So as the Bears face the Eagles this weekend the one non-game related note that I keep on hearing about is Michael Vick and his redemption. I have also heard this in context compared to Ben Roethlisberger.
First, I am not a fan or detractor of either one in particular. Michael Vick is an extremely gifted athlete that comes along once every 10 years and seems like the type of athlete who could play any sport with relative success. He so happens to play the most difficult and rewarded position in all major league sports. Ben Roethlisberger on the other hand is not the greatest athlete to play his position by any means, but he is a natural leader in the sense that he seems be able to command the respect and focus of 10 other ego maniacs in a huddle like very few players can. Both of these professional athletes are enjoyable to watch and provide entertainment to the masses.
That is where I see the similarities stop and find the comparisons to be both irrelevant and inappropriate. The bottom line whether people want to admit it or not is this –
- Michael Vick committed a crime against dogs. Animals.
- Michael Vick was convicted and served time according to the rules of the justice system.
I know what Vick did was wrong and it sickens my stomach to think of any animal being abused for sport/pleasure/money. The type of person who does this clearly lacks intelligence, judgement and compassion. I would never tell any child to look up to him (But that is true of 99% of athletes as well). However, Vick got caught, was held accountable and served time for his crimes. He served 19 months in a federal prison. He lost his way of life (At that time) and had to file bankruptcy. Make no mistake – I have 0 sympathy for Vick. All I am stating is the facts – he committed a crime and he served the time (I hate to rhyme). I cannot say if he feels remorse but I can say that he has served jail time and done charity work associated with his crime since his release. I cannot judge his heart but his actions are more important to me.
Now lets get on to Mr. Roethlisberger. He has not been arrested, tried or convicted for any crimes (Cited for a motorcycle accident only, no helmet and wrong license class). Many people say that is where the issue ends but for me it does not. This is a person who has had numerous sexual accusations (2 major ones hitting media waves over the last 18 months) that have been very public and very private. Now quite a few people believe that all these girls were looking for money and throwing themselves at Roethlisberger but I think that is a nice and easy way to not deal with the problem from 20-40 year old males who do not have children or in general responsibilities. There is not only smoke but a full fire raging around Mr. Roethlisberger and anyone with an independent mind knows this to be true (Although I believe Steelers fans just think those people are called Patriots fans). Roethlisberger shows no remorse for any of his actions, possible actions or even the remote chance that an “accidental misunderstanding” led to consequences. I am biased as I have 3 daughters and I think of it in a more personal way but if I had had 3 sons I would think of it almost identically. What allows any human being to mistreat another human being solely based on their presence on a football field on Sunday?
I have know one other person in my life who had the theory of “Well, I did not mean for that to happen” and I can truthfully say they were the worst human being I have ever known. I would count Mr. Roethlisberger as one of the worst athletes in sports period. For Mr. Vick, I cannot say that. Maybe in time his maker will but not for me. I can only hope that Roethlisberger gets caught finally and the law has a chance to deal with him in the same context as Vick and then this issue becomes moot. However, that is a sad thing to want as that means another Roethlisberger victim….but who am I kidding thinking that it wont happen again either.