Activism

Michael Vick -Selective Persecution | WRIIT

Mike’s career came to a screeching halt in 2007 when he was arrested for his involvement in a dogfighting...

Mike’s career came to a screeching halt in 2007 when he was arrested for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. He spent 18 months in federal prison and reached a settlement with his Atlanta Falcons team which cost him $7 million in a breach-of-contract settlement with the Atlanta Falcons. He also filed bankruptcy which attached his future earnings as an NFL player. He was released by the Falcons just before getting out of jail. He went on to play five years for the Philadelphia Eagles where he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2010. He spent one year each with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers as a back-up. He did the crime, did his time, and lost millions for his misdeeds. He even lobbied for a bill to penalize spectators of illegal animal fighting and make it a felony to bring children to such events.

These days when you hear Michael Vick’s name it’s usually in comparison to what the Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson is doing on the football field. Jackson joined Vick as the only other quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Injury notwithstanding, Jackson will likely get the 23 yards he needs to pass Vick for the all-time quarterback rushing record in his next game, possibly his next play. Michael Vick was once the most unstoppable player on the football field. It was off the field he got in trouble.

Mike’s career came to a screeching halt in 2007 when he was arrested for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. He spent 18 months in federal prison and reached a settlement with his Atlanta Falcons team which cost him $7 million in a breach-of-contract settlement with the Atlanta Falcons. He also filed bankruptcy which attached his future earnings as an NFL player. He was released by the Falcons just before getting out of jail. He went on to play five years for the Philadelphia Eagles where he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2010. He spent one year each with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers as a back-up. He did the crime, did his time, and lost millions for his misdeeds. He even lobbied for a bill to penalize spectators of illegal animal fighting and make it a felony to bring children to such events.

Post sentencing he issued an apology. Not one written by a PR team or lawyer, but his own statement from the heart.

“For most of my life, I’ve been a football player, not a public
speaker, so, you know, I really don’t know, you know, how to say
what I really want to say.

You know, I understand it’s — it’s important or not important,
you know, as far as what you say but how you say things. So, you
know, I take this opportunity just to speak from the heart.

I want to apologize to all the young kids out there for my
immature acts and, you know, what I did was, what I did was very
immature so that means I need to grow up.

I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move
forward to bettering Michael Vick the person, not the football
player.

I take full responsibility for my actions. For one second will I
sit right here — not for one second will I sit right here and point
the finger and try to blame anybody else for my actions or what
I’ve done.

I’m totally responsible, and those things just didn’t have to
happen. I feel like we all make mistakes. It’s just I made a
mistake in using bad judgment and making bad decisions. And you
know, those things, you know, just can’t happen.

Dogfighting is a terrible thing, and I did reject it.

I’m upset with myself, and, you know, through this situation I
found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness and turned my life over
to God. And I think that’s the right thing to do as of right now.

Like I said, for this — for this entire situation I never
pointed the finger at anybody else, I accepted responsibility for
my actions of what I did and now I have to pay the consequences for
it. But in a sense, I think it will help, you know, me as a person.
I got a lot to think about in the next year or so.

I offer my deepest apologies to everybody out in there in the
world who was affected by this whole situation. And if I’m more
disappointed with myself than anything it’s because of all the
young people, young kids that I’ve let down, who look at Michael
Vick as a role model. And to have to go through this and put myself
in this situation, you know, I hope that every young kid out there
in the world watching this interview right now who’s been following
the case will use me as an example to using better judgment and
making better decisions.

Once again, I offer my deepest apologies to everyone. And I will
redeem myself. I have to.

So I got a lot of down time, a lot of time to think about my
actions and what I’ve done and how to make Michael Vick a better
person.

Thank you!”

Michael Vick asked for forgiveness, 12-years later there are those not willing to give it. Michael Vick was recently named as one of four 2020 Pro Bowl Legends Captains; acting as mentors for the active players participating, and all hell broke loose.

A woman named Joanna Lind, a Green Bay Packers fan from La Crosse, WI started a petition to remove Vick from a role “where he would be honored and act as a mentor for the players.” She wrote in the petition:

“When is the NFL going to take any responsibility for the behavior of its current and former players? To honor a man who had zero regard for animals is unacceptable and I would like your help to make sure he is NOT honored at the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl.”

The petition has received over 300,000 signers to date.

It might seem to be a great honor to be a Captain at the Pro Bowl to Ms. Lind. My knowledge of the Pro Bowl suggests that many of the players don’t even want to be there. When it was in Hawaii, there was at least the weather and the golf. Now it’s in Orlando where any of the players and their families could go on their own whenever they get ready. As for being a mentor, I can’t think of anyone better to remind the players what they have to lose based on the choices they make.

I don’t want to engage in what about him or her in comparison to Vick. I was watching a little of the Chiefs and Patriots game and noted Patriots owner Robert Kraft in his skybox. It seems he’s on tape engaging with a prostitute in a location tied to human trafficking. His money got him off and he’s shown no remorse; no petition to remove Bob. A commercial came on featuring Peyton Manning. While a star at the University of Tennessee, he was accused of sexual assault but the police didn’t even do an investigation. He’s now named in a 2016 lawsuit against UT as part of the documentation of long term violations of Title IX and creating a hostile sexual environment.

Ben Roethlisberger was twice publicly accused of rape. After the second incident, the NFL ultimately suspended him for four games for violation of their Personal Conduct Policy. Michael Vick served 18-months, lost millions, and is being persecuted for the rest of his life and “Big Ben” got a 4-week vacation.

There are so many examples of people, not just athletes that never were punished for their transgressions. I looked on Twitter where many statements began with the words, “I know he served his sentence, but…” No but, he served his sentence, he stayed away fro illegal activities, he turned his life around. I am going to do one “what about.” What about the children separated from their families and but in cages. Use some of that energy you’re spending to hound Michael Vick the rest of his life and fit that situation. Don’t go after the NFL for their relationship with someone who received his punishment and changed his life. Go after those who have yet to be punished and are likely to repeat their actions.

Michael Vick has paid for his transgressions. The NFL may look to remove Vick because that’s who they are. By the way, of the other three Captains; one was arrested for prostitution, another had multiple DUI’s, the other raised his son to be a Pastor. If people needed to have an unblemished record to serve. How many of those complaining about Michael Vick would be eligible?

Written by William Spivey
There's the writer I am and the writer I long to be. I write about race, politics, and education. I long to be a Sci/Fi/Fantasy writer, incorporating race, politics, and education, as part of an epic tale pitting good vs. evil on a vast scale. I'm shopping that book to literary agents. Putting that out in the universe. Until then, I want my voice to be heard and to make a difference. Profile

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