Early in the morning, in Levenworth , Kansas; a mysterious figure exits a maximum security prison in a non discript jacket and slacks. I can only imagine how he has his head bent to the ground looking at nothing, yet seeing everything. his mind wonders back to a few years ago, when his mere presence garnered flash photographs, autograph seekers, little children wearing his jersey, some of the most expensive suits on his massive frame, Maybochs, Land Rovers, and limos, waiting to whisk him to his next party destination, and the entire professional football world as his oyster.
This individual goes by the name of Micheal Vick. His former life was that of one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. he had endorsements that could afford him a lifestyle that could only come in his wildest dreams as a youngster growing up. On this chilly morning he has left the prison that has been his home for the past 2 years as his plea agreement with the federal attorney, has finally come to it's apex. Now, he is on his way to his real home back in Hampton, VA. The thoughts that must go through his mind. Where he had carte blanche to come and go as he pleased; he must now be relegated to a few destinations. (most likely work, church, the grocery store, and maybe his lawyers office.) His bank account used to read in the millions. I'm sure the folks at Visa were all too happy to mail him his Black card. Now he will work construction in the damp and chilly weather in Virginia for a paltry $10 an hour. (By the way folks, some of that money will already be taken from him not only in taxes, but in the renting of the home monitering equipment he now must wear. along with past lawyer fees and garnishments against his former life.)
The saddest part of this story is that he got to this point via deception and cruel public opinion. His crime against society; participation in the cruel sport of dog fighting. He fed, trained, housed, and bank rolled a pack of pit bulls, in order to see them fight one another to see whose dog was top beast. Funny when he reminises, that when the FBI raided the location of the crime, he wasn't even on the property. Yet, the very people he trusted the most, the ones who had their hands out asking to be helped from their own lives of plight, turned on him faster than Barry Bonds on a 98 mph pitch. They gave him up to the Feds for either no time or as little as possible.
Suddenly, the entire world turned against him. The people who cheered his name so grandly, now hollered for his head. The team he had taken from footstools, to the NFC Championship, turned their collective backs on him. Children and adults who spent almost $100.00 dollars for his shirt, threw them to the flames and the trash. All for HIS dogs. News companies did exposes on his property, showing animal pens that were dingy and dirty, (mostly from misuse). His former dogs taken into "protective custody" were filmed at veterinary hospitals getting their wounds cared for. All the while, his name was dragged through the muck and mire. Societies of people who care so much for animals, looked for ways to see him catch the death sentence. (Good luck, Virginia doesn't use it, and the Feds only use it against the most heinous of offenders). Now he must look forward to getting his life back on track. A long hard road lies ahead.
While looking out the window of his conveyance, his mind ventures back to most likely the best day of his stay in prison. A certain tall, quiet mannered, soft spoken man from his fromer life came to visit. His face radiated hope, his eyes glistened with peace, and his words carried encouragement. Mike had seen Tony Dungy from the other side of the field on countless occassions. No doubt thinking to himself how much he would love to beat his teams brains in. Humiliate them in front of the entire world. Yet, he also saw something else. A calm sense of things. A demeanor that was so different from that of his own coach. Here he was talking to him of a lifestyle that could possibly bring him peace in his stormy life. If only he hadn't deceided to give up being a coach in the NFL, he would've done anything to play for this man. now, he only wants 1 more chance.
I heard on a radio show today, that there were a few teams that would want Micheal's services, once his sentence was through. the Niners, Patriots, Dolphins, Raiders, and the Browns were all mentioned as teams interested. Yet, I find it very unlikely that any of them will give him the opportunity. there are several reasons that come to mind that will escapee the lips of the heads of these clubs. "He doesn't fit our system". "We can't afford him under the salary cap." "The Falcons would ant too much for a trade." I however believe all of these excuses would really mean one thing. "WE CAN"T TAKE THE CHANCE ON LOSING MONEY, DUE TO HIS CONVICTION."
I find it funny that this country has so many different ways of using religious reasons for their lives. Yet, they seem to pick and choose which they follow. One of the teachings of the main religion in the U.S. is; "To hate the sin, not the sinner." "To forgive and forget." Most importantly, "Ye who hath no sin, cast the first stone."
While Mike played, granted; statistically not one of the best QB's to hurl a ball. In fact, after a few seasons under his belt, many of his supporters, were wondering if he was the man they wanted to continue to call signals for them.
I am not writing this column to excuse Mike from his crime. Yes, what he did was wrong on a certain level, but, this league has been filled to capacity with players who have done wrong and many of them still play withouot having spent 1 night in the pokey. Once their time was over, many teams stood in line to throw money at them with the belief that they had paid their debt, and they could help their club reach the promised land. Some fullfilled this hope, other flamed out and crashed.
In summation, I say this, if Mike is available for playing, I hope the Niners take a close look. Or any team for that matter. Because, no matter how you may feel about his crime, Vick has paid his debt to society and everyone deserves the opportunity to show that they have changed their ways. The important part being GIVEN A CHANCE! Mike deseves this, just like anyone who reads this post. We have all done something wrong in our lives that hurt someone, or was stupid at the time. Once we were done with the punishment, most everyone of us wanted a second chance to show we were better than our dumb mistake.
When Mike comes to Commissioner Goodell to hopefully be reinstated, I hope you have the Faith that so many claim to have. And apply it in entirety, that "ALL" have sinned, and come short of the glory......Thump that before you thump him any further.