A few weeks ago, Michael Vick was once again receiving criticism for a sin he has long since paid the price for.

Everyone knows about Vick’s dog-fighting conviction and the prison term he served. After getting out of jail, Vick has done everything imaginable to clean up his image and show that he is sorry for what he has done. He’s given up his days off to speak to high school students, and has donated money to animal shelters, yet some still struggle to let go of what he did.

Recently following a loss against the New York Giants, I read a story about Vick complaining about not getting the same calls from officials that other quarterbacks get. The comments on the article were mean and spiteful.

Some said that the hard hits Vick takes serve him right, and that he deserves to feel pain because of what he has done. But the thing is, Vick has felt pain. He has suffered and lost millions of dollars. He has paid his debt to society.

For nearly two years he was in prison. It wasn’t a small local jail; it was Leavenworth. He did two years of hard time, then when he was released he didn’t have a job, and wasn’t sure he would be able to find a team to play with. He took a temporary job on a construction crew before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

His criticism of the refs isn’t totally off base. Vick does take lots of hard hits. If Tom Brady or Peyton Manning took the flags, they would be flying. The fact that Vick is more mobile and plays more like a running back does mean that he takes more hits, but he is still a quarterback. He should be protected by the officials.

Just this season, Vick has already suffered a concussion and an injured hand. He has probably taken more abuse and physical hits than any quarterback in the NFL.

It’s crazy that some would still criticize him for what he did. Was it wrong? Yes. Have others in the NFL done horrible things as well? Yes. Were they forgiven? Yes.

Ray Lewis was suspected and accused of murder; Brandon Marshall is currently going through charges of domestic violence. Lawrence Taylor, who is considered by many to be one of the best linebackers in NFL history, was convicted of domestic violence, and was also accused of soliciting a prostitute and having sex with a minor.

Cedric Benson, who played with the Chicago Bears, was arrested, and then showed he had a deep regret for getting arrested — by getting arrested again for drunk driving. At least Vick has tried to make amends and clean up the mess he made.

Most of those players are still viewed in a favorable light (except for Marshall, but most NFL fans can agree he’s insane). Fans and critics need to move on over what Vick did. He has paid his price and is trying to move on in his life.

He has lost tens of millions of dollars and two years of his life, and tarnished his reputation. He paid the price and is trying to move on with his life. Fans and others should give him the chance to put his past mistakes behind him.

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