Michael Vick: Born Again … ?

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Write this down: Michael Vick’s return to the NFL in 2010 will be the league’s biggest non-Super Bowl Sunday. And it just might even be in a Falcons’ uniform.

Loony as it might sound, I’m willing to say you read it here first after watching Vick on the first day of the rest of his life. It wasn’t perfect, but it was real. That is what I felt as I watched a young man who had been a football player for most of his life finally begin to be a man.

This could all bite me in the butt someday. Because in the end it is not what you say but what you do. But Michael Vick HAD to say something and he said it well.

Though he had notes, he seemed to speak extemporaneously. It seemed to come from deep inside that place where few of us (and, yes, I’m one of them) have to go when life strips us of what we know (or what we thought we knew) and forces us to SEE what perhaps we do not remotely want to see: Our bare selves.

Though his words were not perfect, he said all the right things. He spoke with humility. He apologized to those he lied to (particualrly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Atlanta falcons owner Arther Blank), and, most important, he found some context for his predicament by talking to our kids.

If he gives the Feds what they want (names) and continues to show contrition, I believe Goodell will revisit the indefinite suspension and perhaps allow Vick to be eligible for return to the NFL as soon as the day he leaves prision. Maybe more likely no longer than a year later.

As for the Falcons, Blank, maybe the biggest two-legged victim in this drama, has a true heart. And as much as he’d been hurt, what I heard to day was the voice of a forgiving man. In time – IN TIME – I would not be surprised to see him welcomed home. Imagine the night in ATL. Write it down.

Michael Vick now has a tremendous opportunity. He has an opportunity to have an impact five-fold beyond what he could have done as a mere football player. He has a platform now (or whenever he gets out of prison) to make a difference. I don’t know how yet (although I know I’m not talking about on a football field). And probably neither does he. But it’s there. We’ll see what he does it with it.

Vick said this experience made him “find Jesus,” and that he’d “turned his life over to Christ.” As a man of faith myself, I was conflicted of sorts. I wanted to say, “Hallelujah!.” But at the same time, the cynical journalist in him kicked into high-gear and busted out laughing. Well, duh. If you lose $71 million and DON’T find Jesus, well, then you are stone cold going-to-hell fool!

It was an enjoyable moment but my faith side prevailed. I’ll give Michael Vick his due. I’ll praise his conversion and pray that now he shows us all what God can do. In truth, he’s already done so.

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27 thoughts on “Michael Vick: Born Again … ?

  1. I’ve said numerous times that if God forgives (and I know he has) Michael Vick then screw everybody else. That’s the bigger picture here. I know that we live in a society that (for the most part) doesn’t recognize religion, but for those of us who believe in the power of prayer and know the importance of a relationship with God, it’s easy to believe that Michael Vick can start over and overshadow this negativity with good.

  2. This is exactly what I was looking for. Don’t talk about being a man, but be a man. You messed up. Don’t look for excuses. Face the problem. Recognize and then and then move forward. Strive to be a better man.

    Now, the onus is the rest of us to give him a chance to be that man. I agreed with those who were outraged by the dog fighting. But if Mike is genuinely trying a different man, then I will fight for his side. It will be unreasonable and vindictive for those who condemn him now, to not give him a chance to be that better man.

  3. [...] As for the Falcons, Blank, maybe the biggest two-legged victim in this drama, has a true heart. And as much as he’d been hurt, what I heard to day was the voice of a forgiving man. In time – IN TIME – I would not be surprised to see him welcomed home. Imagine the night in ATL. Write it down. (more) [...]

  4. Adriane says:

    Nope. Not nearly enough. I didn’t hear a single word of acknowledgment from him as to the suffering he caused the poor dogs he slaughtered. It was far more than “bad judgment.” He is apparently still unaware of the level of sadism he has evidenced by his own admission. If I were to hang my neighbors cat, I think it shows problems far more serious than “an immature act”. And were I to kill say 6-8 animals by electrocution, hanging, drowning, etc. I think I might need to view it as more than “making bad decisions”.

