Monday, November 17, 2008

The Gang's All Here - A Sports As Life Group Post



Good day all, and welcome to the first (and hopefully not the last) Sports As Life group post. Upon stumbling across this story – about a couple of Raider players (one now former Raider) discussing the possibility of Michael Vick joining the Raiders after his release from federal prison - I asked the Sports As Life team to write a little something about how they would feel about Vick joining their team (for TH that just happens to be one and the same). So what follows are Trebor’s, my, and TH’s take on the subject (Cooper is busy hunting buffalo… on the moon).


Trebor

The question put forth of whether I’d be in agreement with my team if they signed Vick to be their quarterback, and I think it is a fairly easy one: No. However, this is simply because I don’t think Vick is a very good QB, though arguments can be made if he had a receiver who could catch maybe he would have done alright. Whatever happened to Lelie and Jenkins? If however it’s put into broader terms of; If a guy convicted of dogfighting (and the rest of the charges laid against Vick) was signed by your team, would you support them and the answer there is: Yes.

The actuality of Vick being signed I believe is so low, not for being a half decent qb, but because of the public outcry… won’t someone think of the children? It’s suicide for any team to even come out and say they are thinking about it.

For those that know me, know that I’ve always had a dog or cat and pets will always be a part of my life. If someone said to me Vick should never see the light of day, or even more far out there, be given the needle - well me and my redneck ways wouldn’t be in argument of any tougher decision in this case. Dogs/cats for many are more than just things that piss on your lawn and scratch your furniture, they are best friends and company for many. What Vick was convicted of doing is unforgivable and I could never cheer for him in anyway (not even fantasy football).

Yet, I don’t get to make any rules about how harsh sentences are. I vote and can express my opinion but that’s not my call. One has to believe people of greater importance, more character, worldly views and smarter are making the right decisions on these matters. When someone is released from jail, either because the sentence is up or because of parole or good behaviour, do we not have to say "they’ve paid their price for the wrongs they’ve done".

If not, then what is the purpose of sending people to jail? Why not just put any person convicted of a serious crime to death. If people can’t change and can’t have a life after they’ve served their time then what is the point of it all?

If Vick is released and signed with my team, would I stop cheering for them, no. I may not like the decision, but he has every right to continue to play football and if there’s a team willing to take on the public then yes let him play. There are a few fans out their that I know of that can't stand decisions that are being made this year or for the past 10 years. Is vick being singed worse than dark days when the team wins 10 games in 5 season? I don’t know but right now I would say it would just be a black mark on the franchise but marks can be erased and forgotten about.



Napoleon in Rags

Would I want Michael Vick to join my football team?

No.

And as far as I’m concerned that’s really all there is to it. I certainly don’t want him playing quarterback for my team. Yes, he is a dynamic playmaker – but he is a terrible quarterback. Unless he’s been playing in a prison league and lighting it up, Paul Crewe style.

So, would I want him playing some sort of hybrid/wildcat position on my team?

No.

I’m a firm believe that people deserve second chances and that they should have the ability to pay their debt to society and move on with their lives. But I would like them moving on with someone else’s team, ok? (I’m also a firm believer in reserving the right to be a hypocrite)

There’s just something about the dogfighting charge that’s unforgivable to me – oh I know what it is, he was killing dogs. Not only making them fight to the death but killing those deemed unfit to fight other dogs. Making a defenseless animal fight to the death for enjoyment, sport and gambling is a despicable thing to do – and I don’t want to be associated with anyone who would willingly engage in such a thing. And I suspect there are a lot of other football fans out there who would agree with me.

But here’s the stupid thing – there are two players currently in the NFL who have directly or indirectly been involved in the killing of humans, and nobody really seems to mind that anymore. Leonard Little killed a woman while he was driving drunk and Ray Lewis may or may not have been around while two men were beaten and stabbed. You don’t hear that talked about much, do you? However, if Michael Vick were to come back to the league there would be mile-long lines of protesters.

Back to the topic at hand and would I still cheer for my team if Michael Vick were somehow to join it? I have to think the answer would be no. I don’t think I could, in good conscience, cheer for a team with Michael Vick on it (truth be told, I wouldn’t want to cheer for a team that employed Leonard Little either – luckily for me, my team on employs a degenerate woman-beater. The Kansas City Chiefs – catch the excitement!)

The only – and I mean only – thing I would be excited about if Vick were to join the Chiefs, would be getting a number 7 Ron Mexico jersey. Best. Alias. Ever.

