8/14: Let Vick Play, But Not In My Back Yard, Say Football Fans

The Philadelphia Eagles have made the controversial decision to sign Quarterback Michael Vick to a two-year deal.  But, was it a good idea in the eyes of public opinion?



Although Vick was convicted and served prison time for his role in operating a dogfighting ring, a majority of football fans nationwide — 57% — agree with the NFL commissioner’s decision to allow Vick to return to the league.  36% disagree with that decision.  Younger fans and men are more likely to be in favor of the ruling compared with older ones and women.

However, the tides turn when it gets personal.  When asked if fans would want Vick to join their favorite professional football team, 53% report they would not while just 37% say they would.  In Vick’s new backyard, he will have a hard time winning over pigskin fans.  62% of fans living in the Northeast say they would not want Vick quarterbacking for their beloved team.  In fact, more gridiron diehards in that region maintain this view compared with any other area nationwide.

Table: Vick’s NFL Return
Table: Vick’s Signing With Favorite Team

Time Served…Majority Supports Convicted Athletes to Return to Sports

A majority of Americans — 53% — believe sports players who have been convicted of a crime should be allowed to return to the sport after serving their time in prison.  Approximately three in ten — 31% — think they should be banned from the sport for life.  Even more football fans — 60% — report they should be permitted to play.

There is a large gender difference on this question.  64% of men compared with 42% of women say they should be allowed to show their athletic prowess, again.

Table: Sports Players’ Return After Conviction

Marist Poll Methodology