From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Wednesday August 23rd 2017

Embracing the Road to Vick-tory



I’m a huge fan of talk radio.  Local and national stations comprised of politics, news, business and sports are programmed in my car.  I enjoy listening to opposing views of the political spectrum, keeping up with news and business and at times, staying tuned to my favorite sports.

In recent years however, I find myself listening to less sports radio but this past Tuesday was different.  Sports talk was all I wanted to listen to because of what transpired on Monday Night football.

During Monday Night football Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback, played a spectacular game that went into the record books before the conclusion of the first quarter.

As I tuned in to the sports stations, I was shocked by what I was hearing.  The topic that dominated the talk shows-and not to my surprise-was what transpired Monday night.  However, what shocked me was the large number of callers that were expressing frustration and anger over the fact that Vick was allowed back to play in the NFL.

The story of Vick goes beyond the game of football.  His story is about redemption, second chances and overcoming great challenges.  What we are witnessing is how a once fallen superstar athlete is showing what is possible when determination meets opportunity.

If you are not familiar with Michel Vick’s story, he was a star quarterback in the NFL playing for the Atlanta Falcons.  Vick, the first African-American quarterback selected first overall in an NFL draft came into the NFL signing the largest contract ever by a rookie.  A few years later, in 2005, he signed a 10 year contract worth $130 million dollars with the Falcons- the largest contract to date in the history of the NFL.

Just a few years after signing the contract, Vick’s world came crashing down when he became implicated in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring.

Vick pleaded guilty in 2007 for “conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.”  He was released from prison after 19 months, uncertain about his future.  He lost his NFL salary along with product endorsements and was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.

Vick, who was suspended by the NFL indefinitely in 2007, had a lot of time to reflect on what he called ‘immature’ acts.  He also had ‘found Jesus’ prior to his jail sentence and was determined to reclaim his stature, only if he could convince his team’s owner and the NFL commission he deserved a second shot.

The owner of the Atlanta Falcons did not want to have anything to do with Vick, and he would not be alone as no other team was willing to trade for him.  Vick was released from the Falcons, but had to convince the commissioner of the NFL he should be reinstated.

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL was convinced Vick was remorseful and deserving of a second chance and reinstated Vick back to the NFL.   All Vick had to do now was find a team.

Most NFL teams did not want to deal with Vick and the possible backlash he might bring.  After all, several of the dogs that were used in the dog fighting were tortured and executed and despite the fact he served his time and was apologetic, a number of individuals did not want to see him back in the NFL.

However, in 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles took a shot with Vick and signed him to a two year contract as a backup quarterback.  Vick would see very little play time.

In 2010, the Eagles parted ways with their starting quarterback Donavan McNabb however, another younger quarterback, Kevin Kolb was still ahead of Vick and the coach of the Eagles firmly declared that Kolb would be the starting quarterback.  Vick would remain as a backup.

In the first game of this year Kevin Kolb was injured with a concussion and replaced by Vick, who finishes the game with a strong performance.   Kolb’s injury would keep him out for another game which presented Vick with another opportunity to showcase his ability.

Vick’s performance was enough to convince the ‘stubborn’ Eagels’ coach to go back on his word and name Vick as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

This brings us to Tuesday’s ride home from work and having to listen to callers discuss Vick and how they feel Vick shouldn’t have been allowed back in the NFL.  To be fair there were some callers supporting the decision of the NFL’s commissioner in reinstating Vick,  but the number of individuals who were against Vick’s return (which is now in the second year) was just shocking.

No one is perfect; we all are human beings susceptible to making mistakes some more than others.  However if you pay your dues and acknowledged your mistake and attempting to do right- as in the case of Vick -you should be given a second chance.

Michael Vick is a talented individual who is exciting to watch.  He made some horrific choices that led him to jail and to lose millions of dollars.  He clearly has learned from his mistakes and with hard work and determination, he was lucky enough to get and take advantage of a second chance.

After all, this is what America is all about.  It’s a country of opportunities.  This past Tuesday, I tried to call in and voice my opinion however, the lines were jammed. So, I took to blogging.


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