By Damon Amendolara

Bruce Gradkowski is on the IR, so Michael Vick becomes a Steeler. Now we have a brewing situation. Pittsburgh signed Vick to be the backup to Ben Roethlisberger, but not every Yinzer is thrilled with this idea.

More than 25,000 Steelers fans have signed an online petition to keep the former Pro Bowl quarterback off the squad.

“Michael Vick is a convicted felon and no-class piece of crap. He is also a terrible QB which is why he has no team. Let’s unite as Steelers fans – as NFL fans – and stop him from playing on our team! Steelers fans united! Sign to keep Vick from ever wearing the coveted Steelers uniform!!”

An anti-Vick Facebook page has over 17,000 likes. There’s local t-shirts made to slam him and support humane animal treatment.

I’m in complete support of fans speaking out against deplorable actions of ownership, management, and players. We, as an American sports society, are soaked for every penny left in the piggy bank by our teams. They exploit us like the worst gold-digging girlfriend you could imagine.

It would be nice if fans across the country stood up and said enough is enough when it comes to bad behavior. I would love it if Colts fans demanded better from Jim Irsay, Broncos fans called out John Bowlen, and Rams fans refused to accept Leonard Little.

But ultimately we tend to absorb the offenses and rationalize our fandom. Hey, it’s still our team. And as we know this is not exactly the most politically active era in American history. Press “like” on Facebook? Yeah, we could do that. Go downtown and spend a day at a rally? Eh, I’ve got Orange Is The New Black to catch up on.

So when Steelers fans call out Vick for being a convicted felon it’s understandable. Sometimes (thankfully) it’s uncomfortable to root for a guy who has killed dogs or people or committed other heinous crimes. Ya know, like Greg Hardy.

The guy who was found guilty by a judge of domestic violence, the dude the NFL found enough evidence to suspend originally for 10 games (and later appealed down to 4), has no petitions against his return. Yes, there was some public backlash when Dallas signed him, like sportscaster Dale Hansen’s screed. But it’s easier to find online petitions to retain Hardy, than one to bar him.

It seems so many Steelers fans are bent out of shape over the Vick signing because of the petition’s second sentence, not the first. He’s just not that good anymore.

It’s not that Steelers fans are more ethical than Cowboys supporters. It’s not that there’s far more dog lovers in Western Pennsylvania than the eastern part of the state (where he played for the Eagles for five years) or in New York where he was a backup with the Jets.

Plenty of Pittsburghers would have accepted Hardy onto the team. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the league, and still in his prime. You can rationalize that. Vick? The record states he is a “terrible QB which is why he has no team” (at least according to his detractors).

Vick spent nearly two years behind bars, has since been a solid teammate, and worked with the Humane Society. Hardy settled out of court with his accuser, then bought a banner to fly over Eagles camp that read, “WE STILL DEM BOYZ!!!! #SACKSCOMIN.”

Oh that crazy Greg, what a wonderful addition to the human race. You want to call out Vick or any other player for criminal behavior? You feel like telling your owners or school that you’re sick and tired of the bad guys? I’m all for it. But make sure it’s about the act, and not the value on the field. Because it’s all too convenient to protest the backup quarterback, and not the star pass rusher.

D.A. hosts 6-10pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.


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