Friday, August 14, 2009

Five Words to Describe the Return of Michael Vick


By Dr. Boyce Watkins

6:40 AM on 08/14/2009

The return of the prodigal quarterback

  • (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

I was as shocked as the rest of America to hear that Michael Vick has been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Although I've always supported Vick's human right to fairness, I never thought he'd be back on the field so fast. I was honestly happy to see him get a second chance, but not as happy as his bill collectors.
I have five words that describe the thoughts running through my mind regarding the return of the prodigal quarterback:

1) Redemption: Michael Vick was in his early to mid 20s when he committed many of his most egregious crimes against animals. His age does not, in any way, excuse him from necessary punishment. But the truth is that if any of us were forced to pay a lifetime price for dumb things we did in our twenties, we'd all die in debt. The problem with the way most Americans decided to attack Michael Vick was that there didn't seem to be any finite point at which we could all agree that his punishment should end. PETA wanted to barbecue Vick and the rest of America seemed to think that he was a modern-day OJ Simpson (he was acquitted, by the way). The public response to Michael Vick was a reminder of America's disturbing past of mob attacks against black men who were believed to have committed a crime.

2) Philadelphia: Michael Vick wasn't going to be signed in a touchy-feely city. He needed to be signed in a place where morality is optional and even a mass murderer can get on the field if he knows how to win. Philadelphia is that kind of town. I love the city immensely, but the truth is that when it comes to sports, many Eagles fans wouldn't care if Michael Vick had run a human death match syndicate. In fact, they might think it was kind of cool. If Michael gets on the field and helps the team win, Eagles fans are going to give him an extra dose of brotherly love.

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