Do athletes with a rap sheet deserve to play?

      “You do the crime, you do the time,” is a phrase that some may have heard one to0 many times.  Unfortunately, for many athletes, the punishment for their many bad decisions still seems ongoing even after justice has been served. Some people may wonder why it’s becoming more acceptable for athletes to commit crimes and still play.

      For example, take the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick, who lost a $130 million contract and possibly ruined his career for pleading guilty to federal dog fighting conspiracy charges.  After serving 18 months of his 23-month sentence, Vick was released and reinstated into the National Football League.

      Not long after his release, Vick signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Although, Vick received a warm welcome from Philly fans, some protesters and other fans still don’t agree with him playing in the NFL.  Many people still ask, why and how is it possible?

      There’s even been a constant debate about the penalty and release of the names of Major League Baseball players who may have tested positive for steroids. Boston Red Sox’s slugger David Ortiz, Los Angeles outfielder Manny Ramirez and current New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez are rumored to have taken steroids during their career.

      Both the fans and the media disagree with the leniency that many athletes receive after playing apart in such poor decision making situations.

      The slight suspension of players like 2005 draft pick and former Dallas Cowboys cornerback, Adam “Pacman” Jones, who has been arrested 10 times since his two years in the NFL, is still a mystery to some.

      The most unfortunate event to happen was the death of 59-year-old Mario Reyes. Reyes was killed by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth. Some feel that the punishment is still not enough.

      The New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is now known to have a lack of self-control after he accidentally shot himself in the leg while carrying an illegal concealed gun into a New York nightclub.

      Many fans and commentators may not agree with the final outcome of certain athletes, but whatever happened to “forgive and forget”?

      People must first understand that before anything else, they’re human first.  No one is infallible and it is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes.  It’s about more than just the crime at hand, but whether that person takes full responsibility for his or her actions and genuinely works towards developing and bettering themselves.

      Athletes aren’t the only ones to be criticized. Oakland Raiders head coach, Tom Cable allegedly broke his defensive assistant, Randy Hanson’s, jaw and threatened to kill him. The penalties and leeway that most celebrities receive has become a major issue throughout the world.

      Organizational leaders and even the press are worried about the future of the players and the leagues reputation.  It’s completely understood that no one, no matter their net worth or title, should receive a lesser sentence for their crime.

            But what must be remembered is that it’s ultimately up to the judge and the jury.  The tragedy that many families, teams and friends had to face is uncertain.  In order to change the situation and to prevent it from happening again, one must first forgive.  In the words of Edwin Hubbel Chapin, “Never does the human soul appear as strong and noble as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive injury.”