Should We Root For Michael Vick?

JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR writes for the Dallas Morning News:

Since the Cowboys aren’t going to play in the Super Bowl, you might as well root for Vick and the first-place Philadelphia Eagles to represent the NFC. They get an opportunity to continue their push toward the NFC East title with a win over the Cowboys on Sunday.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell certainly wouldn’t mind. You shouldn’t either.

Think about the platform Vick would have to talk about how he used the dumb decisions and stupid mistakes he made to turn his life around. Think about the impact he might have on some kid somewhere making equally dumb decisions and equally stupid mistakes.

Think about the example he can be for parents of troubled kids.

“Here’s a guy who experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” they can say, “and figured out a way to get back to the top.”

Vick, like he used to be, is once again in position to be a role model and an example for others to follow because he’s the league’s MVP as we enter the final month of the season.

Whether you believe athletes should be role models is irrelevant. Kids wear Vick’s jersey. They emulate him on the football field.

I agree that Michael Vick is a role model. We are all role models to somebody. But should we as a nation root for Michael Vick?

Well, what is great about Michael Vick? He’s turned into a good quarterback for the first time in his career after missing two seasons of football to serve time in prison for dog fighting. Vick now says the right things about dog fighting being wrong, but big deal, he has to say those things. I don’t see anything inspiring about his life outside of football. And great play on the football field doesn’t have much significance outside of it.

Do you think fewer young black men are going to go to prison if Michael Vick wins the Super Bowl?

I agree with Taylor that dog fighting is far less significant than killing somebody (as two current football players have done — Leonard Little and Donte’ Stallworth).

P.S. I’ve noticed that blacks and whites respond to Michael Vick in different ways.

First of all, blacks and whites seem to have a different attitude to dogs. For whites, dogs are often part of the family. For blacks, they are pets. They’re not family. Therefore, what Vick did was not so bad.

Second. I’m noticing blacks on TV (such as the two Stus on First Take) say that the NFL has to take measures to protect Michael Vick the same way the league protects Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

I watched the Dallas-Philadelphia game last night. Michael Vick was repeatedly hit hard but it struck me as fair. I’m not outraged about it. I’m noticing whites having a similar opinion to mine.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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