DATE: January 2010 - Will Vick Stay Out of the Doghouse?
NFL star Michael Vick was convicted of conspiracy and running a dog fighting ring in August 2007. Vick financed a gruesome
operation and played a major role in the deaths and torture of countless dogs. Vick executed animals through drowning, hanging, and
even electrocution resulting in a 23 month federal prison sentence for the star; Vick served 18 months. In addition NFL Commissioner,
Roger Goodell, suspended Michael Vick indefinitely from pro football.
Commissioner Goodell lifted Vick's suspension on July 27, 2009 but there were certain guidelines that needed to be followed.
Assuming these guidelines were abided by, Vick would be eligible to participate in team actives and preseason games. The
Commissioner decided to use his discretion and evaluate Michael Vick's behavior and progress and consider full reinstatement for Vick
at Week 6 of the NFL season at the very latest. Vick would go on to sign a one year deal with an option for a second year with the
Philadelphia Eagles in August 2009 and the commissioner subsequently made the decision to fully reinstate Michael Vick during Week
3. The Commissioner wrote a letter to Vick, accepting Vick's willingness to turn his life around and to be a positive role model for
others. The Commissioner would go on to say, “I am prepared to offer you this opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your
Vick was once the highest paid player in the NFL with a $130 million contract yet while incarcerated Vick's lawyers filed for bankruptcy
protection. When he was released from prison he was reduced to working in a construction job making $10 an hour; quite a deviation
from his comparable $65,000 hourly salary. Michael Vick's contract with the Eagles is now worth $1.6 million. Despite the many
thoughts and beliefs held surrounding Michael Vick, he has made significant effort in changing himself and his image all the while
bringing attention to the serious issue of dog fighting. Vick has worked with the Humane Society of the United States to steer inner city
youths away from dog fighting and has also been active in numerous other charitable events.
There are many things we can learn for Michael Vick's situation. Firstly, he is lucky to have obtained a high paying position as many
employers are reluctant to hire a convicted felon for a high profile position. Many hiring managers need to take into consideration
whether they want an employee who has been convicted of a crime in the workplace. Has the applicant had sufficient time to get their
life back on track and reform their behaviors? Does the person show remorse for their crime and does the applicant understand why
they were wrong? Does the applicant have a track record indicating that the deviant behavior is likely to reoccur? Will hiring this
applicant make the business vulnerable to negligent hiring lawsuits? All of these questions and more must be taken into account when
considering an applicant who has disclosed a prior criminal conviction.
However, society has a vested interest in ensuring that individuals with past criminal records are able to find and maintain employment.
It's extremely difficult for an ex-offender to matriculate him/herself back into society and resume any sort of normalcy. In fact, statistics
show that 2/3 of offenders released from prison every year will be back in prison in less than three years. Why does this happen? Oft
times these offenders cannot find or maintain employment and resort to illegitimate means of finding an income. Offenders who
disclose a previous conviction on a job application cut their chances of getting called back for an interview by fifty percent.
Michael Vick was afforded opportunities that convicted felons don't have. He has a network of people who are willing to help and an
income that is most certainly envied by a majority of Americans. Michael Vick also has a platform to make a difference. Due to his
fame as an NFL quarterback he has the opportunity to reach out and make an impact on the lives of others. He was recently awarded
the Ed Block award for courage although many doubt that it was deserved. What Vick has done in his past cannot be forgotten and
many may never forgive him for his actions; however, he will continue to serve as an example that a previous criminal conviction is not
a permanent indicator of character.