Michael Vick: An American Icon

Yes, I said it. Michael Vick should be looked at in a positive light heading into this weekend when he will start against the Jaguars. Andy Reid has decided that the best move for the Philadelphia Eagles is to start Michael Vick over Kevin Kolb, and I agree with this move.

Vick is iconic not because he was in trouble in the past, but because of what he has done since then. As everyone knows, Vick was convicted of running a dog-fighting ring in 2006. He served his entire 23 month sentence and missed two full seasons of the NFL. Vick has continued to work hard to hopefully get another shot in the NFL. Last season, the Eagles gave him that shot by signing him to a one year contract with a club option for another year.
Michael Vick
He didn’t play much last season, but with the trade of Donovan McNabb this off-season, Vick moved up to #2 on the depth chart and the Eagles exercised their club option. When Kolb went down in Week 1 with a concussion, Vick got his chance in the spotlight, and he has run with it. After 6 quarters of great football, Vick was rewarded by being named the starter even with Kolb OK’d to play.

I am glad that Vick is getting another chance. He has exemplified what hard work and an opportunity can get you. Vick was at the lowest of low just four years ago – bankrupt and in jail. That hasn’t stopped him. He could have easily given up.

Nearly 650,000 people are released from the nation’s prisons every year, and about nine million more are released from jails. Two-thirds of those who come out of prison are rearrested within three years of release.

Sad, but true many convicted criminals return to the life of mischief.

Vick will never have the same reputation that he did with Atlanta, but he deserves this chance and people need to accept that. I came across an article in “Shutdown Corner,” a Yahoo! football blog. This article highlighted the Philadelphia Daily News’ headline after Vick was named the starter: “Top Dog: In a Shocking Turnabout, Reid names Vick Starter.”

Now I understand that the Daily News wants to sell newspapers, but this is a cheap shot. Chris Chase, the author of the article, writes his opinion:

If you think this is a low blow, you’re right. If you think it’s out of bounds, I’ll respectfully disagree. Vick paid his debt to society and has been a model of behavior since getting released from prison. I’m happy for him and actually find myself rooting for him to redeem himself on the football field. But just because Vick served some time in prison doesn’t mean we can’t bring up his past. Prison doesn’t wipe the slate clean. We shouldn’t define Vick for his callous treatment of animals, but we shouldn’t forget about it either.

I couldn’t agree more. Let’s not pretend it never happened, but with knowing it happened let’s look at how far Vick has come. Vick shows what determination can do for a person, and for that he should be seen as an icon.

[Photo Credit: NFLTouchdown.com]

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