Obama Backs a Second Chance for Michael Vick

By Garance Franke-Ruta

President Obama has weighed in on the NFL return of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, following the completion of a prison term for his role in operating a dog-fighting ring. Perry Bacon reports from Hawaii:

Obama phoned the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles to praise the team for giving a second chance to the quarterback, who is again a National Football League star 19 months after leaving prison for his role in a horrific dogfighting ring that killed pit bulls by electrocution, hanging and drowning.

The president has not spoken publicly about the call, though aides acknowledged that it took place. But Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports that during their conversation Obama was passionate about Vick's comeback.

"He said, 'So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance,' " said Lurie, who did not indicate when the call occurred. "He said, 'It's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.' And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.''

Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said Obama "of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of, but, as he's said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again."

Burton added that Obama called Lurie in part to discuss plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play.

Read the whole story at The Washington Post.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/12/obama-backs-a-second-chance-for-michael-vick/68609/