Michael Vick was my favorite non Patriots and Browns (yes they are my second favorite team…..long story) player. He was like Barry Sanders at the QB position. He had amazing runs that left defenders grasping at the air. He was the face, heart, and soul of the Atlanta Falcons. He was the next superstar in the NFL.
I saw him play live twice against the Patriots in 2001 taking over for an injured Chris Chandler. He didn’t do much getting smothered by the Patriots D. I also saw him play against Seattle in 2002. The Falcons won and he had a great deal to do with it. He was a magician and leader, I was hooked. After his epic playoff win versus Green Bay at Lambeau, I thought he was going to be a star for years to come. I bought his jersey, bobble head, and rookie trading cards. I was officially a member of Mike Vick Nation.
I followed his career; he continued his amazing runs while polishing his throwing skills. In 2005, he led the Falcons to NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles (ironically enough the team that he is now a member of). The sky was limit for him. He broke the QB rushing record in 2006. Then his world, career, and reputation became tainted forever.
He was indicted on dog fighting charges. He trained them. Gambled on them. Tortured them and in the end, killed them. There is no doubt; he hung out with the wrong crowd. However, I was shocked, appalled, and downright disgusted about his decisions and actions. How could any human being do this to an animal? It was downright cruel and inhumane. My respect and admiration for the athlete died. I tossed my jerseys in disgust and his collectibles are in storage somewhere. Would he ever overcome this travesty? Would he ever return to the NFL?
After two years of incarceration and much soul searching, Michael Vick has been given a second chance. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him to a 2 year deal this past Thursday. Does he deserve a second chance? Yes. He did his time and took his punishment. I can respect that, but won’t forget what he has done. Hopefully, he will partake in more community service and help put the memories to sleep. I think he can.
He deserves a fair chance and all the haters need to give him that. It bewilders me that Donte Stallworth who was drunk, drove, and killed a man, is getting less flak than Vick. Both deeds were unthinkable, but why should Stallworth be given a free pass because the victim’s family took the money and he only did 4 weeks in jail? I don’t see any signs with Stallworth's number with a slash through it. I don’t see anyone outside Stallworth’s house with signs with “Drunk Driver” or “Murderer”. If Vick is going to be thrown into the volcano so should Stallworth. They both deserve second chances, but need to be treated the same way. They are human and made terrible mistakes. Let them make good again. Good luck gentlemen.