Athlete has served his time

One of the biggest stories of the past three months is Michael Vick and his release from prison and reinstatement to the NFL. 
For those of you who don’t know who I am talking about, Michael Vick is a quarterback in the National Football League who was sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to funding a dog-fighting ring at his home in Virginia.
He served the last two months of his prison sentence under house arrest and is now back in the NFL after being reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to a two-year contract and was eligible to start playing in week three of the regular season. This is after he was able to practice with the team during the off-season and play in pre-season games.
In Vick’s first game back he was a non-factor, rushing for seven yards and not completing a pass with two attempts. This was the first game Vick had played since December of 2007 while a member of the Atlanta Falcons. The bigger story is that he is back to playing, not the fact he is out of prison. 
Many people believe Vick should have never been allowed back into the NFL and think he should still be in prison. There have been numerous protests outside of Vick’s home in Virginia and also outside the Eagles’ stadium. Well, I feel the exact opposite way. 
I believe Vick did exactly what he needed to do. He confessed to doing wrong, he served his prison sentence without any hassle and is now behaving like a professional football player should. He is now even making appearances with the Humane Society of the United States and is also speaking to kids to try to educate them about the mistakes he made in hopes to help the fight against dog fighting. 
Now in no way, shape or form am I saying the crimes he committed should be taken lightly or that what he did wasn’t wrong, because I highly disagree with dog fighting and the things Vick did. At the same time, however, I believe he has paid his dues and his debt to society. In going to prison he lost millions of dollars and became bankrupt. 
Vick was looked down upon by the NFL, the fans and the community as a whole. Now he is doing everything he can to get back to doing what he loves while educating the youth of America to not make the same mistake he has made.
I honestly believe people would not have made as big a deal about this case if Vick were a normal person like you or me, but since he is a professional athlete everything was blown out of proportion. Again, I’m in no way saying what he did was justified or right but I think the whole issue should be dropped. He has served his time and has changed his ways.
Over the next few weeks I’m sure this will still be in the news every time Vick takes the field for the Eagles, but I am hoping this story will finally fade away.
Long story short, he went to prison, paid his debt and now it’s time for him to make a living doing the one thing he loves – playing football. Is coming back to football really all that bad? I don’t think so.
Hayden Shaver is a sophomore sports communication major from Washington. He is the Scout sports reporter.
Direct comments, questions and other responses to hshaver@mail.bradley.edu.