Monday, February 7, 2011

Michael Vick Gets a Key to the City?

First of all, before I continue this article, I need to come clean that I am an Eagles fan. I admit that at the beginning. I also grew up in Arlington and consider myself a very proud member of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Why I am an Eagles fan rather than a Cowboys fan is another story for a long time. But before I get into this subject, I need to disclose the fact I'm not going to be entirely neutral.

I remember when Michael Vick signed with the Eagles. It wasn't my first choice, but I remembered him from his playing days with the Falcons. If they found the great player in Michael Vick, I knew I could take the past as long as the future seemed to change.

Anybody can be a felon. Anybody can make a mistake. I'm pretty sure I make a few of those a day. My wife will probably tell you I make many. Have I done some things I wish I hadn't done? Sure. Taking my year-old-daughter to a Rangers-Cubs game in June in Texas, seeing "Southland Tales" with my wife, going to a high school for three years with my wife and never noticing her. How many times have we been tempted to steal something, to speed, to run that red light or stop sign, to murder, to commit adultery? We are all just one mistake from becoming a convicted felon.

Michael Vick was convicted. I am not doubting his guilt or innocence. The guy did it, received his punishment like a man and did his time. Except something happened that made him unique. Vick moved on. Yes, there is a scarlet letter that will forever be on his chest because of his background with dogfighting. Vick had made some really bad choices on whom he chose to spend his time with. But he began to make some better decisions (like working with Tony Dungy, a man whose veracity or sincerity is never doubted). And slowly, he began to make up for everything he had ever done in the way every sports player does-he played well.
Whether you like it or you don't, that is the way to overcome any wrong you've ever done. Play well.

Now I know that playing well doesn't excuse him for everything he did wrong. And I don't think he's entirely immune from all his past sins. There are still consequences for what he did, and there always will be. But I think he's gone out there and will live his life like he's supposed to. He's been a good story that you can make a mistake and still rise above it. His story is a story of redemption. For that he was being rewarded.

Would I give him the key to the city? Probably not. There's people out there who deserve it more, I'm sure. But I don't have a city, so it's not my choice to choose who I want to give it to. If I'm wanting to tell a story of redemption, I might tell one with Nate Newton or Josh Hamilton or some other athlete in D/FW who has risen above his past. There's many stories to tell here. I'm not sure Vick is the best one.

To read the full article, click here. There is some fool who tries to bait Vick outside in a hall somewhere. This is nothing more than some bush-league reporter making a pathetically desperate attempt for attention.

Maybe I have a different perspective on this, but I understand the cruelty to animals. I cry every time I hear Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" like the rest of us. But what about the DUI's? How long before somebody takes out a family of four? What about somebody arrested for domestic assault? Will Smith of the Saints was "arrested, charged with domestic abuse battery after allegedly grabbing his wife by hair and pulling her down the street." Now tell me. Between Smith and Vick, which is worse? And if your choice is Vick for being worse, go see a doctor. You have no pulse.

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