Should Vick be reinstated to the NFL? Yes, he has a right to have a second chance – despite how deplorable I think his crime may have been. But that doesn’t mean I’m required to cheer for him or wish him success. But yes – he should join the Raiders…


TH

This is going to be a hard little piece to write, because it specifically concerns my team – which at the best of times this year I am very embarrassed to admit that I cheer for. The Raiders are bad. No, that does not do their team justice, they are horrible. And they have done some questionable things the last 5 years or so (some would argue that the franchise has been build on questionable moves, but they are just jealous and don’t know nothing from nothing). They gathered an old team in order to make a run at the Super Bowl, but at the cost of being really bad in the subsequent years. Smart, I don’t think so, but others might argue that this is the way that sports are going these days.

The Raiders are in the process of rebuilding – often a term that is tossed around without any real substance, but in the case of the Raiders it is very true. The Raiders have gotten themselves a young QB and RB, TE(s) and O-line. On the offensive side of the ball all they need now is a few good young WR’s. Defensively they aren’t all that bad; they are just on the field way too long. They might need a bit more consistency in the coaching ranks, and they need to send Al away, perhaps to Saint Helena or Elba Island. But I have hope we can rebuild…yes we can. The next few years will be bleak, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite the embarrassment at my team’s performance this year, I had hope. And then…and then… and then… the editor sent me an article that I never wanted to see… EVER. Were my Raiders going to sink lower than ever… were my Raiders going to sell their soul to win now… were my Raiders going to betray me and my belief in them? Were my Raiders going to sign Mike Vick?

Lets get this out in the open now, I have never, repeat NEVER, been a fan of Michael Vick. I don’t think that he was a good QB (his career QB rating is 75.7). Yes he was exciting, and he won games, but I don’t think that a run first QB could ever lead his team to the big dance. This dislike of him started before he decided to forfeit his rights as a citizen by committing heinous crimes.

I am a pretty liberal minded person… I believe in second chances. Yes, that means that I believe that Vick deserves a second chance. He has served his debt to society, and he deserves to earn a living in his profession. It was hard to reconcile that belief and the despair that I feel that he has an outside chance to play for my team. This guy did horrible, terrible things, but he has served his time and I would hope that he would never do anything like that again. However, as I said before I don’t think that he would be a good fit in a rebuilding team, I think he would be a divisive force within the franchise and amongst the fans, and I think that he has forfeited his rights to play in the NFL (there are more football leagues out there than you would think, CFL, Indoor, USF, amongst others). He should be able to play, but not in the NFL and not on my team. Sounds very hypocritical doesn’t it? I can’t explain it any better than that… sorry.

So, to the most important question, what would I do if they signed him. I do not say this lightly…I WOULD RENOUNCE MY FAN-DOM TO THE OAKLAND RAIDERS. I would no longer associate myself with them, if I saw them walking down the street I would cross to the other side to avoid that awkward forced conversation, I would delete their name from my phone, and block them on the MSN. Some would say that those are the actions of a ‘fake-fan’, but I have two words for you “F**K YOU”.

Some people believe that the sayings of the Raiders are “Just Win”…right? Wrong, they are “Committed to Excellence” and the signing of Vick would be in direct opposition to that commitment. Don’t let me down any more Al and the Raiders, you have broken my heart a lot and I am willing to forgive – winning a handful of games in the last couple of years and putting a product on the field that could at best be called embarrassing – for that is what being a fan is all about. Cheer for them when they are losing, forgiving them when they put a bad product on the field and believing that they can make things better next time. But this is an act that I cannot forgive. This would be an act of a team that does not deserve me to support them, for being a fan is a give and take relationship. Never forget that.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The word hypocritical was tossed around alot in the above column. Funny, since i've seen each one of you harm dogs:
TH and Trebor once hid dog food in a sleeping bag (which i was in) while giant man monster size poodles could only smell the treat but never reach them.

Napolean in Rags - I saw you laugh at Jack Black kicking the dog in Anchorman. I laughed too, but if i remember correctly, you laughed an inappropriately long time.

Some may say neither of these crimes amount to what Michael Vick did and who am i to judge? All i know is that all three of you have since played football and no one protested.

I say sign him. Dog protestors have money and would be more than willing to pay for seats that would allow them to heckle and abuse. He would make the team relevant again, if only for the wrong reasons. If oakland doesn't want him, perhaps he'll come play in Saskatchewan. We win championships with athletic quarterbacks who can overthrow anyone.

CH

Napoleon in Rags said...

He is a tremendous athlete.