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Should we forgive Michael Vick?
Sixteen months after being released from prison for dogfighting, quarterback Michael Vick is lighting up the NFL and winning over new fans in Philadelphia. Is it time to move on?
 
Following his release from federal prison, Vick joined the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following his release from federal prison, Vick joined the Philadelphia Eagles.
CHRISTOPHER BARTH/epa/Corbis

Three years ago, Michael Vick was persona non grata in the NFL. Once an electrifying young quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, his stock plummeted when he was indicted, then convicted, for running a dogfighting ring. One day after pleading guilty, Vick "became the first player in NFL history to have sales of his merchandise suspended by the league," with Reebok "taking the unprecedented step of halting the production of Vick's Falcons jerseys." But now, after 19 months in prison and a season as a backup, Vick has vaulted into the starting quarterback position for the Philadelphia Eagles, and is playing some of the best football of his career. With his jerseys selling at a record level, fans seem ready to let bygones be bygones — but should they? (Watch an AP report about Vick's ascent)

Forgive Vick — don't forget what he did: "I believe in forgiveness," says Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports. But the Michael Vick who "ran for 103 yards against Green Bay and threw for 284 yards against Detroit" is also the Michael Vick who "personally killed seven dogs by hanging or drowning them." Vick deserves his shot at redemption, but it would be wrong to simply "move on" and forget what he did to those dogs.
"Vick's past should still be dogging him"

He's a good redemption story: Surprisingly, Vick has become a "new role model for many of us who have failed and thought that a comeback was almost impossible," says Walter Pavlo at Forbes. A felon is often defined by his crime, but Vick has "fought his way back" to remake his image — and in so doing, he will have a "renewed appreciation for his talents and good fortune that allow him to play football on Sunday afternoons."
"Michael Vick's redemption"

It's all about performance: "Now that Vick is back on top of his game," says Dashiell Bennett at Business Insider, "it was only a matter of time before the fans returned, too." Once, wearing a Michael Vick jersey "left you open to charges of supporting animal cruelty," but now you can "proudly wear one to the game and be lost in a sea of Vick lovers." Playing at a high level "has a funny way of fixing those pesky image problems."
"Fans forget about dead dogs, load up on Vick jerseys"

 

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