    Mr. Vick did seem sincere in his statement, but he is still clearly not cognizant of why the public has reacted so strongly. To kill and torture an innocent animal for fun is beyond most of our understanding (thank goodness). It is good he is stepping up to take responsibility… although his options are pretty limited. I do hope Mr. Vick finds redemption, and it is certainly possible… time will tell.

  5. Dirk de Young says:

    Give me a break, a few weeks ago he was hanging, drowning and electrocuting dogs. And voila, now thanks to a Federal prosecutor he has found God.

    How about 5 years of community service in an animal shelter, instead of an ASAP ressurection to the NFL?

  6. Neil says:

    I have to agree with Adriane. I heard, “I’ve made mistakes and I’m going to do better.” No, Michael, a mistake is an isolated incident in which one displays poor judgement. Your problem is a massive character deficiency and a low regard for the sanctity of life. I believe that Vick is genuinely sorry – I just don’t believe he’s sorry for the crimes he committed over a span of five years.

    I did not hear, “torturing and killing animals is a reprehensible act, and I can’t believe that my eyes were closed to that fact for so long. I feel terrible for the animals that I made to suffer.”

    Being a dog owner, Roy, I would really have felt that if Vick had made the sort of statement I wrote above, then that would have gone a long way towards making the rest of his statements more credible.

    As for Michael finding Jesus in the midst of all this…. All I can say is that the Dude must have been wide open.

  7. MamaSid says:

    As I prepared to get ready for MNF with my season tickets, I watched a Michael Vick on television that I have never seen in my six years of dealing with him and the Falcons. This is a multi-layered story with a whole lot of blame to be passed around. I say “Thank God” at least it appears that Michael has taken the first step toward redemption. But, make no mistake about it, he still has a LONG way to go. This is the same Michael Vick who was dismissive of children seeking autographs, this is the same Michael Vick who refused to do interviews with local media when everyone else on the team, including Arthur Blank willingly participated. Michael needs a lot of help and support. He’s not “cured” or “saved” yet. Remember that he has turned his life over to God because it is the right thing to do “at this particular moment.” Are there other moments when it is NOT the right thing to do? Those are the subtleties and nuances I heard in his remarks that indicated that Michael’s redemption is still a work in progress. I pray that it continues because I don’t want to see another brother go down like that. If he succeeds, his could be the greatest comeback story in the history of all sports.

  8. Dirk de Young said: How about 5 years of community service in an animal shelter, instead of an ASAP ressurection to the NFL?

    ___________________________________________________

    And what are the five years of community service in an animal shelter going to prove? Are you going to be satisfied and forgiving if he does this? NO. That’s because those of you who feel his apology wasn’t enough or that his claim to have “found God” is unbelievable, nothing he does will satisfy you. God knows his heart and knows if he’s truly sincere so everybody who feels that what he’s done is “not enough” really don’t matter. Just thank God that Michael Vick didn’t hurt your dog.

  9. Neil says:

    Spicy,

    You, like Michael Vick, seem to be glossing over the crime to focus on the redemption. Vick violated Federal law, the NFL Players’ Code of Conduct, and (according to animal lovers, at least) some pretty basic moral principals. Make no mistake, he is being justly punished and excorciated in the media and in public opinion.

    You are certainly right to say that only God knows what is in Michael Vick’s heart and whether He has forgiven him. The rest of us, including you, don’t have that kind of insight, so we can only react to Vick’s own words and actions.

    My point was that Vick didn’t use words that indicated that he was sorry specifically for the crimes which he has acknowledged committing. Mr. de Young’s point was that a demonstration of contrition such as work at an animal shelter (either as a condition or re-admission to the NFL or voluntarily undertaken by Vick himself) would show his sincerity to those of us who are currently skeptical.

    To your accusation that nothing would be enough for those of us who don’t immediately praise his newfound devotion to God; If Michael Vick walks the walk over the next several years and demonstrates through his words and actions that he is contrite and redeemed, then I for one will certainly forgive him. And respect him.

