Vick’s second chance

Taylor Brody ('11)/ For Eastside and Taylor Brody ('11)/ For Eastside

Nobody saw this coming.

Neither did I.

That’s until my father called me with the news: “The Eagles signed Michael Vick!”

After a few minutes of “What the…” and “Wow!”, it drew on me that many people weren’t going to be happy with this signing…not happy at all. After all, what owner or coach or teammate or fan wants an ex-convict on his or her football team? And not just an ex-convict, but an animal murderer.

Two years ago, Vick was arrested for running a secret dogfighting ring known as the “Bad Newz Kennels”, later pleading guilty to the charges against him. Vick was then sentenced to 23 months in jail.

Yet I am proud. I’m proud of the Eagles, of Donovan McNabb for being a catalyst in the signing process and of coach Reid and Jeff Lurie for doing something as honorable as this. I am excited to see Vick on the field once again. I SUPPORT MICHAEL VICK, and here’s why:

While in jail, Vick began to receive mutual mentoring from one of the most respected NFL coaches in recent history, Tony Dungy. After he retired from coaching, Dungy started to dedicate part of his life to helping inmates discover themselves…whether that meant finding G-d, or just realizing that what they did was wrong. For Michael Vick, Dungy did not only help him discover himself, but made him want to prevent others from traveling down the same path.

So he took action.

Vick has traveled to many different cities across the United States explaining to people how dogfighting consumed his life, and why it is wrong. He has spoken in Chicago, Sacramento, and many other cities around the United States. As I read an article about one of Vick’s speeches, one fact struck me hard:

“Vick said he was first exposed to dogfighting in his native Virginia when he was only 7 years old.”

Think about that. If you were raised to think that dogfighting was fun and okay, you would probably be doing it right now. At the same time, what if Vick had been raised differently? What if he had never been introduced to dogfighting when he was 7…make it 14, 18, 20…maybe he wouldn’t be in the position he is in today. When a child is 7, he/she is more open to accepting things, whether they are right or wrong. Vick happened to learn about a wrong activity at a wrong time in his life.

Which brings us to yesterday.

Overreaction swept Eagles’ Nation. Immediate boycotts and threats ensued: fans warned they would wear dog masks at the games, while others claimed that they were so disgusted with their team that they no longer wish to be an Eagles’ fan.

Well I’m disgusted, also. I’m disgusted with the Eagles fans out there that are doing what I just described. You aren’t perfect. People live in different environments, and come across different situations in life. Some of us are set up in nice, pretty neighborhoods, where the biggest mistake you can make is doing drugs or speeding on the highway. However, some live in neighborhoods where the mistakes that you can make are bigger, badder…and have bigger and badder consequences. So whether you live in Cherry Hill or Detroit or Beverley Hills, people are going to be introduced to different possible mistakes.

And the most honorable thing that a person can do would be to take responsibility for their actions and mistakes. And Michael Vick has done just that. Some aren’t fully convinced that he’s done so, and you know what? That’s okay! Some say it’s because they don’t trust him yet, and that’s okay, also. But give him a chance to earn back your trust on and off the playing field. As you watch ESPN and CSN during the Eagles 2009 (Superbowl) season, please listen to stories on Vick, and his progress with his family and the community, because those are his goals.

All of us have made mistakes that, whether they are small or large, have been forgiven or forgotten. The Eagles aren’t trying to help Michael Vick forget or even be forgiven for what he did, but they believe that everybody on earth deserves a second chance at life.

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”-Henry Ford

Courtesy of http://weblogs.wpix.com/sports/thehuddle/michael%20vick.jpg
Courtesy ofhttp://weblogs.wpix.com/sports/thehuddle/michael%20vick.jpg