Vick was handed a 23-month sentence last November (08) after pleading guilty to charges of dog fighting and execution.
He served the last months of his sentence on home arrest and was freed last month (Jul09).
Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles last week (ends14Aug09), after National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell cleared him to resume his sports career – a move that has angered and sickened many fans, who feel the quarterback should never be allowed to return to the professional field.
But he’s found an unlikely supporter in movie star Baldwin, who insists Vick’s return to the spotlight can be used to help animal rights movements.
In an article for the Huffington Post website, the actor writes, “Vick did horrific things and he deserved to be punished. He served his time and now I wonder what good does it do to exile him in shame and not let him show his example of how one can be rehabilitated after that kind of behaviour. If Vick returns to his true form as an NFL pro, that platform can mean real progress for the animal rights movement.
“Vick is easy to target as a villain. But the man who should have been setting an example for his young fans about how to comport oneself off the field can still do so. Donating a healthy figure from his enormous salary to any mixture of animal rights groups seems like a good start to me. I have a list for Vick when he is ready.
And Baldwin insists those keen to ban Vick from football are making a big mistake.
He adds, “To cast him aside and simply hate him, knowing that someone in his position stands potentially ready (and I do stress potentially) to effectively serve the interests of the very groups and individuals that he most offended, would be a mistake. Especially when there are enterprises operating in this country who will torture and kill more animals than a thousand Michael Vicks ever could, but you cannot buy a ticket to watch them perform their job on a Sunday afternoon.
“Vick deserves another chance. One chance.”.