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Privileges or rights

August 12, 2009 - Steve Murch
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy says Michael Vick will sign with an NFL team by the end of this week. There is some speculation as to where, but more speculation (which is a really a continuation) about the reaction of fans upon his return.

There are two camps that are the loudest when it comes to the speculation about his return – those who say he shouldn't be allowed to play and those who say he paid his debt to society. It's an argument that probably won't go away until after Vick has been on a team for a few weeks.

However, the phrase that keeps coming up: “It's a privilege to play in the NFL.”

Vick paid his debt to society, and like every ex-convict he deserves to seek employment. For those who will argue that playing in the NFL is a privilege, all I can say is so is every job in the country. It's not a right to have a job, it's your right to seek a job. Employers don't have an obligation to give anyone a job. If they did there would be zero unemployment.

The only people with a right to a job are those who create their own job. Those with the biggest right to a job are farmers, for without them we would all face far greater hardships because we'd have to produce all our own food.

Aside from those who are self-employed, everyone goes through an interview and hiring process to get a job. The owner or human resource person has no obligation to hire you if you aren't qualified, or aren't the most qualified of those who apply for the job.

Athletes are in a different category because of their physical gifts. But, like everyone else their employment hinges on the owner or his/her human resource officer – in this case a general manager or player personnel director.

So is it a privilege to play in the NFL? Yes? Is it a privilege to work at Alpena Regional Medical Center? Yes. Is it a privilege to work at McDonald's? Yes.

The Declaration of Independence provides for “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness ...” Nowhere does it say “Job.”


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