Opinion Brief

Obama's Michael Vick call: Fumble?

President Obama thanked the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles for giving the ex-con quarterback a second chance. Should he have?

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said President Obama praised his team for giving a second chance to controversial quarterback Michael Vick, who served 19 months in prison for his involvement in a brutal dogfighting ring. The White House on Monday confirmed the phone call to Lurie, and said that while Obama condemns Vick's crimes, he "does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again." Should Obama be using Vick as his example of rehabilitation and redemption?

Obama is wasting his time on a "dog killer": With 9.8 percent unemployment, poverty, and massive debt, Obama really "feels the need to interject himself in sports"? asks Dana Pretzer in Scared Monkeys. Getting "lost in smallness" is bad enough, but Obama compounded his error by weighing in on a "divisive" dog killer who happens to be having a great season. Next, the president "will be singing the praises of child murderers and rapists who have got a second chance."
"Lost in smallness: Barack Obama calls Eagles owner..."

Vick was not the best choice for praise: "Hey, every man deserves a second chance," says Allahpundit in Hot Air. But "was there really no celebrity with a more sympathetic offense for Obama to make an example of?" How about all the athletes and entertainers who have redeemed themselves after "victimless crimes involving drugs," for example? Maybe Vick came to mind because "Lurie's an Obama donor."
"Obama phones Eagles owner to congratulate him on Michael Vick for some reason"

Obama was right to pick up the phone: "The president didn't call Lurie to thank him for hiring Michael Vick," says Martin Longman in Booman Tribune. He called for something "much more important" — to talk about the Eagles' exemplary plan to power their stadium on self-generated green energy. That said, the comments about the quarterback are important, too, for both the "millions of anonymous Americans who, like Michael Vick, have served out sentences," and the "business owners" who often don't hire them.
"Forget Vick, let's talk environment"

Vick still needs to prove Lurie, and Obama, right: Vick's redemption story should give hope to all ex-cons, says Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk. But the Eagles star will have to stay on the straight and narrow, and "Obama's gesture also provides Vick with the kind of positive reinforcement that will help keep him out of any trouble during the 2011 offseason, once he is left to his own devices."
"Obama applauds Eagles for giving Vick second chance"

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