The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most loyal, dedicated, and faithful fan bases in all of sports. No matter what city they travel to, you can be assured to see some yellow “Terrible Towels” being waved in the crowd. On Tuesday night, veteran free agent quarterback, Michael Vick and the Steelers had a meeting to determine if Pittsburgh wants to sign him as a backup after Bruce Gradkowski suffered an injury. It is being reported that the two sides have reached a deal. There will be two sides to the coin in terms of the Steelers reaching a deal with Vick. Those sides will be the support of the signing, or a negative backlash, depending on which fan you ask.
The reason that there will be a negative backlash by some is due to the fact that Vick was involved in a dog-fighting ring back in 2007. For as horrendous an act as what Vick was involved in, he has paid his debt to society. He served time in federal prison and has tried countless amount of times to become a better person. There are players who have done worse than Vick, yet are still playing. Some people have been able to forgive Vick, but there will be people who can and never will forgive Vick for his actions. You don’t have to like or forgive Vick that is you’re choosing. There have been some Steelers’ fans already saying on social media they do not want Vick as a member of the team. Those fans can’t get over the fact that he did what he did. On the flip side of that, the Steelers currently have two players who were involved in their own run-ins with the law. Those players are quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive end James Harrison.
In July of 2009, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault in Washoe County, Nevada. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Eight months later in Milledgeville, Georgia, Roethlisberger was once again accused of sexual assault. District attorney Fred Bright said that he would not charge Roethlisberger because he could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The NFL stepped in and suspended the Steelers’ franchise quarterback for six games due to violating the league’s personal conduct policy. His suspension was reduced to four games.
James Harrison was arrested in April of 2008 and was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief after a domestic altercation with his girlfriend. The charges were later dropped due to Harrison completing anger management counseling. There was an eyebrow raised at the Steelers after this, because they released wide receiver Cedrick Wilson for a similar, yet unrelated incident. The team cited they looked at what had happened on a case-to-case basis. The Steelers did not release Harrison after what happened with him, yet released Wilson.
This is where the Vick signing comes into play. There are some fans that don’t want Vick on their team, yet still cheer and give adulation and praise to players like Roethlisberger and Harrison, despite the legal trouble each faced. Granted, Big Ben wasn’t charged, but a lot of people were not pleased with this occurring two times in the span of eight months. Some of those fans will justify their continued adulation for the two-time Super Bowl champion, and claim to do so because he wasn’t charged with anything. There were a lot of Steeler fans that were outraged by what running back Ray Rice did in a domestic dispute. However, those same fans loved that Harrison was coming back to the Steel City, despite being arrested for similar acts.
The other side of the coin in this situation is what Vick can do for the Steelers this season. He isn’t being signed to compete for a starting position; he is being signed to be a backup to Big Ben. Pittsburgh can even use Vick in some play packages involving the read-option. He is a quarterback who can use his legs or throw the ball if need-be. He won’t be used a whole lot, but he will be able to help in what little role he has. Another reason this is a good signing is due to his veteran presence in the locker room. He can help guide the younger players and give them pointers and advice on how to conduct themselves both on and off the field.
At the end of the day, Steelers fans will either love or hate this signing. If he produces on the field, a lot of fans will be happy and put what he did in the past to the side. For the fans that already put what he has done aside, they will hope he can be a contributor for this team in some way, shape, or form.
At the end of the day, the Steelers needed a backup quarterback and got the best one available that could potentially help the team win football games.