Just Say No To Mike

By Drew Sharp
Updated: August 15, 2009

Michael Vick DETROIT — Philly threw Michael Vick a Milk Bone.

Here’s hoping he chokes on it.

This only reaffirms why I ceased being a sports fan a long time ago. It wasn’t worth the duplicity. There should always be a more honorable aim than winning at any cost. Vick’s getting a second NFL life is but another example of our society’s morality of convenience.

If that makes me a “hater,” so be it. At least I know I’m not a hypocrite.

I’m hoping that those who staunchly preached a second chance for Vick will exhibit the same compassion when the next 29-year-old black man leaves federal prison following an almost two-year sentence but can’t run a 40-yard dash in 4.4 time, chuck a football 70 yards or sell a $100 jersey.

But somehow, I doubt that will happen.

Second chances are selective. Always have been. Always will be. It seems a second chance is OK if it improves your favorite football team’s red zone offense.

Everybody will take up sides now. The Eagles will become America’s adopted team this season but for vastly different reasons.

For every new fan the Eagles might gain for signing Vick, might they lose two to three more who simply won’t forget Vick’s heinous deeds and will hold those supporting him accountable?

PETA and its legion of extremists or the vocal callers flooding Philadelphia talk shows Friday aren’t the NFL’s greatest concern. It’s what I once referred to as the quiet objectors, those who will make their disgust known by boycotting the Eagles’ corporate sponsors.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told reporters Friday he has tried reassuring nervous sponsors by telling them Vick seems committed to changing his life. But Lurie didn’t look as though he was completely sold himself.

This move has both economic and competitive disaster written all over it, especially if Donovan McNabb struggles in what has become a Super Bowl-or-calamity season.

Nothing divides even the strongest locker room faster than a quarterbacking quandary. Adding a toxic asset like Vick could obliterate such delicate team chemistry.

And how many will laugh their back pockets off should that happen?

Vick and his apologists aren’t the only ones lapping from the hypocrisy trough.

If Louisville coach Rick Pitino was 18-19 last season instead of 31-6 and ranked No. 1 in the country entering last season’s NCAA tournament, his behavior would have immediately cost him his job for a clear violation of the morals clause in his contract.

Pitino pled guilty to an embarrassing indiscretion when the married coach admitted to an affair with a woman, including a sex romp six years ago in an Italian restaurant after closing hours. Now, there are accusations of rape and extortion flying around.

But university leaders maintained public support for Pitino, cautioning against a rush to judgment under the guise that high-profile people are no different from the anonymous in deserving a chance at redemption.

The truth is that they’re the only ones who consistently get that chance.