Michael Vick's performance this year as QB for the Philadelphia Eagles has earned him some new fans, including Barack Obama.

The president recently called Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, to praise the organization for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance; saying that "a level playing field rarely exists for prisoners who have completed their sentences."

That move, however, quickly rubbed some people the wrong way and the White House yesterday made sure that everyone knew Obama was not overlooking the convicted dog fighter's heinous crimes.

"The President did place a call to Mr. Lurie to discuss plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, during which they spoke about that and other issues," White House spokesman Bill Burton said." He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he's said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again."

Outside of football, Vick made headlines all over last week for saying in an interview that he would love to get a dog sometime in the future. "I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process," he said. "I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals.”

Humane Society of the US President Wayne Pacelle further added to the outrage caused by those comments by backing up Vick saying, "I have been around him a lot, and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner." This in turn caused many HSUS supporters to rail against the organization, with some even demanding Pacelle's resignation.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Vick should be given a second chance as well -- but I think it's just a bit too early for anyone to say with certainty that the guy has turned a corner. The world of sports can turn villains into heroes overnight, but it will probably take many more years of advocacy before Michael Vick is considered one off the field -- if ever.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

White House clarifies Obama's Michael Vick 'praise'
President's phone call to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie ignites a bit of criticism.