I share the outrage concerning of what Michael Vick has been accused. Dog fighting is a horrific abuse of animals. I researched the "sport" on the web and what I found left me speechless and teary-eyed. The pictures of dogs taken in the aftermath of a dog fight should be seen by everyone so that the level of horror is cemented in everyones mind for all time. Dog fighting is a crime worthy of the felony category and those engaging in it should each spend a minimum of one year in jail without exception.
At the same time, I don't understand our culture that says that if someone commits a crime, they should automatically and permanently lose their ability to earn a living in their profession. I understand that with certain professions, it makes logical sense. Someone who works at a bank and steals from or defrauds the bank probably shouldn't be working in banking or finance again. But those sorts of exceptions are defined by crimes that have a close relation with the profession of the offender. When people are saying that Michael Vick should never be allowed to be an NFL Quarterback again, even after paying his debt to society, I don't get it. If Vick had bet on games in which he played, I would understand a permanent ban. Tim Donaghy, the NBA referee who bet on games he officiated should rightfully never be allowed to officiate any professional sports game again.
One problem created by permanent suspensions for crimes unrelated to a persons career is controversy over which crimes should be worthy of such a ban. Sandra Kobrin from Women's eNews wrote an excellent article published today titled "Beat a Woman? Play On; Beat a Dog? You're Gone" drawing embarrassing attention to the fact that many professional sports players abuse their spouses but are allowed to play. The suspension of Vick seems to suggest that professional sports values dogs more than women. I'm very glad right now that I am not an NFL executive having to explain that one. Kobrin cited two websites, http://www.badjocks.com and http://www.playersbehavingbadly.com I would suggest that people not read too many articles on either site lest you never be able to root for your favorite team(s) the same way again. Suffice to say that professional athletes are committing many crimes that do not result in suspensions.
The answer should be that unless you commit a crime that has a direct correlation or impact on your profession, you should not have to endure a permanent ban. Any suspension should be directly related to any jail time you have to serve. If you pay your debt to society, you should be able to earn a living in your profession. Anything else does not make sense.