Every morning and every night, Marcus Dixon opens his Bible and reads Psalm 23 that states,
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Marcus Dixon is a person who needs comforting and protection.
Dixon, who was born and raised in Rome, Georgia, is a very good football player currently on the Dallas Cowboys' team. During his first three years of high school, he was arguably the best defensive end in the nation. He had many different Division I schools offering him scholarships, including Georgia University, Georgia State and Vanderbilt, whom he ended up signing with.
Then, all his success and achievements fell down around him in one foolish moment.
On February 10, 2003, Dixon had consensual sex with 15-year-old Kristi Brown in the back of the girl's trailer. The girl was white, and she came from an abusive, racist family. She knew that if she became pregnant with a black man, her father would probably kill her, so she did the only thing she though she could do, and called rape on Dixon.
To many people, including various local law enforcement officers, this did not come as a surprise—after all, Dixon was black, and he had prior record of various sexual actions at school, which got him suspended twice. These things, in the minds of the predominately white jury, were enough to convict him of rape.
Several charges were brought up against him, including assault and battery, rape, statuary rape, and false imprisonment. When the case came up on appeals, a new jury heard the story, saw it as a case of racial discrimination, and acquitted Dixon of all charges.
After spending a year and a half in jail, Marcus Dixon was released as a free man and with apologies from the state of Georgia.
He wished to put the incident behind him and just play football. But Vanderbilt had long since rescinded the scholarship, and no other major school would sign him. Even though he had big time talent, he had to sign with Hampton Virginia College.
After starring there for 4 years, Dixon again proved he deserved a shot at the pros. But, most scouts were skeptical of drafting Dixon because of his "character issues," which caused all teams to bypass him, until the Dallas Cowboys signed him as an un-drafted free agent.
The Dallas Cowboys, long known as America's Team, should now be known as the city of second chances.
After being suspended for half of last season and cut by the Chicago Bears, Tank Williams signed with the Cowboys and has succeeded on and off the field. Pacman Jones, the All-Pro corner and kick-returner was suspended for all of last year, but the Cowboys think they can turn the troubled man back into the superstar he should be. And now for Dixon!
Though he committed no crime, he was still marked as a "problem player." But, in Dallas, Texas, people saw through that and were willing to give him a second chance.