I sit here contemplating all the public support for Michael Vick, people saying "we all make mistakes," and that he should be allowed to return to play for the NFL. And then I feel fairly terrible myself for having such strong feelings of condemnation for him. It's a terrible thing to feel this anger for someone.
On the other hand....
Mike Vick put himself in the position of being the recognizable face of dogfighting.
If Michael Vick doesn't get the full allowable sentence, if he is allowed to return to a football career, then what good is having laws prohibiting the killing of animals for entertainment? It would set a precedent. How much worse does something need to be to deserve full punishment? To receive a shortened sentence, to return to a career in which he is a public role model and is representative of American strength and mores - is just proof that laws are for naught. It would say that this type of behavior is acceptable - because it was a 'mistake', because he was 'immature', because he is 'sorry'.
I am truly sorry that someone with the benefits of great opportunity decided to risk losing it all for the sake of ugly and illegal thrills. I am sorry that he chose himself - his easily recognizable face and career - to be a representative of dogfighting, of violence, of illegal behavior.
Unfortunately, hopefully, some good has come from his behavior and admitted guilty and the media hoopla around it. Hopefully, people will understand that this behavior is deplorable as well as illegal. Hopefully it will bring needed attention both to the plight of abused animals and a society that accepts violence. Perhaps it will address societal ills that lead to this ugliness.
Should we forgive Mike Vick? Perhaps. Should we absolve him? No.