Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama was talking to the top brass of the Philadelphia Eagles about some green energy improvements at their stadium, and praised them for giving convicted dog-fighter Michael Vick their starting quarterback slot. Which, as you might expect, has triggered a firestorm of criticism from animal lovers, and today’s letter from me.
Dear Mr. President,
Once again, you’ve confused me. I’m feeling a little lost on this Michael Vick issue. I’m not talking about the hornet’s nest of debate over what he did, whether he should now be forgiven, or any of that. We all agree that dog fighting is barbaric. We all know he was convicted and spent his time in the old Iron Bar Hilton. We all also know that his NFL career is once again soaring as if he never went away. He is a quarterback of rare and special talent, to be sure.
But like I said, let’s put all that aside.
My question: I just don’t understand how or why the President of the United States would be weighing in on this matter. This is not the deficit. This is not the unemployment problem. This is not health care, the immigration debate, or a new plan for dealing with Afghanistan. Those are undeniably presidential level matters, and I would think that you would have your hands more than full with those items. But throwing in your two cents worth on the fortunes of a multi-million dollar athlete who was convicted of a horrendous crime? Why?
I know, I know, you suggested this had something to do with how ex-cons often don’t get a fair shake. You’re right. Often they don’t. But Michael Vick’s life is as much like that of an average convict, as mine is like the Pope’s. Despite the setback brought on by his terrible choices and cruel behavior, Vick is not merely one of those “rich people” you always seem so upset about, but actually one of the uber-rich ones who will enjoy luxuries in his life that the vast ocean of hard-working families can only dream of.
Unlike a typical ex-con who might struggle to get a job as a checker at a supermarket, Vick has been welcomed back into the stratospheric world of fame and fortune occupied by top level professional athletes. Does he have all his endorsement deals back? No. But give it time. And now with a presidential push, even the waiting period has been reduced.
It would be one thing if we were talking about you weighing in on a case where justice was ill-served; where some nameless, faceless criminal who had done his time was being unfairly discriminated against. But this is not that. And this, I’m sorry to say, just looks bad. Michael Vick is doing more than fine without your help or endorsement, while millions of hard-working Americans are fighting every day to get and keep jobs, hold onto their houses, and care for their children…and to be fair, they have committed no crimes at all.
Not trying to wreck on you about this, but like I said, it just doesn’t seem to make sense.
Call if you want to talk it over. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
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