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Benz: Michael Vick paying his debt to society doesn’t mean that you’ve paid your debt to humanity

TIOPS WEDNESDAY COLUMN

I’m not sure what sickens me more: The Steelers decision to sign convicted dog-fighting killer and washed up QB Michael Vick? Or the length the fanbase is going to in an attempt to justify the move.

What Michael Vick did makes him human excrement. And I don’t want him playing on the team I’ve rooted for my whole life. I’m not telling you that you have to feel the same way I do. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t.

After all, we are the same fan base that disparaged the Patriots for employing Aaron Hernandez. We mocked Bengal felons over the years. We turn our nose up at the Ravens for building a statue to Ray Lewis and paying Terrell Suggs. And we wag our finger at the legacy on the “White House” era Cowboys.

But, sure. Let’s bend over backwards to rationalize the signing of this demon.

And judging by my twitter timeline, a far greater amount of people are trying to do that than they are willing to criticize the Steelers for bringing him on board. So let’s go through all the arguments Steeler fans are making as to why the Steelers are right to ignore Vick’s past and give him a contract.


VICK DID HIS TIME. HE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE: Well, actually this is his fourth chance. But I won’t split hairs.

I’m not saying the NFL needs to step in and re-suspend him. He was suspended. He was jailed and his sentence is up. So yeah, go seek employment in the league Michael Vick. No argument from me there.

That doesn’t mean I have to endorse my team of choice giving him a roster spot and bringing him to my city.

Paying your debt to society doesn’t mean that you’ve paid your debt to humanity. Vick being released from jail doesn’t mean I have to release my anger for what he did.


HEY, BENZ! JAMES HARRISON HIT A WOMAN. HOW COME YOU ARE ONLY PISSED ABOUT VICK AND YOU AREN’T PISSED ABOUT JAMES HARRISON BEING ON THE TEAM??: Yeah, I got that one about 30 times yesterday.

First of all, who is to say I’m not pissed about Harrison being on the team? I wish he wasn’t. I wish Jarvis Jones was the player he was supposed to be when he was drafted so Mike Tomlin didn’t have to bring back Harrison in the first place. And I didn’t like the rationalization Dan Rooney gave when Harrison was kept years ago.

Secondly, drop it. Stop! Just stop! This isn’t about a woman vs a dog. It’s not human vs canine. It’s the nature of crime I’m debating. Not the species of the victim.

Harrison lashed out with a despicable lack of self control and violence. Then he admitted it.

Meanwhile Vick knowingly was part of an organized, felonious animal torture and gambling ring for years. Then he lied about it. As the judge in the case pointed out “this was not a momentary lack of judgement.”

Harrison was guilty of that horrid, momentary lapse in judgement and action. Vick showed significantly more cunning, intent, and attempted to profit off his actions. That’s why he went to Leveanworth.

So, (to reference the previous expiring jail sentence argument above) I am supposed to “get over it” with Vick because the legal system set him free. But by that logic, those in favor of the signing should then drop the Harrison comparisons because the legal system also saw Vick’s crime as being significantly worse, correct?

That’s the law talking. Not me. So either use the legal argument, or don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

The type of mammal that happens to be the victim is irrelevant. The systematic repetition and intent of the heinous crime is.


“WELL, THE BIBLE SAYS ‘He that is without sin among you, cast a stone’”:

Think I’m exaggerating there? Nope. I had that tweeted to me and emailed too.

Well I may have sinned. But nothing like Vick. So hand me a big rock instead of a little stone because my arm is warmed up.

My sins in comparison to Michael Vick? Well let’s just say I have a few parking tickets on my record. But he drove through a school zone at 100mph on PCP.

And the whole “who are you to judge” routine? Well, I’m paid to give an opinion. And my opinion is: Just because Vick is out of jail, that doesn’t mean I have to forgive him. You should have an opinion too. And shouldn’t just blindly be the same as what the Steeler organization wants it to be.


THIS IS ABOUT FOOTBALL! (pull up pants and insert snort here) IT SHOULDN’T MATTER WHAT HAPPENED OFF THE FIELD!: Oh, ok. If football-&-only-football is always the determining factor, why didn’t the Steelers sign Ray Rice for a playoff game against his former team in which he actually would’ve seen the field instead of that waste of space like Ben Tate?

Meanwhile they are signing Vick, who they hope never has to play? Anyone else see the lack of consistency there?


WELL, HE’S BETTER THAN LANDRY JONES!: Wow. Bold. Way to set the bar high. Kordell is probably still better than Landry. Wanna talk him out of retirement? Hernandez is still a better tight end than Matt Spaeth right now. Should Kevin Colbert wire bail money to Walpole?


IT’S BEEN EIGHT YEARS! GET OVER IT!: Tell that to Rover and Fido

Look, I haven’t been under the misimpression that the “Steeler Way” was a real thing for a long time. This club turned the corner on that front and went to the dark side with every other team in the NFL years ago. But we all have our lines to draw in the sand. You have yours. I have mine. The Steelers are over mine. You move your line as you see fit. That’s your business. But so long as Vick is cashing a Rooney paycheck, emotionally…I don’t care if they win or lose.

I’ll keep covering them because it’s the job. And frankly, so long as I have a platform I want to call them out for this move whenever possible.

As a fan, they were my team. But should Ben Roethlisberger go down, I’d rather see them go 0-16 with Landry Jones than 16-0 with Michael Vick.

About The Author

Tim Benz

TIOPS Columnist

Tim Benz can be heard on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network post game show and M-F 10-1 on TribLive Radio

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