  10. Lee says:

    I don’t know, Roy. The animal-lovers and those who want Vick’s head will never be satisfied. I am hearing sports radio hosts saying his apology was not sincere. I heard a WFAN radio host say Vick should get 10 years! Ridiculous. In the world I live in we don’t equate dogs with human beings, no matter how sickening torturing and/killing dogs may be.

    I wonder how many of these people ready to lynch Vick are vegetarians. Ever seen the inside of a cow slaughterhouse? People in glass houses…epic “millionaire jealousy”…I see several reasons for the fervor taking place.

    After Vick pays his debt to society behind bars, he should be free to pursue a career in football with whatever team feels they can utilize his talents. Period.

  11. @ Neil…Part of my point is that what is his getting “sentenced” to do work @ an aminal shelter going to prove to those who doubt his sincerity?? How would a judge MAKING Mike Vick work with animals show doubters that he’s sorry? If nobody believes his apology now, what will his being forced to work in an animal shelter change?

  12. dcarter says:

    call me crazy, but vick doesn’t have to apologize to you. he didn’t wrong you. so it shouldn’t matter to you if he says the “right things” in your eyes when he acknowledges his heinous behavior.

    time and healing will give him a proper perspective and understanding of just how wrong his acts were. people telling him how wrong it was will not.

    drop your stones. he’s going to prison, and it sounds like he’s on the path to being a changed man. but that’s not for any of us – who merely consume news coverage – to judge.

  13. Eddie says:

    Give the guy a break. Sure he made a mistake, but many of us have made mistakes. No one is perfect. If he said he has accepted Jesus Christ then he is a born again. I would not question that. Only God can judge. God forgives us for all are sins. If we cannot forgive others, then we cannot expect God to forgive us. Who here has not broken a Ten Commandment? If one is perfect then criticize, if not hold judgment. In the end God decides all.

    Again, it was wrong, but there are much important issues in our country that need to be addressed. What are we doing about child abuse, child molesters, drug dealers, drunk drivers, stalkers, wife beaters, rapists, etc? What about Equality for all Americans. How come no one reacted like this during slavery? From what I’ve read slaves were treated worse than dogs. Let’s not blame Vick for everything. I think he’s learned from this. I know he’ll be a better man in the end from this. I know inside he is a good person as most people are, but sometimes money can drive a person to something they are not.
    Just my two cents.

  14. parallelsidewalk says:

    “Well, duh. If you lose $71 million and DON’T find Jesus, well, then you are stone cold going-to-hell fool!”

    This is one of the best things I’ve read all day. Thank you.

  15. Sue says:

    I heard it on the radio this afternoon, “this helped me find Jesus”, first off, “Was he lost?” Jesus that is? Stand up, take your punishment, really do we care who he found? Rehab can be a wonderful thing, but don’t use it as an excuse, it really isnt the public he has to answer to, it’s between him and his god. I hope he truly found the one he was looking for!

  16. Daryl says:

    I’m with you Roy. Grace is God’s second chance. All of us have messed up, and needed Mercy, grace, and forgiveness from those whom we have hurt, and shamed. This is a time for self reflection and prayer in Mike’s life. It is my prayer that this adversity will deepen his relationship with the Lord, and build his character.

  17. bohemianprose says:

    “I hear give the guy a break he messed up” I beg to differ. Messing up would be something to claim if he had said something inappropriate or out of line in some way, as to say it was ignoranlty and done without intent. No one can say this about Vick. He would have to be blind, deaf and stupid to not know what he was doing was in fact wrong anyone with a shred of moral fiber know’s that was took place was wrong – a child knows that it is wrong. He should lose the money the fame and go to jail. But what confuses me and angers me is that he gets gaught and claims to find Jesus – is it possible? Yes and lets hope its real is it likely? I don’t think so unless perhaps he was raised as a Christian. My point it that many, many stars and celebs claim Jesus while in the public eye of scorn much like a child might act hurt when he is in trouble anything to deflect the chastening of the paretn in this case Vick seems caught and red faced as he should be. But does this conclude a spiritual awakening? Much like Paris Hilton found Jesus in he wopping 2 month jail sentence only God knows the heart of man but come on are we so easily fooled by these people?
    Jesus said in that day many will call me Lord but will not enter the kingdom. What I know about faith is that it is a difficult road anyone telling you other wise is a liar for the gate to heaven is narrow and road to disctuction wide there are few who enter. Lets all pray we find it. Amen

