Friday, August 14, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

By now, Michael Vick signing with the Eagles is probably old news, though the announcement overshadowed the world of sport (and pretty much everything else), which I suppose is one way to steal the headlines away from Tom Brady's return to the game after a year on the DL, but I digress.

The debate is familiar one: does talent trump character? Here is a convicted felon who did something most of us find pretty repulsive, but does that mean he should be banned from the game for all time? Especially in light of the fact that other players in the NFL have gotten away with comparative wrist-slaps for more offensive behavior?

The debate is familiar, but it's the wrong debate. The real question (and it was posed weeks ago on NPR by the Barbershop Guys) is this: are we a people (they asked 'nation') who forgives a person (after appropriate punishment and recompense) or is there no possibility of redemption? In context of the High Holidays, the question is this: there ever the possibility of tshuvah , of real repentance, and of real kaparah, real atonement, or are there some things we cannot forgive or be forgiven for, no matter how contrite or penitent the offender?

Sounds like a sermon, doesn't it? Well, it will be--next week in fact. So I'm not going to preach it now (that would ruin the fun, after all), but I'm going to kick it back to you. Riddle me this (paraphrasing L. Spence): do we rehabilitate, do we forgive, do we allow for atonement and redemption or do we continue to incarcerate, literally or figuratively? Are there some crimes or sins that are unforgivable? Who makes that determination? What does a person have to do to prove real contrition or penance? Let's hear your comments (especially 'Iggles' fans out there)


  1. Let's see what Michael Vick does by way of repentance before he gets reinstated.

  2. While it may be fine to give him a shot at playing football again (should his behavior really change), I don't think that too many people will want to purchase shirts that say "Vick" across the back!

  3. I say that I am disgusted in the way in which people respond to Vicks signing. He may have brocken the law, but he has served his time that was mandatory of him to give back to society ( American penary system is meant to "reform" the individaul while he is making retrobutions to society, be it a fine or jail time). So, he is now back into society and so he is back on the job market looking for a job. The job that he has a particular set of skills to be proficient in is football. It happened that he was signed with the eagles. I think that his signing to the eagles, or to put more frank that any football program would sign him shows that some in are society are ready to move on from the time of the scarlet letter, that somebody can do the time for the crime allotted to him by the represenatives of society (courts) and will not be continued to be punished afterwards through the form of being baned from a job

  4. Pro sports has long shown that if a player of poor character can win a game, winning trumps. We should decide for ourselves if supporting the team or player monetarially confers approval. Does teaching our children it is okay to admire or hero worship a good athlete with poor character acceptable? (I won't see Woody Allen movies because I feel his wife was raised as his daughter no matter what he says. If I buy a ticket, I'm excusing his behavior.)