Does Michael Vick
Deserve His Comeback?
they say. His dogfighting ring had
perfect ed to
been running for years. Many
companies do not hire people who
have committed serious crimes, so
why should the NFL put Vick back
hold professional athletes to higher
standards. They owe it to the young
fans who look up to them.”
endlessly on the sports channel
Vick’s supporters say he deserves
ESPN. Fans were horrified. Vick
price for his crime.
most celebrated quarterbacks in
his crimes—not only a jail sentence
the NFL. Popular and charismatic,
but also the loss of millions of dollars
in endorsements, fees, and fines.
Furthermore, he has publicly
companies like Coca-Cola,
apologized and is working with the
Nike, and Hasbro. Across
Humane Society of America to speak
America, kids proudly wore
out against the cruelty of dogfighting.
his jersey and hung his posters
Although his crimes were serious,
in their rooms.
they were not connected to
football—and his punishment
shouldn’t be either, supporters argue.
into their leagues after serving jail
time. Shouldn’t Vick get the same
treatment? As Eagles coach Andy
what he did illegal,” said NFL
This debate has been simmering
Commissioner Roger Goodell,
touchdowns. They dazzle
around Michael Vick, who returned
“it’s cruel and reprehensible.”
us with their slam dunks.
to football this season after serving
Vick pleaded guilty to his crimes
They inspire us with their
19 months in prison. His crime was
and was sent to a Kansas prison.
determination to win
especially ugly: Vick and three friends
Game over for Vick, right?
ran a gruesome dogfighting ring.
today’s top professional athletes are
Many dogs died in the fights. Others
This fall, Vick was hired by the
among the most admired Americans.
were tortured and even killed if they
Philadelphia Eagles and was soon
did not perform well in the ring.
named their starting quarterback.
Many sports commentators and
Should they be allowed to stay in pro
images of the scarred and limping
fans cheered his comeback. But
sports? Or should they be banned?
dogs and their filthy kennels played
others were appalled. Vick didn’t
SCHOLASTIC SCOPE • NOVEMBER 8, 2010
©ERIC HARTLINE/US PRESSWIRE; MUGSHOT: MUGSHOTS.COM; PENCIL: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
from football. “Not only is
against all odds. It’s no wonder that
point out that he paid the price for
NFL officials suspended Vick
After Vick’s arrest, heartbreaking
He already paid the
Atlanta Falcons and one of the
Within days of his arrest,
athletes commit serious crimes?
I DO NOT SUPPORT
MICHAEL VICK’S RETURN
a chance to reclaim his old life. They
Cruel & Reprehensible
But what happens when star
I SUPPORT MICHAEL
VICK’S RETURN TO
had been a star player for the
in endorsements from
wrote on an ESPN blog, “We need to
he earned millions of dollars
hey thrill us with their
Do you support Michael Vick’s return to football?
Go back to the article and find information to
support each side. Write the information
on the lines below.
in the national spotlight? As one fan
WITH MICHAEL VICK’S RETURN TO FOOTBALL, MANY WONDER
IF THE NFL IS SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE TO YOUNG FANS
was an NFL
until he was
convicted of a
him in jail.
What Do You Think?
make just one impulsive mistake,
Other athletes, like hockey player
Bob Probert and football player
Jamal Lewis, have been allowed back
Reid says, “One of the great things
about America is that you’re given a
everyone is pleased about his return
EXAMINE POINTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT—AND YOUR OWN
BELIEFS—to decide what you think about this issue. State your opinion in one
sentence below. This can become a thesis statement in an essay on this topic.
to sports. But he is determined to
As for Vick, he knows that not
put his dark past behind him. “All
I can do is hope that people forgive,”
he told the New York Times. “I can’t
make them forget.”
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SCHOLASTIC.COM/SCOPE • NOVEMBER 8, 2010