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)