This post is about Vick, but has to be a about me as well. When Vick was released I assumed some team would give him a shot, and even thought he deserved a chance, but I certainly didn't want the Eagles, my team, to be the one that did it. When the Front Office did so, I was pretty displeased. How can I justify my rooting for the Birds to my family? Could I wear the colors now that we had hired such a man? Since he was obscure most of the year in 2009, I didn’t have to think about it all the time, but I did think about it.
The reason I came around on Vick had a lot to do with Tony Dungy. I’m a churchgoer, and I truly do understand what Dungy was trying to do (my church has a prison outreach). What he was trying to show Michael was that no matter what your past, even if your past included some things which were pretty unforgivable, you start today where you are, and all you can do is try to make yourself a better man tomorrow than you were yesterday, and you can only do that today by letting go of the past and focusing on the present.
So coming into this season, I had made my peace with the idea that Vick was an Eagle, and was ready to embrace the team. Then the ante was upped, and Vick was the starter. It was upped again as Vick performed as he has, on a track to be one of the top 2 or 3 players (not just QBs, but players) in the league. Now it is impossible to ignore who Vick is, he is the face of the team. As I said above, I made my peace with that and can have Thanksgiving dinner with my family and defend my rooting not just for the team, but the man.
Michael Vick has the chance right now to inspire a group of people who are often forgotten, and when remembered generally despised, by society: young men in prison. There are men in jail who absolutely deserve to be there as they have committed crimes. Some of them have done things that they are deeply ashamed of and are paying for now. They all have one thing in common with each other and with everyone: they can be better people tomorrow than they are today. The trouble is many of them don’t realize this, and assume that due to their actions in the past, they will always be the scum that many assume they are now.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Each and every one of them can be someone better than they were, and better than they are. Michael Vick has gotten a second chance in part because of his unbelievable athletic ability, but he has the chance to show these young men and boys that without a change of person, all the ability in the world will not make you a better man, and you will only return down that dark path which ended in jail. He can continue to make good decisions and he can hold himself up as an example to millions of forgotten and despised that although they can’t change what they did, they can change who they are. These men will not get multi-million dollar contracts, but they can become better husbands, fathers, employees, and citizens if they change themselves.
I for one am rooting not just for the Eagles quarterback, but the man, Michael Vick, to be the man he can be. His past is terrible, but because of it he has the chance to reach people he otherwise never would have reached. He has in his hands an opportunity to touch and improve the lives of millions who need hope and a role model to emulate. I am praying for him, and rooting for him, and will hold my head high in defending the man who, so far, has shown he wants to make the most of what he’s been given.