54 for 89 (60% completions). 6 passing touchdowns. 1 rushing touchdown. 0 interceptions. And a QB rating of 110.2. Those are Michael Vick’s numbers three weeks into the 2010 NFL season. Vick started the season as backup to Kevin Kolb. But after a Week 1 Kolb concussion and a dominant Week 2 performance by Vick in his place, head coach Andy Reid made the decision to give Vick the chance he’d been waiting several years for, to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League once again.
But this post is not about Michael Vick the football player, it is about Michael Vick the person.
In July 2007, Vick and three others were charged with felonies of operating an illegal interstate dog fighting venture called “Bad Newz Kennels.” Vick, the financier, was also accused of directly participating in both dog fights and executions, and handling thousands and thousands of dollars in gambling activities. You know the story, I don’t have to tell it again.
Vick has been on the road to redemption for a few years now, and he’s got a long way to go. After his freakish performance this past Sunday (17-31, 291 yards passing, 3 passing TD’s, 1 rushing TD, QB rating of 119.2), Vick was asked by a sideline reporter how long he envisioned his road to redemption taking. He replied that it would never end, that he’d be working on it his “whole life.” Good answer.
Michael Vick has said and done all the right things since his time in jail. He’s never once had a setback. Off the field, he’s been vocal and active in the community, teaching and speaking against dog fighting and animal cruelty. On the field, he’s been completely focused on football, whereas when he was younger, he was notorious for being the last one to practice and the first one gone. Vick truly seems like a new person, but that doesn’t mean we forget about the old one.
While I will never forget what Michael Vick did, I can see myself forgiving him. Torturing and killing dogs for sport is an unbelievably horrific act, and it takes a truly violent and disturbed mind, in my opinion, to participate in that kind of behavior. Then again, dog fighting is part of a culture I am not a part of, nor will I ever be. We forget the places that many professional athletes come from. Their past lives are often violent and ugly and sometimes it can be difficult and dangerous to leave them behind.
Vick’s road back to forgiveness is a long one, and his road to redemption is an even longer one. For the rest of his life, Vick will face much-deserved questions and comments about the awful crimes he committed. But I really do think that Vick is remorseful and regretful, and more importantly, taking action to change his life. And for that I give him credit and respect. And I hope, in time, the majority does as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts. How did you feel when Vick was accused of the dog fighting charges? How did you feel about his punishment? How did you feel about him the day he got out of jail? How about now? Do you differentiate between Michael Vick the football player and Michael Vick the person? Were you ever a Vick fan, and if so, are you still now? Do you think Vick truly is sorry? Has he changed? Are you just ready to move on?