  18. bueller says:

    blah blah, Michael Vick is an idiot, bottom line. He needs to just shut up and take his punishment, I don’t want to hear any more talk from anyone, including all those morons who are trying to defend him. You know who you are, just stop. He is supposed to be a role model and he screwed up big time. Enjoy your time in prison Vick.

    http://www.drunkenpanda.com

  19. Wyndell Patterson says:

    Roy,
    I takes someone of faith to understand and rest in the hope of your assessment. Only through faith in Christ and His all knowing spirit can one acknowledge and accept the fraility and utter deparate need of forgiveness from the evil all humans exhibit at some times or other.

  20. Bob Riehle says:

    Talk is cheap… Actions speak louder than words and only time will tell. As of this moment I am a doubting Thomas, it seems alot of folks in BIG trouble find Jesus all of a sudden. But having learned through personal experience that a spiritual experience and moment of clarity are possible and can be life changing.

  21. Eddie says:

    Just remember the Lord forgives no matter what one does. Aren’t we lucky. Thank you Jesus.

    Eddie

  22. Jon Tessler says:

    5 months ago, Mike “didn’t know anything about what went on at the house”. 1 month ago he “was innocent and looking to clear his good name”. Yesterday he “was pleading guilty because he was IN FACT guilty”.

    His “apology” says “dogfighting is repugnant”, and he TOTALLY rejects it, but he never explains “why he ran a dog fighting ring for SIX YEARS”? He says he made “bad decisions”, not CRIMINAL ones.

    As an old boss of mine would say…Hey Mike “were you lying then or are you lying now”?

  23. Mike says:

    I just hope that everyone who thinks Mike Vick “made some mistakes” and “messed up” is as forgiving towards every other person who has electrocuted dogs but isn’t an amazingly-gifted athlete.

    Why can’t Jesus ever take over until you wind up in court, either? I must have missed him when I got my DUI a few years ago. I should have held a press conference to proclaim my awakening before the sentencing; coulda got the damn thing thrown out.

  24. mabandrew says:

    I could not believe my ears…. which vick the THUG showed up.. is it the THUG who is saying anything that the lawyers want him to say(but he forgot and kept repeating himself) to reduce the sentence…. hey get a clue just coz you say that you found christ.. does nothing to reduce the sentence and his date with the cell. (bubba is waiting in the cell just waiting).

    vick the thug should be treated like the 8 men out and pete rose. if you play with or you are associated with gamblers and thugs. you should have a Permanent ban from the given sport. ban vick for life!!!!!! There should be nothing for the nfl to consider

    vick the thug needs to wait and see what the state of virginia is going to do. coz they may give the thug 3 years and that 3 years is to served after the federal sentence. the federal sentence should be 5 year without probation.. after he is released from the federal prision he should be carted off to richmond and start the sentence there.

    after the thugs realease from virginia he should be put under supervised probation and be forced to take a mental exam and then be forced to follow the satemet made by the doctor as what programs and classes the thug should take.

    after all of this in 2012 he should call the nfl and ask can he be a ball boy or waterboy.

    the nfl should say that you will never play the game you love.. you are not a fit and decent human to ever think that you could ever be able to play again. the thug is lucky he can get the nfl ticket and watch the nfl and wonder what went wrong and why can i never play again….

    until he has things take away he will never learn and never find crist….. you can not find christ when the feds are chasing you. where was christ all thos year that the thug was killing and funding of the killing and the fights.

  25. R, Pick says:

    Now that the Michael Vick case has begun to quiet down, let us take a moment to reflect.

    • April 25, 2007 — As part of an ongoing investigation, police raid a Virginia home owned by Michael Vick. The raid uncovers evidence of illegal dogfighting.

    • April 25, 2007 — Justice William E. McAnulty, the first African-American Judge to serve on the Kentucky Supreme Court, died of lung cancer.

    • April 28, 2007 — Vick tells NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he had nothing to do with dogfighting.

