"We put a tremendous emphasis on character. There are many times (when) we will pass a player in the draft room that is a terrific physical talent. Character is so important that I really attribute it to when you are suffering in the middle of the season - very few teams have 15-1 seasons or 16-0 seasons - you are going to have periods where you're down. Your momentum is down, whether it's the offense, it might be the defense, it might be overall. It's character players that bring you out of that lull. Last year was the greatest example of all. I think it does translate to success. It's worked for us. I know we've had the best record in the NFC this decade and I really attribute it to having a very high character group of players."
- Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, August 6, 2009
OK then. It seems that Jeffrey's idea of character is limited to their attitude on the football field. For the fans, obviously it extends to their homes, private lives and various dog fighting operations they are running.
For those of you who have been in a cave over the past 24 hours, the Eagles signed convicted dog killer Michael Vick to a 2-year contract on Thursday. To say the least, it's been a fascinating time to be a sports fan in Philadelphia.
The natives are outraged. "I'll never root for the Eagles again," they say, or something similar. We'll see what happens come September 13 and they line up for real.
It's a polarizing decision, to say the least. The PETA people are pissed. I think that's what the P stands for. I wonder, if Vick was a construction worker and tried to come back to work and was hired by a contractor, would PETA picket his office? I don't think so. What makes athletes different than the general public? It must be the money.
He seems contrite, but contrition often comes with a jail sentence. Rotten behavior continues until they are caught, then they realize that they've committed some anti-social behavior and they suddenly become apologetic:
"I made poor decisions in my life and I had to reach a turning point and prison definitely did it for me. It was totally unnecessary and uncalled for."
He financially supported and contributed to a dog fighting operation for 6 years, and now suddenly he regrets it. Something tells me he'd still be doing it if he hadn't been apprehended. That's the way it goes with things like that. Their behavior continues for years until they're caught, then suddenly they realize the problem. I'm not convinced.
Stuff like that is in his pores. It's part of his soul as a human. It isn't like a one-time issue where maybe he lost his temper and hit someone. This is a repeated immoral activity. I don't think 2 years in prison can change a lifetime of bad thinking.
Fortunately for me, I don't take sports as seriously as some people. The vocal lot that chimed in today in outrage of the signing are the people who think that their sports franchise is a reflection of their personality. To me, it's entertainment - like going to a movie.
But even at the movies, I can't root for the villian.