dog.jpgI know Michael Vick’s crime of running a dog-fighting ring was disgusting. You can hate the guy, but banning him from the work world helps no one.

I spent the past few days reading angry comment about the Philadelphia Eagles signing Vick after I blogged about the decision on Huffington Post Friday in piece called “Would You Want Michael Vick as a Coworker?”.

My main point was the double standard in this country when it comes to ex cons.

If you’re Michael Nobody who robbed the grocery store and spent time in jail for it, you’ll have a hell of a time finding a job when you get out.

If you’re Michael Vick who bankrolled an illegal dog-fighting ring, you’ll end up with a plum job and millions of dollars in our pocket.

I’m not saying the Philadelphia Eagles should not have signed Vick for a two-year deal. Why not? He says he learned his lesson and wants to make amends. I love dogs just as much as the next guy, but in the scheme of crimes NFL players commit this one was pretty tame.If you’re famous then typically you get a pass, but if you are just an average Joe good luck landing a job if you have a record.

Many of the readers just brushed aside my point and focused on how much they despise Vick.

Keeping over 50 dogs to torture and fight to the death, drowning them in buckets, hanging them from trees, electrocuting them with jumper cables, feeding them family pets for five years is “PRETTY TAME”? Compared to Auschwitz, that’s not tame! Robbie, you’re right. His crime IS similar to child molesting, in that his victims are particularly helpless and innocent, and that his crimes are particularly depraved.

Almost everyone seems to want Vick banned from the sport forever. But to what end?

Each year, 650,000 people are set free from prison, and as of 2001, the most recent data available, there were nearly 6 million ex cons out in our society. All these individuals are not going to disappear into the ether. Don’t we have to be a little more open to having them as employees, co workers, and NFL stars?

What’s the alternative? If our penal system allows people to pay their dues and get back into the free world, how will the process really work if ex cons are met with slammed doors. Clearly it’s not working since about 50 percent of those who are incarcerated end up back in the slammer. Hello, we’ve got a serious problem with prison overcrowding in this country and little is being done to deal with it.

I know, many people see Vick as a dog Hitler but it’s time to stop the vitriol and think of the greater good. Experts have long maintained that a job is what helps keep people out of prison and helps them become contributing members to society. A high recidivism rate helps no one.

Here’s my question — If you think Vick should be banned from the NFL then what should he do? And what about others like him?

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