    • April 30, 2007 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    • June 6, 2007 — Marian Wright Edelman, an author and activist for children’s rights, celebrated her 68th birthday.

    • August 7, 2007 — Controversial slugger Barry Bonds hit his 756th homerun, breaking the previous record held by Henry Aaron.

    • August 8, 2007 — A US Air Force Officer, Colonel Benjamin Alvin Drew, along with a crew of six other astronauts lifted off in the space shuttle Endeavour on a mission to the International Space Station.

    • August 12, 2007 — Congressman Sanford Bishop of Georgia, went to the Gulf Coast region to asses the progress since Hurricane Katrina.

    • August 27, 2007 — Vick officially pleads guilty to dogfighting.

    This timeline may seem confusing because there are matters that are unrelated to the Vick case contained within it; however, some of these additional events are just the sort of thing that we as a people should be focusing on. Instead, we waste our time supporting those such as Vick who don’t deserve our support. Why do we do this?

    Michael Vick is a good athlete but that’s it.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say Michael Vick is a great athlete.

    Ok, so he’s a great athlete, but that’s it, nothing more, nothing less. Vick has not done a single thing to warrant the type of support he’s received from the black community, in fact, he has let us down, and should be chastised accordingly. For years white NFL general managers said blacks couldn’t succeed at the quarterback position; therefore, there were very few African-American quarterbacks in the NFL. However, after Doug Williams led the Redskins to victory in the 1988 Super Bowl that notion was dispelled in grand fashion. Soon after, black quarterbacks began to filter into the NFL, and in 2001, Vick became the first African-American quarterback to selected number one overall in the draft.

    There was sure to be a lot of pressure on the young quarterback, but that position is defined by remaining calm under pressure. Vick seemed to handle that pressure both on and off the court, and earned the nickname “Superman.” Unfortunately for us, there was no Mr. Kent, but there certainly was a Mr. Hyde, someone who did monstrous deeds. Vick’s off the field persona remained hidden for six years until a police investigation led straight to Vick’s front door. Mr. Hyde was exposed and we were let down once again by someone who we should have never placed on a pedestal to begin with.

    Vick could have paved the way for other African-American quarterbacks by proving that they can lead an NFL team both on and off the field. Instead Vick may have slowed the progress of all African-American quarterbacks as NFL team officials will begin to wonder if they should trust the an African-American to lead a multi-million dollar franchise. Vick also could have inspired thousands of young African-American males who want to do positive things with their lives. Instead, he may have empowered those who want to embrace the “thug” lifestyle.

    Despite all of this, we will still hold signs and do everything we can to show our support for Vick. Yet, Dr. Rice barely registers on our radar. Why?

    We can’t say it’s because we don’t like her politics; over the last few months all I’ve heard us say numerous times we support Vick the person, but not his actions. So why don’t we support Dr. Rice?

    When we look at the two, one has a B.A., M.S., and a Ph.D. The other has a College MVP, and a Heisman trophy. One is the seen throughout the world as one of the most brilliant people on the planet. One is known in this country as one of the world’s greatest athletes. One represents not only their race, and gender, but their country with dignity and pride, while the other has embarrassed not only their family, race, and team, but also their entire sport. But we still chose to support the deviant while ignoring the hero. Dr. Rice, Colonel Drew, and Marian Wright Edelman are just a few examples of true African-American heroes/role-models.

    Charles Barkley once said that athletes are not role-models, and truer words have never been spoken. An increasing number of African-American athletes are edging toward the wrong side of the law as they embrace the “thug” lifestyle. In response we must turn our attention to the more deserving, to those who will not let us or our children down.

    Instead of Vick, perhaps a poster of Benjamin Alvin Drew would better serve your child, and they don’t know who Drew is help them to find out.

    I know I for one, would rather support someone who reaches for the stars, instead of one who reaches a plea agreement.

  26. eat raw vegetables, practice yoga and meditation… oh yes and don’t forget to have a medical checkup every year!

  27. [...] Michael Vick: Born Again … ? « Ballers, Gamers and Scoundrels [...]

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