Put Vick on the field, not on a pedestal

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Like most fair-minded and even moderately temperate souls, I am of the unwavering belief that Mike Vick has now paid his debt to society, served his time, and should again be free to live his life in the most upwardly mobile fashion he’s blessed enough to navigate.

Being convicted of a crime, in and of itself, should in no way result in an automatic death sentence. Some of those who’ve sought to bury Vick by mercilessly stripping him of his already earned riches and NFL livelihood struck me as hypocrites of the highest degree in their straying beyond the law by insisting that Vick’s transgressions not only be punished by the legal system but that his world forever be left in ruins.

That doesn’t strike me as justice, but rather overkill. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel as if the Vick Express on the road to redemption veered recklessly off course this week when he was to be honored in his Virginia hometown as something just short of a demigod.

‘Celebration for Mike Vick’ event organizer and Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter president Andrew Shannon intimated that hundreds of youths were expected to be on hand to cheer Vick on and hear him speak before an unforeseen scheduling snafu caused the entire event to be scraped.

I’ll call it divine intervention.

Admit it, in a world where black and minority men make up far to high of a percentage of those incarcerated, the image and implications born of Vick being paraded as some sort of cause célèbre of indisputable virtuosity before so many impressionable minds could be more than just a bit dysfunctional for its audience. Idolatry, you see, can be a form of imprisonment of its own.

Certainly, Mike Vick has every right to reclaim his own life, though too date, far too much of it has been about involving himself in matters no child should ever be encouraged to strive to emulate. Before the dog-fighting charges that landed him in prison for nearly two-years and cost him to forfeit the remains of a king’s ransom, there were widespread rumors of his rampant drug use and various blog postings calling into question his rather cavalier sexual meanderings.

As is the case for all of us, nowadays you simply pray that Mike Vick is finally standing face to face with all his demons. And at times, you even get the real impression he’s finally put the breadth of his many missteps far behind him, a stark testament indeed to the uncanny resolve and reinvigorated sense of purpose that made him such a huge star athlete to begin with. And still just at 29-year-old, you get the sense time is yet on his side.

I wish him Godspeed in conquering what has now become a never-ending battle for him. I’m just not quite ready to worship him yet.

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