The Reckoner!

Your NFL team can sign the world's best QB. The only problem is: he's a convicted manslaughterer. Do you want them to do it?

So the joke goes, Charles Manson would be an NFL quarterback if he could consistently hit a wide receiver on a post route.  Yes that's an overstatement, but by how much, pray tell?

I'm an Eagles fan -- the town of Michael Vick's resurrection -- and the dogfighting conviction was major news when the Eagles signed him out of the Virginia State Penal League.  Quite a few folks renounced their Eagles fandom indefinitely.  But the Eagles went 10-6 last year with Vick under center, and suddenly it didn't seem like much of an issue.  Yes, the man did his time and paid his debt to humanity (although maybe not canineity), but let's face it -- the 3rd seed in the NFC playoffs buys way more forgiveness than two years in the stir.

Oh yes, and then there's Ben Roethlisberger.  No convicted criminal action there, but there's a hell of a lot of smoke in the air for there to be no fire.  At the moment, though, that doesn't seem to be a problem.  Ben's problems all seem to be Tebow-related at the moment.

So let me present you this Faustian bargain, fellow Sports Fan Reckonaut!  I've got a QB -- let's call him Stan McStabbington.  He's the best quartback in the league, bar none.  Better than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady combined.  If he was on this year's Rams, they would've cruised to 12-4 and the 2nd seed in the NFC, no problem.  On any decent team, they've got a real shot at a perfect 19-0.

The only hitch is that he spent six years in the stir for a manslaughter charge.  Turns out that when he was 23, he got drunk at a bar and stabbed a guy to death in a bar fight that got way out of hand.  He's served his time in prison, is just being released, and he's on the auction block for a team that needs a laser rocket arm.  As a person, well, he's saying the right things, but the rumors around him aren't great.

Let's say your team has the chance to sign this QB at a cut-market rate.  Would you want your team to do it?  Or would you rather they stay clear of a convicted manslaughterer?

Reckoning Results!
Sign him!
Did his time! Let's win!
No killers on my team!
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Reckoning Comments!

In turning around to answer this question myself, I'm struggling.  It isn't just the sports factor, this also hits on the concept of whether you consider someone's debt to society paid-in-full once they've completed their prison sentence.  

Part of the contributing factors to recidivism is that felons are punished after they get out of clink with social penalties that prevent them from ever fully reintegrating with society, thus pushing them back to crime.  This may  seem like a silly distinction to draw when you're talking about an NFL quarterback, but that element is definitely there.

You have to consider the environment he grew up in, as well as his age. Do we know the circumstances surrounding his conviction? If he could afford a better attorney, would he have been convicted? 

Let's let him put his aggression on the field where it's meant to be!

@Kathy Ridge

Those are great questions!  Let's say for the thought experiment that the circumstances were that he was in a nightclub, somebody got insulted, punches started flying, and our man McStabbington used a knife instead of his fists at one point.  Let's also say he was already a star at the time -- Heismann Trophy and all that -- so his legal representation was just fine.

I'm sure most of us are aware that you could assemble an entire football team, with substitutes, from convicted NFL felons.  

The worst part is, that team would probably go 12-4, easy.  And they don't even mention Roethlisberger.

Kathy makes a good point...but the problem seems when they are thugs on the field they are thugs off the field as well....Since young people look up to these athletes as role models, what does this tell them.

Then is a free country and we as sports fans are intitled to be fans of whatever sport we choose. Because I do not care for the football mentality, I no longer am a big football fan...but sure am a BIG baseball fan....Go Phillies...Go!!!!!!

The Reckoner!