Michael Vick is a former professional football player and a convicted dog killer. Vick has served the sentence imposed on him by the justice system and is no longer incarcerated. The National Football League has reinstated him and any team is free to employ him. However, many protesters appear to believe either that he should not be allowed to play or that he should not be hired by any NFL team. Undoubtedly, these folks have every right to refuse to support any NFL team or the league itself if it employs someone they do not like. They even have the right to try to influence others to boycott the NFL. However, the anti-Vick vitriol appears to be less about whether folks should like Vick and more about whether Vick deserves to play in the NFL. That is, many of the protesters appear to believe that Vick has not sufficiently redeemed himself to play in the NFL and earn the accolades that come from playing in the league. They may be correct, though that may be an argument for lessening the accolades derived from being an NFL player.
However, the question of redemption becomes more interesting when it is applied to Vick’s general employability. It is unclear that Vick would need to redeem himself to work in a less glamourous field. Indeed, Vick worked construction without much protest when he was on supervised release. Presumably, if Vick worked a minimum wage job and was a member of the working poor for the remainder of his life, the protesters would not care. Indeed, if protesters claimed that Vick should not be able to earn a living at all, the protesters would likely be on the defensive. Many of the protesters likely would defend a released ex-con’s right to earn a wage from whomever would hire him. Consequently, the protests in Vick’s situation appear to be soely about stopping Vick from regaining a privileged life. That sounds far more like revenge than a real desire for Vick to demonstrate redemption.