick's behavior since pleading guilty demonstrates so far that he has learned his lesson. He understands playing pro football is a privilege, not a right. Vick knows that all eyes are on him and there is no margin for error.
He has surrounded himself with respected mentors. Vick has also teamed with the Humane Society to use his plight and notoriety to speak against animal cruelty, thus turning a negative into a positive teaching moment.
The Eagles took a public-relations risk in hiring Vick. Their decision shows they believe athletes are capable of redeeming themselves. Kudos to the Eagles for giving Vick that opportunity.
The team is not above admitting that signing Vick is also a business decision. He has the potential to help the Eagles win a Super Bowl. That drove the decision. That is the way of the NFL and most other businesses.
Michael Vick accepted his punishment and paid his debt to society. He shouldn't be denied a second chance, by the NFL, the Eagles, or anyone else.