Lofgren Vs. Vick: WHO YA GOT?!

Jason Wells Photography

There are two kinds of people when it comes to Michael Vick. There are the people who think he’s paid his debt to society and have no problem with his current comeback. And then there are the people who think he deserves to burn in Hell and that he belongs in a Burmese prison camp for the rest of eternity. And you can now go ahead and put legendary guitarist Nils Lofgren to the latter group. On Friday night, the E Street Band member and guy I always confuse with Bob Geldolf for reasons I can’t explain wrote an open letter on ESPN condemning Vick. Why is Nils Lofgren writing about Mike Vick on ESPN? SHUT UP OR YOU’LL RUIN THE MAGIC!

I support his right to earn a living. But, while I can't fault him for taking great advantage of the opportunities afforded him by playing in the NFL, I feel he does not deserve that lofty a place in our society and culture. However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential bounty it offers.

Shame on the NFL for not banning him permanently.

How can we justify this saga to our children?

Lofgren went on to bash broadcasters and reporters who praised Vick’s play without reflecting upon his crimes. But Sam Donnellon of philly.com says Lofgren is using a straw man argument:

The premise that writing about Vick making the most of his second chance is akin to sweeping the images of those poor abused dogs under some rug is just plain absurd. It's the opposite. You can't write about Vick without at least mentioning the dogs. A search on Google News yesterday using his name and dogfighting produced 672 stories, most of them written since he emerged from Eagles backup to NFL star.

Donnellon also went on to point out that Lofgren has worked with some dubious characters in his time, including Jerry Lee Lewis. And it’s a good point. I like old Motley Crue songs despite knowing Vince Neil once killed a guy in a drunk driving accident. I’m aware he’s a lousy person, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the song. Kyle Scott got it right on Crossing Broad -- "At some point you have to separate the actor from the act."  I see no reason why you can’t admire Vick’s play while also condemning what he did.

Mike Vick could win four Super Bowls for the Eagles over the next four years and I don’t think anyone, anywhere, will ever forget that he spent years and years torturing and killing defenseless animals. That’s a stigma he’ll have to shoulder for the rest of his existence. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if that’s punishment enough.

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