I didn’t think I would need to write this post. This subject was exhausted over the summer and wouldn’t be a relevant subject again unless the unthinkable happens…
It’s Mike Vick time in Pittsburgh.
So everybody has their concerns for one of two reasons. Either they don’t think he can play anymore if he ever could play, or they harp on his past with dogfighting. If someone is worried about the Steelers and Michael Vick for football-related reasons (can’t throw accurately, turns the ball over, always injured, too old, etc.), I get it; I share these same concerns. The only way that debate is settled is on the field If you want to talk about that, please use the comment space below but it’s not the football crowd I want to address.
It’s the animal lovers that I want to address. I think everyone reading this knows about his past. Everyone knows that Vick was arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced, and fined for his role in running a dogfighting operation. Again, he was arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced, and fined. Vick has gone through the legal process in regards to his crimes. He did his time. In addition, he lost all of his endorsement deals along with his $100 million contract. Plus, he had to file for bankruptcy. Michael Vick lost everything, including his freedom!
Ever since he was released from prison in 2009, he has been working hard to rehabilitate his image and change his ways. He has become a major spokesperson in the crusade against dogfighting. Yet critics want to hang an albatross around his neck. They still call Vick a monster and a killer. They refuse to believe that he has changed and claim he doesn’t deserve the opportunity to pursue a living, let alone the opportunity to earn millions in the only profession he has ever known. They don’t believe that Vick has been punished enough by our legal system and would, quite frankly, like to see him executed for his crimes.
In other words, they love dogs more than they love people. And they are incapable of forgiveness.
I don’t understand the first; I do understand the latter. I’ve been there. I have refused to forgive people for sins that I perceived they have committed against me. I have refused to forgive people for heinous crimes. On my way to becoming a disciple, one of the biggest things that I needed to learn was forgiveness. I needed to learn to be forgiving towards others just as how Jesus’s sacrifice enable for us to be forgiven. I am also called to repent, to change from my past behavior and learn from my mistakes.
The concepts of forgiveness and repentance aren’t unique to the Christian faith. As humans, being able to forgive and repent are what keeps us from being hardhearted. It allows us to be better people. Stubbornness isn’t getting anybody anywhere. We have to believe that people are capable of change, even the worst of us.
I’m not justifying his crimes or minimizing the significance of them. What he did was absolutely horrible. However, Vick has taken all of the steps necessary to clean up his life. He pleaded guilty and was punished for his crimes by the system we put our faith in. He’s apologized and has donated his time and money towards fighting such forms of animal abuse. He’s moved on with his life. It’s long past time we do the same. Besides, don’t we all love a good redemption story?
And now, back to football.