From dog-pound to highlight reel

Everyone knows about Michael Vick’s great fall from stardom. He was one of the most athletic people to ever play the position of quarterback in the NFL. Although he was never the best passer around, he was a threat to do something spectacular every time he touched the football.

Then his world fell apart. He went from being a Pro Bowl quarterback to being banned from football. He funded and participated in a dog-fighting ring before lying to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. He was soon convicted and sentenced to 21 months in jail.  Then he had to declare bankruptcy and was stuck in jail during the prime of his career.

Many people thought Michael Vick would be finished, including myself. Last year he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and was anything but stellar. He went unnoticed, besides his public birthday party during which a man was shot.

At this time, everyone was slamming Michael Vick and trashing everything he did. But yet fast forward a few months to the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb sustaining a concussion, Vick enters the game. He returned to his former self, looking as if no time passed at all.

It was amazing to see how easily people forgot about what Michael Vick did 3 years prior, when he scrambled around the pocket and looked like the “freak” athlete he once was.

Now, I’m not claiming we shouldn’t praise his comeback and that he shouldn’t have been allowed back in the NFL, nor am I condoning his actions. He broke the law, served his time, and rightfully was allowed to continue his profession.

I think the bigger issue is, people need to calm down with overreactions when it’s the popular thing to do. It is so easy to kick a man while he is down. With today’s media and the amount of news coverage a celebrity’s mistake receives, the public opinion is swayed to polar extremes.

Like two years ago at the MTV Video Awards when a drunk Kanye West ruined Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. Everyone flipped out and said they would boycott him and never listen to Kanye again. But when he releases a hit single like “Power” all those same people are listening to his song and no longer caring what he did prior.

So when we watch Michael Vick dominate the gridiron and end up on SportsCenter, let’s not think of him torturing animals, but enjoy watching him make athletic plays that few on this earth can do. Keep this in mind the next time a Michael Vick or Kanye West does something stupid. Don’t jumped to extreme conclusions, because the next time Tiger Woods wins The Master’s by six strokes in his Sunday red, no one will remember his troubling past.

Written by sports editor jeff melton


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