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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  September 2, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

A tough comeback.

Heres the thing. I hope Michael Vick gets to play again.

For those of you who may have missed the story, Mr. Vick was the three-time all pro quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.

"Was" is the most significant word in that sentence because Mr. Vick recently pled guilty to federal felony charges concerning his involvement in a dog fighting operation.

Trust me, the details of what he did arent pretty. In fact, words like "abhorrent," "repugnant," and "disgusting" just barely scratch the descriptive surface of how Mr. Vick and his cohorts treated dogs.

Since this story broke, Mr. Vicks life has, basically, gone down the tubes. The National Football League has suspended him indefinitely, sponsors have dumped him, his career is likely over, his loss of income will amount to tens of millions of dollars, and hell be going to jail for an as yet undetermined amount of time.

All of which he damned well earned.

Still, I hope he gets to play again not out of any thought of leniency or of "giving him a second chance." Such would be appropriate had Mr. Vick simply made as some are calling it a mistake.

What Mr. Vick did, however, was far beyond any mistake. A mistake is when you turn right at a corner where you shouldve turned left. A mistake is when you hand someone the wrong bill to pay for your purchases. Mr. Vicks treatment of dogs was no "mistake." It was a morally perverted choice that hed made. And now, for all of the cruelty and brutality in which he participated, he gets to pay the price for making that choice.

In the 30 plus years that my wife and I have been married, weve had the good fortune to have had three dogs that had us wrapped around their paws from just about the moment we laid eyes on them.

"Monty" is our latest acquisition and hes just turned two. Before him there were "Max" and "Blackie" mutts of grandly uncertain lineage who both lived to be more than 14 years old and were spoiled rotten their entire lives.

Anyone whos ever owned a dog knows that these animals are loyal and loving beyond words. That, in their hearts, were the only people in the world who matter to them. That all they ask in return is a bit of affection.

Michael Vick and his "friends" had no use for any of this.

Just now, Mr. Vick is making all of the right noises in all of the right places. Whether or not hes sincere is something only he knows. The one certain thing is that, as noted, hes taking a well-deserved beating for what he did.

But when its all over. When hes finished with jail and his body is slower. When his mechanics are rusty and his talents reduced, thats when Id like to see him come back.

I want him to return so that others who think that behaving like a degenerate thug is both "cool" and has no consequences can see, not just how far the fall is, but also how brutally tough it is to regain the barest remnants of a life thats been stupidly thrown away.

I want him to return so that he can whisper tough words into the ears of young men for whom the path has always been cleared. For whom fame and special treatment are part of daily life. For whom the rules do not always apply.

I want him to tell such young men that, yes indeed, there are boundaries. That there are standards by which decent people live and expect others to live.

I want him to tell them that actions do have consequences and, if they have a tough time understanding that simple concept, to just look at what happened to him.

If he were to disappear and never come back, hed become just another footnote a figure whod soon be forgotten rather than someone who could be an "up close and personal" example to be seen and talked to every day.

So, I want him to play again. I want others to be able look at him and, then, walk away saying, "Man, no way Im traveling that road."

OK, so maybe Im just dreaming. Maybe, if he did come back, hed do none of the above.

But, if he did, there might come the day when Id be able to look at Mr. Vick again without thinking, as I do now, "Jerk."

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright 2007 by Larry Simoneaux
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