Sunday, July 26, 2009

Follow me, if you will. Pretend that you are the CEO of a major, high visibility company. One of your top employees starts to get into trouble with the law.

First, he gets caught at an airport with a water bottle that has been tweaked so that it hides things in a secret compartment. In fact, in this case, there was trace evidence that there was an illegal drug in that compartment. Charges were dropped, but still, the company was embarrassed.

Next, the same employee is accused of financing a huge dog fighting ring where dogs are tortured for financial gain and personal entertainment. In fact, this is reported to be one of the largest dog fighting gambling rings in the country!

Okay, it's time to call this employee in and here his side of the story. You call him in and he says everything you want to hear. "I have nothing to do with any of this!" Great, as long as he is telling the truth, all will wash out in the end and we can go about our business as usual.

Oopps!!! A trial happens and your employee is found guilty and sentenced to two years is prison!! Ouch, that does not look good for our company! What an embarrassment! Two years go by and your former employee is released and has paid his debt to society.

He would like to come back and have his old job. True, there are other people in your company that have done terrible crimes as well, and they are playing, so what about this guy? People seem to think that you owe it to him to let him play? Do you?

Is working in your company a right, or a privilage? Don't you have the right to say who represents your company?So, maybe you take him back, maybe you don't. Maybe you tack on a suspension of your own to show that you didn't appreciate how he made your company look. My question isn't should this employee be allowed back, but why is it that the NFL apparently owes employment to Michael Vick when any other company in the world (outside of sports) would be free to say that they are not interested in hiring him?

Just so you know that I'm not going spineless on this one. I think the NFL should take Vick back. However, I would suspend him for another year so that he can prove that he has rehabilitated. People say that he has been an awesome person the last two years. Sure he has! He has been locked up! Most of his decisions are made for him behind bars. Now that he is out on his own, let's see what choices he makes for his life. Then and only then would I give him his "second" chance.

How about you?

What would you do if you were Roger Goodell?


  1. Nice write up Bolt. Vick is a lucky man, he can sign with another team for big bucks and I will not pay any attention to him.

    It is very difficult for regular people to find employment if they have a felony conviction even after they are supposedley rehabed. It is a system of double standards with no right or wrong answer.

    Money or no money Vick is just like the rest of us and when he steps on the field again he can thank God for the opportunity because there are many more people that do not get the chance.

  2. bolt, nice write. I say if a team wants to take a chance, let him play. Like you said, he has served his time. Right or wrong, our penal system is set up to try and rehabilate criminals. If no one gives them a job, then they go right back to criminal behavior. I work in the automotive field. Many people I have worked with have been to jail or prison. They made mistakes, did their time. Thankfully they found jobs with people willing to take a chance. Society as a whole needs to look at themselves and asked how would I feel if this was me, or my son, or and uncle. Its violent offenders that need to be locked up.

  3. This is a great question Bolt. I think the answer lies in the assumption about the NFL - sport or business?

    Personally, I would rather none of the thugs play in any sport -- any law violation is immediate termination from the league for life-- that would solve the problem quick.

    But we all know they would never do tough love.

  4. Bolt, I've tried to stay away from this subject because it is so disgusting to me. As a fellow educator I think you will understand what I'm going to write. I made a decision to teach in the Inner City School System. I wanted to do so. I was raised in the Jewish community...Thursday School, Friday night Family get the picture. I wanted to make a difference. There was a world out there that I had no idea about. After nearly 40 years I know how other people live or simply survive.
    To say that a rapeist, a molester, a physically and/or mentally abusive person made a mistake is JUST WRONG. To say that Vick made a mistake is JUST WRONG. These people made choices the same as I. They made bad choices, but it was not a mistake. Drunk driving is not a is a choice. NO! Vick has shown nothing that I have seen to show that he is even remotely sorry for his acitons and HIS CHOICES. When did being responsisble for your actions become unheard of? Let's stop making excuses for people and expect them to accept responsibility for the choices they made. As an educator, if you were accused of inappropriate conduct toward a student, even though it was unfounded, how many second chances whould you get in the system in which you teach? Thanks for letting me vent. Good, thought provoking article.

  5. Good grief, I was ranting and missed my spelling mistakes. I apologize. Take care and have a good week.

  6. volfan- What are we teaching are children if we punish someone for the rest of their life for a bad "choice". I am not condoning any criminals behavior, but we have to have room for forgivness and rehabilitation. If not we should just execute all criminals and close all the jails.

    p.s no disrespect to any teachers, I am married to one (2nd grade)

  7. Bolt, nice write.

    The dif between us and Vick is that the CEO of our company would never know wqe had been convicted of anything. I guarantee plenty of Fortune 500 employees have been convicted and kept their jobs.

    I saw a story once about how many US senators and congresspersons had criminal records. Unbelievable! Nobody is trying to keep them from working.

  8. Okay, a lot happened here this morning! Let's see if I can do your comments justice.

    RL: You're spot on. No argument here. Thanks!

    Storkjrc: (comment 1) I guess my question for you is where do we draw the line? For instance, at my school, we had a teacher convicted for committing lewd acts with a 13 year old. She was all for the relationship and actually started the whole thing by hitting on him! He cheated on his wife with this student throughout the year, until he got caught. He is now doing 10 years in prison. Does my school district owe him his job back after he pays his debt to society? He needs to earn a living and teaching is what he was trained to do (and was quite good at it). I know that this is different that fighting and killing dogs and running a gambling ring, but where do we draw the line?

