McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Second chances are warranted, usually
Why and when are second chances warranted?
What does someone have to do not to deserve another try?
Is the answer up to each of us? Or is there a standard society can agree on?
I’ve often pondered the concept of giving someone another chance. Another chance to make a good, honest living; to make a relationship work; even to attempt some physical accomplishment that didn’t work out the first time.
Sports are rife with second chances, but even there, you come across someone who never had a chance to redeem themselves. Pete Rose comes to mind.
But Michael Vick, and most recently, his Philadelphia Eagles teammate, Riley Cooper, are good examples.
Vick, in case you didn’t know, was caught bankrolling a dog fighting operation and ended up in prison for a few years. At the time, he was the highest paid player in the National Football League. And we all know how many millions of dollars that meant.
He ended up bankrupt, of course, but shortly after he finished his prison sentence, was welcomed back to the league. I remember thinking I didn’t think he deserved a second chance. But Vick had a very good season a few years ago, although recently has been injury prone.
Cooper, just a few weeks ago, got drunk at a concert and into an argument with an African-American and was caught on video using the most derogatory word you can use, if you’re white.
He left the team — after some teammates said they didn’t think they wanted him around any more — to get counseling. Just the other day, Cooper returned.
Vick, by the way, said he wasn’t bothered with what Cooper said and wanted him to remain on the team.
Second chances for both of them. The line apparently isn’t drawn in either case.
But bet on major league baseball, especially games in which the team you managed were involved, and you’re banned from baseball for the rest of your life.
And the leading hitter of all time is not eligible for the baseball hall of fame.
Charley Hustle was one of my favorite players growing up. I’ll never forget his collision at home plate with American League All-Star catcher Ray Fosse. Ran him over like a Mack truck over a VW bug. You don’t see that kind of dedication and competition from today’s ball players too much any more.
But no second chance for Rose.
I’m betting Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees won’t want a second chance, if his appeal of his 211-game suspension for his role in the performance enhancing drugs issue fails. But if he wins, it’ll be like nothing happened.
On a much smaller scale, I was given a second chance to hold this job and am very grateful for it. I didn’t do anything to warrant my earlier dismissal. I was a victim of a downsizing industry in a rapidly shrinking local and national economy.
I’ve usually been in favor of second chances, except in the most horrendous situations. I think our compassion is one of our most attractive qualities. But for someone who does something like murder, line drawn and no second chance.
Steven Michael Stagner comes to mind. Even though he had — and likely still has — serious mental health issues, I had problems with seeing him allowed to leave the Pueblo mental hospital for supervised visits. He shot and killed four people in Rifle. Accountability and public safety probably should have trumped a second chance on this one.
You may not agree with me. Your line might be much closer to the “eye for an eye” belief. Sometimes I’ve felt that would be the right step, too.
But for the most part, I believe we want to see people get second chances.
I hope we never lose that desire, that forgiveness if you will, to see someone get a do-over.
A second chance.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.
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