This is one of those rare opportunities to write about a mashup of football and politics. In today’s Los Angeles Times, the paper’s Brian Bennett and Michael Memoli report on a phone conversation between Barack Obama and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie.
El Presidente’s main objective was to give some props to Lurie for greening up Lincoln Financial Field with wind turbines, solar panels and other equally cost ineffective means of powering the stadium (yes, Virginia… Green Energy costs jobs). But the conversation also touched on Lurie’s controversial decision to give Michael Vick a “second chance” by signing him to a one-year deal after Vick was released from prison.
Vick, as we all know, confessed to operating a dogfighting ring in August 2007 and served 19 months of a two-year sentence in federal prison. Vick was once the highest paid player in the NFL but was suspended by the league after his allocution. He was reinstated prior to the season and Lurie gave him a shot, sparking an intense firestorm from the left’s animal rights wacko groups like PETA.
Vick has had an outstanding season and prior to last night’s upset by the Vikings, Vick appeared headed for a league MVP title. Obama reportedly praised Lurie for taking a shot with the controversial quarterback, and instantly reopened the old can of worms.
"This is a nation of football lovers," said Lisa Lange, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She also said Obama was underestimating the negative reaction his comments would provoke. "It is also a nation of dog lovers."While discussing Lurie's November announcement to add hundreds of wind turbines and solar panels to Lincoln Financial Field, Obama also commended him for giving Vick a second chance, according to Peter King of NBC and Sports Illustrated.
A White House statement Tuesday cast Obama's comments as consistent with the president's view that "individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again."
But Bill Smith, the founder of Main Line Animal Rescue in the Philadelphia area, bristled at Obama's characterization that the Eagles' signing of Vick was motivated by wanting to give a convicted felon a second chance.
"If he couldn't throw a football, he wouldn't have had a second chance," said Smith, who organized a campaign last season to collect food for animal shelters every time Vick was sacked on the field. "This isn't about giving anyone a second chance; it's about who can make the Eagles organization more money."
[Vick] riled activists this month when he told NBC News that he "would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process."
Vick is not allowed to own a dog while he is on probation, and PETA wants the restriction extended when he is up for review in 2012. In the same way convicted pedophiles are not allowed to be alone with children, PETA's board says, it believes convicted animal abusers should be denied unsupervised access to pets.
The left is all about giving their favored folks—like child rapist Roman Polanski and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers—second chances. But when a favored target like Michael Vick is given a second chance, all hell breaks loose.
Roman Polanski has never even faced justice for seducing an intoxicated tweener, and Bill Ayers tried to kill people. Michael Vick confessed to his crimes, served his sentence and was released from prison on probation. His probation has included volunteering for the Humane Society, where he has spent more than a year speaking to children about the evils of animal abuse. Tony Dungy, one of the finest men in the NFL world has testified to Vick’s successful rehabilitation.
Vick has paid the price for his misdeeds and has earned the chance to play again. He’s made the best of that chance and by all accounts, has turned his life around. Meanwhile, lefty criminals like Polanski and Ayers are unapologetic and treated like persecuted rock stars.
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