    That being said, this is a tough situation and I totally respect your point of view. Thanks for the comment!

    Kristen: Sport or business? Great question! I think anything that brings in the money that the NFL does is certainly a business. Check out this video clip from North Dallas Forty. There is a scene within that shows John Matuzac yelling at his coach about that very question. Sorry, there is some profanity in the clip so if you mind that, don't click the link:

    As for the tough love, I agree that it will never fly. Besides, I do think that we need to look at each situation on a case by case basis. Not all felonies are created equal imo.

    Volfan: Rant on! Great stuff!

    Srorkjrc: (second comment) You mentioned that we don't want kids to think that we have to pay forever for our mistakes (paraphrasing). Personally, I want my kids to know that some mistakes will be paid for forever. Let's be real, if you chose to commit certain crimes, you are screwed for life and IMO rightfully so. I have managed to make it 43 years without killing, rapeing, molesting a child, or running a dog killing gambling ring. If I did these things, I would expect that decision to have an effect on the rest of my life. Personally, I put the gambling ring right up there with violent crimes. How many people have been ruined by gambling habbits? Sure, to Vick it was spare change, but to many of his betters, I would guess that it was a much larger percentage of thier income.

    Gene: I'm sure that Fortune 500 companies have hired some people of questionable charactor and pasts. I have no doubt that Congress has had many low life's voted in by the people. I believe I saw that email as well. I don't know how many of those congressmen were guilty of crimes that compare with Vick's. Also, most Fortune 500 companies are not as high profile as the NFL and most do not have millions of children looking up to their employees with dreams of being just like them someday. Looks like we are not on the same side on this one, but that is what these blogs are all about! Thanks for the comment!!

    Thanks to everyone who has commented so far!! Nice debate on a not so nice topic.

  9. Granted we do need to forgive but at what cost. Some one in a position such as sports stars, politicians, and the law. should set forth a moral and just appearance. To do other wise is setting a bad example. In vics case he is settting a bad example for the youth that idolizes such athletes. I would not rehire him at any cost.

  10. Thanks photogr! I wouldn't hire him either. The only way I would let him come back is if he stayed away and showed that he can make better decisions. He should also have to do something to help animals and perhaps work with Gamblers Annonamous.

  11. I would not hire him back. I know everyone deserves a second chance. And that is all well and fine. Let him go get his second chance like any other criminal who has paid their debt to society. In the real world working for a real salary. Not for millions of $$$ playing ball.

  12. I want to say again that this is an excellent subject/topic that we can all discuss. stork, I very much appreciate the opportunity to talk about this with you and know that you and I retain respect for one another. I have more to say to you about this but I will have to do so tomorrow. I'm tired!LOL Again, thanks to all of you and respect to all of you for this chance to view our honest opinions without fear of being called names or someone getting upset and ugly. I really love this site. Thanks, Bolt. I'll be back tomorrow...much to the dismay of some!LOL

  13. I'm not on Vick's side at all. Never liked him as a player going all the way back to his Va Tech days.

    I'm saying that if he worked for a Fortune 500 company instead of the NFL, he would have probably got probation, and his CEO would have never heard about it.

    Do we pick and choose which crimes are okay to let the guilty go back to work after being convicted of?

    The culture that Vick comes from does not think of dogs the same way that mainstream America does. I'm not saying that they're right, just that there are plenty of cultures that don't consider dogs as members of the family or even as house pets.

  14. TSF, Thanks for your opinion on this matter. I have no argument for you.

    Volfan, Thanks for the honesty and kind words. Sleep well.

    Gene, I hear you. I do believe that the added press surrounding this case did put pressure on the courts to throw the book at him. However, I think that the media focused so much on the dog angle, that the possibly bigger issue of running the gambling ring across state lines was mostly ignored. The judge did not ignore that part.

    Culture does play a part. There are many dog pits in that part of the country and the people who grew up down there were rather vocal about the fact that they were "just dogs". I for one, do not put dogs on the same level as people. It drives me crazy when I hear, "dogs are people too." When people compared my wifes late spouse dieing to having their dog die, I think she wanted to put them to sleep!

    However, if he can't appreciate the seriousness of his actions, he needs to surround himself with more worldly advisors and listen to them when they say, "Mike, you can't fight the dogs anymore." So many athletes go down in flames because they can't leave their past behind and learn how to deal with their celebrity. Thanks for the debate. Volfan is right that it is nice to have a place where we can discuss opinions without fear of getting blasted by someone.

  15. Thanks for the clip Bolt - I dont have sound at work so will have to watch it at home (profanity doesnt scare me! You should hear some of my sessions! LOL)

    I think pro sports is different than a Fortune 500 company. And to the culture angle - sure dogs are not pets to him but gambling in that manner and animal abuse is against the law period.

    I think until pro sports starts a zero tolerance policy on offenders -- any offense that is convicted -- they are essentially supporting thuggery.

    And now we get a rash of athletes being murdered...hmmm...coincidence? I think not.

    When your job is glorified the way a pro sports athletes is and you get obscene amounts of money to do it, its a privilege IMO.

    Also props to everyone for such a great debate! Glad everyone feels safe on here to express their opinions...

  16. stork, sorry that I'm so late in returning. I'm certain that no one will read this, but I want to say my part. Yes, we all make mistakes and we all make bad choices. I've done both. What I was trying to say is that no one "deserves" a second chance. We all have to "earn" that second chance. I've seen nothing that Vick has done to earn the second chance. Again, thanks to all for the great opportunity to debate this issue and thanks to all for the respect we have shown one anohter.