The Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Michael Vick To A 1-Year Deal. The Internet Found Out.

Lets talk about that NFL scandal. You know… that one in the NFL everyone has been talking about. The pathetic part about that is without being extremely specific, nobody knows what NFL scandal/legal issue you’re talking about. They’re league-wide and it’s almost like a new one pops up every single day.

What’s turning out to be the most overblown and certainly the most eye-rolling-ly annoying and absurd scandal, “Deflategate” is still pushing forward through the US Federal Court system. I couldn’t possibly think of a better use for my tax dollars. Ray Rice knocked out his wife on camera, in an elevator. Adrian Peterson gets brought up on child abuse charges. Aaron Hernandez is found guilty of murder.

That was just some of what happened in the last year. Here’s a graphic showing NFL arrests over the last 5 years…

rap-sheet

Now it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers who find themselves walking a fine line of controversy with their most recent signing. Michael Vick is now a member of the Steel City’s black and gold professional football team as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup QB. Football-wise, there’s really no downside to having Michael Vick on the roster behind Big Ben. Unfortunately for Michael Vick, the world now thinks of him as a quarterback secondly, and a notorious dog fighting ring master/heinous animal abuser, firstly.

The internet is not happy; Pittsburgh fans, specifically.

The issue isn’t REALLY Michael Vick. He just happens to be the issue on Pittsburgh’s doorstep. The larger issue is trying to figure out what’s actually fair in regard to NFL stars and “2nd chances” after serious legal incidents. Very rarely does it appear that society feels NFL stars are brought to justice. Even when NFL stars are served a slice of justice to some degree, like Michael Vick, it then seems like society thinks the punishment wasn’t enough. It’s hard not to feel some kind of way about these criminals, by definition, returning to a job that pays them hundreds of thousands to millions and millions of dollars, and showcases them on live TV where they receive praise and adoration for their athleticism despite their lack of character. Something about it appears off point.

It’s hard to believe a “normal, everyday person” with the same charges brought up against them, would be able to return to the same job, given a cushy salary, and be showcased as a face of the company. Running this concept in parallel with the NFL, there’s really only 2 conclusions here: 1- the NFL truly doesn’t care about the character of the players under its umbrella as long as profit margins continue to skyrocket. OR 2- as a “normal everyday person,” you’re truly that very replaceable and no company ever really feels a ton of pressure to get you back specifically, whereas professional star athletes are so extraordinarily unique and talented, that owners could care less about their criminal history as long as there’s still some of that magic left in the player’s tank.

There’s probably a fair amount of truth to both conclusions.

The truth of the matter is NFL stars will always seem like they get off the hook too easy. Their fines aren’t proportionate to their income. Their punishments rarely get enforced because they’re able to employ the best lawyers money can buy. With their salaries and long lists of endorsement deals, NFL players almost never skip a beat in regard to the financial struggle a “normal everyday person” in the same situation would be buried under. Adding insult to injury, you see these players on TV, hear them on the radio and see their names printed on the backs of jerseys and worn all around town. Maybe it’s not fair to most, but the way things are right now… it’s life.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers fans out there who are irate about the team signing Michael Vick, it’s not my place to tell you to feel one way or the other. Just know that if you truly do boycott your NFL patron-ism, you’re only doing it for yourself.

The NFL will never know.

The Steelers will never know.

Your neighbor down the street will probably never know.

Nobody will acknowledge your absence.

I hate alluding to the idea that you don’t matter or make a difference, but in this case, if you’re using your boycott threats in hopes of making a legitimate, significant impact against the NFL and/or the Steelers, you wont. If you’re boycotting in protest because you wouldn’t feel right otherwise and it’s something you need to do for you, perfect.

In the end, whatever you do, just try make it make sense in the general scheme of reality. We all know that’s so often not the case when dealing with reactions from sports fans.