“He said, ‘So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was … passionate about it,” Lurie told Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
“He said it’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.”
White House spokesman Bill Burton told the Huffington Post, “The President did place a call to Mr. Lurie to discuss plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, during which they spoke about that and other issues. He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he’s said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again.”
Vick was convicted of illegal dog fighting in 2007 and spent 18 months in prison. Although Vick denied any direct involvement in the killing of the dogs, a federal indictment stated that he and two co-horts killed eight Pit Bulls by methods including “hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”
After filing for bankruptcy in 2008, Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
Kevin Huffman wondered on U.S. News & World Report if Lurie would have given a second chance to an ex-con who wasn’t a former No. 1 draft pick. “Surely the president doesn’t think that Vick’s ability to throw the football and outrun defensive ends is going to create a hiring renaissance for the average ex-con in America,” Huffman wrote. “The Eagles made a football bet on Michael Vick, not a policy bet, and the bet paid off. So far.”
“He’s been going through counseling, he’s been speaking to kids twice a month, and he needs to interact with animals,” Pacelle told CNN‘s Jane Velez-Mitchell. “If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughter wants a dog two or three years down the line … I’m saying that we should be open to that possibility.”
Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), disagreed with Pacelle. She told the Washington Post, “You don’t forget. In the same way, you would hope a pedophile would get a chance at what he does [in his career], but you wouldn’t want him to get another child in his home.”
However, Newkirk did feel that Obama’s phone call was appropriate. “Obama’s a sports guy, Vick’s a sports guy, and comebacks and redemption can happen,” she said. “We all want a president who can lift us up and move us forward when ugly things happen, but that cannot let us forget and remain watchful to avoid future abuses.”
In New York Daily News website poll, as of this afternoon, 61 percent of respondents felt that Vick deserves a second chance, while 36 percent felt that he has not yet made up for what he did.
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