There are plenty of people in this country who would love to see Michael Vick curled up in a dog house with nowhere to squirm for the rest of his life.
It’s going to be a bad week for these people. Vick could end up frolicking in the most happy-go-lucky place on the planet: Walt Disney World.
Vick is expected to begin prepping soon for a possible return to the NFL by working out with noted trainer Tom Shaw, whose facility is at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Would Disney, which already has the Animal Kingdom as one of its franchise attractions, welcome the Michael Vick Zoo?
Disney is one of the most brand-conscious companies in the world.
“Obviously Disney is the No. 1 choice,” said Shaw, whose elite list of clients include Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. “But I would never put Disney in a position of getting negative exposure. If Disney tells me he can’t train here, then I won’t train him here.”
Disney might be wise to move the circus outside its grounds to distance itself, literally and figuratively, from all the bomb-throwing. I’m not talking about Vick lobbing passes in the air.
This is a man who left behind a trial of dead carcasses while bankrolling a dog-fighting operation. Some people will never forgive Vick.
But forgiveness isn’t the most important word for Vick now that he officially became a free man on Monday. He’s done his time after serving 18 months in prison and two more in home confinement. Freedom is nice, too, but still ranks second to another word: opportunity.
Vick now has that, even though PETA and other animal-rights activists have branded him the cruelest of animals. But what do they say about David Santuomo?
He recently got “slapped” with a 90-day jail sentence for killing his two dogs to avoid boarding them during a vacation with his girlfriend. Santuomo, an Ohio firefighter, shot his two mixed-breed dogs several times after tying them to a pipe in his basement. He dumped their remains in a trash bin behind a firehouse.
He also gets to serve them in 10-day increments over a two-year period. Sweet deal.
Santuomo doesn’t matter much, though. Vick is where the action is.
Vick steps into the spotlight reluctantly. He’s worked out quietly with Shaw over the last two months while fulfilling the terms of his home confinement. Vick’s legal debt to society has been paid. Now he needs a job.
Vick has lost $70 million from a 10-year, $130 million contract. He’s paid $928,000 in restitution for the care of victimized pit bulls. He is more than $20 million in debt, based on bankruptcy proceedings.
Vick won’t see a penny of NFL income until he is reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has not committed to a timeframe for that decision.
Vick might be forced to take a less-traveled road to redemption. Vick could play for the Orlando franchise of the United Football League, which begins play in October. Orlando has the right to Vick based on territorial considerations because Vick played for the Atlanta Falcons.
Vick won’t be looking at any parades down Main Street or photo ops with Mickey Mouse.
He stands alone, asking for a second chance at life. Is there a better place to start than a world where magic happens?