Ever since the whole Michael Vick getting signed thing has happened I’ve been thinking about how I felt about it, what if anything I could personally do about it. Ultimately this came down to me needing to draw line as to how I would respond to people who prey on those who can’t defend themselves, kids and animals being the two most immediate categories. This is about the NFL, but it’s about my life, and a line I’m comfortable with for me. This has been longer in coming than I realized initially, but it’s been building and Michael Vick was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am no longer supporting or through intermediaries supporting, or by lack of action supporting or being polite or civil to those who prey on the defenseless.
This means that in regards to football I will no longer be watching the NFL. I can find something else to do on a Sunday besides provide a higher viewer number to NFL advertisers, and through such allow the NFL to make more money from the networks eventually.
I decided to apply this to the whole NFL as the NFL Code of Conduct in my opinion should find that those who prey on and/or torture the defenseless is an act so heinious as to bring about a lifetime ban. I applied this to the whole NFL as ulimately the NFL has to decide and enforce that it’s players have to maintain a minimum level of moral behavior or risk losing fans. Only by acting against the whole NFL can the actions of individual players be held to account, and only through the action of the whole NFL will players realize they have to act at least minimal humanity. There will always be teams willing to pay lots of money for player regardless of how abhorrent a person they may be just because they have superior muscle memory.
Now, mind you, I’m not against second chances. I am for them. Michael Vick’s second chance is that he can walk down the street again. That he can sleep in a room without bars. I don’t believe that his right to a second chance is equal to the privelge of earning 1.6m and up to 5m dollars. His second chance is that he’s not waking up in jail. For more than that, he has to earn it. Or he should have to.
Serving hard time is not equivalent to changing your behavior, it’s not equal to changing your views on what is right and what is wrong. Serving hard time is what you have to do, at the point of a gun.
To get respect, to get good opportunities, reformed predators should need to earn them. This should mean years of behaving better, years of trying to improve the world, years of working to make-up, at least in part, for the pain they inflicted. And it shouldn’t be done for anyone, it should be done because the person believes they need to do it, for themselves, even when no one is watching.
Ulimately this change needs to happen because the person wants to be a better person, a good person. Then, then the person deserves, has earned respect. Has earned the chance to try for a great life. And I give a lot of respect to those who have changed their ways, it’s an incredible sight, that I’ve seen repeatedly. It’s awe inspiring.
To give this away because the convict did their time is, because the convict can bring in the dollars, is in the end, amoral and reprehensible. Any organization that sees so little value in such a basic sense of morality I don’t want to get my time, attention and certainly not my money.
At some point, and for me this is the point, each of us has to find a line where we say that a company’s behavior is so bad that we can’t and won’t buy from them even at our own determinant because the larger determinant on society of that company’s behavior outweighs it’s positives. As a society we need to decide that their are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, lines that are too far. This is also true for individuals.
Maybe I’ll take that time on Sunday to go walk my pit bull, Stella. She deserves that time, she’s earned that time through her giving of attention, affection and love unto me and those I love.