I’m a football fan. I love the Raiders and the people who know me will testify that I bleed silver and black. But first and foremost I’m a football fan.
I got the opportunity to see Michael Vick play against the Detroit Lions in a Thanksgiving Day game at Ford’s Field. I know it was the Lions, but Vick was spectacular. It was like watching a grown man compete against a group of kids. I never considered Vick a great quarterback, but he was undoubtedly a great athlete… and on that day he was the best athlete on the field. He single-handedly spanked the Lions.
The Falcons were an average team at best, but he made them an exciting average team. When he signed the 10 year contract for $130 million, I felt that he was worth it. Not only was it a benefit for the Falcons, but he was an electrifying asset for the league itself. I had heard the reports that he was temperamental and cocky… but it was understandable considering his skills. If the Falcons didn’t want or appreciate him, I would have wanted the Raiders to sign him and pay him that money.
So when I heard the reports of his involvement in the dog fighting scandal I thought “WTF!” Nothing surprises me when it comes to celebrities, especially athletes. As a society we tend to forget that they are just human, some are bad people, the majority are good people, none are perfect. But to be involved in training and brutalizing dogs for fighting and killing them if they lost, for the sake of gambling… well that’s just some evil sh*t! Plus in our society, the way people love their pets, especially white people, it would have been better for him if he was killing people and eating them like a Jeffrey Dahmer. I knew that if there was any truth to the allegations, he would be demonized and he career would pretty much he over.
Vick who was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for financing the dog fighting operation, was released on Wednesday to home confinement after serving about 19 months, but won’t be released from federal custody until July 20th. He will probably have to serve a term of suspension from the NFL before he will be allowed to play again.
I wasn’t one of those who jumped on the bandwagon to demonize the brother. What he did was foul… no doubt… but he accepted responsibility for his actions, plead guilty and has paid his debt to society. I support his re-instatement to the NFL. I believe in giving someone who messes up a second chance. Even a third chance in some cases. But more importantly, I hope he has learnt from this experience, gets his life together, makes better decisions and not make the same mistakes again.
Lester Munson @ ESPN.com wrote this excellent article detailing some of the issues around the Michael Vick saga. I for one hope Michael Vick rises, not like a falcon but like a phoenix, from the ashes of this latest african american tragic reality show.