Updated Wednesday morning
The Firebirds owner says the offer was "a big mistake."
Updated at 1:55 pm
The Albany Firebirds -- yep, the once and now-again minor league arena football team -- have announced that they're offering Michael Vick a contract. If you don't follow sports, Michael Vick is the former NFL quarterback who went to prison after he pleaded guilty to being involved with dog fighting.
So, um, he has baggage. But everyone deserves a second chance, right? Especially if you're 0-5. From the Firebirds press release (emphasis added):
"At the start of the season we'd made the decision as an organization not to pursue Michael," said General Manager Garen Szablewski. "However, in light of the team's recent struggles, we were forced to re-examine the issue. After days of heated debate within the front office, we put together an offer that made everyone comfortable with the idea of singing [sic] him."
The Firebirds are trying to cover themselves by including a clause in the contract that requires Vick to give $100,000 to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society.
Vick, who's still in prison, will almost certainly not sign with the Firebirds. According to the team's press release, their league prohibits them from signing players who are currently suspended from the NFL. And if the NFL commissioner lifts Vick's suspension -- which it sounds like is a possibility at some point -- Vick will probably get a job in the NFL. Whatever issues he may have, he's a freakish athlete.
Which makes all this... some kind of weird PR stunt? Whatever happened to bobblehead day?
Update at 1:55 pm
From a post on the blog for humane society executive director Brad Shear:
Rather than money, I would like to see Michael Vick become a member of the Capital Region community who works to prevent animal cruelty and put a stop to dog fighting. I think that his time and proper use of his fame will be a much better indicator of a change in attitude than writing a check, even if it is to a worthy cause.
photo: Flickr user nineball2727
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