Michael Vick paid the price for his crimes; why isn’t he deserving of a second chance to be a better man?
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sun
Late last week, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick cancelled a book signing at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Atlanta and an appearance at a VFW post in Exton because of threats to his life and his family.
Ever since Vick, who was convicted on charges related to dog-fighting, was released from prison in 2009, he has been a target of protest from animal rights groups. Despite working with the Humane Society of the United States as a spokesman against dog fighting, Vick is still labeled as an abuser of animals who deserves no forgiveness.
But according to Vick’s publicist Chris Shigas, the vitriol against Vick has taken an uglier tone and it’s not coming from animal rights groups.
“I wouldn’t label these people animal welfare activists,” Shigas said. “[Animal rights activists] never made death threats or threatened his family. This is coming from a few extreme, vulgar violent people. They get stirred up on the Internet with Facebook pages dedicated to hating Michael Vick. They rile themselves up and this is the result.”
Shigas said Vick will resume his book signing and charitable activities in the near future once they work things out with law enforcement officials.
You have to wonder how long will people harbor that kind of hatred to a man who has been nothing but a model citizen on an off the field. Vick has done just about everything to atone for his crime including spending time in jail.
On one hand, Shigas is right. There are many people out there who just don’t like the man and will never move beyond the fact that he was involved in dog fighting. But on the other hand, Vick has millions of fans who look up to him as a role model for turning your life around after some difficult circumstances.
But despite the efforts of people like Vick, retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, and others to show that they’ve grown from their mistakes, the last 30 years have made some of us dedicated, if not hell bent, to never allowing people to turn their lives around, much less forgive them when they make sincere atonement.
I mean, look at Pete Rose. Rose was was banned from baseball for gambling on his own sport and then lying about it. As a player, he retired from the game as its all-time leader in hits.
Rose has since admitted that he had a gambling addiction, which is a mental health problem more than it is a moral failing. Yet he’s still denied entry to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame because of a staunch refusal to lift the ban against him. When does his punishment end?
Back at the beginning of the 1960s, Alabama Governor George Wallace tried to block an African-American woman from enrolling at the University of Alabama with the infamous cry of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”
But years later, Wallace sought the forgiveness of African-Americans and took responsibility for his bigotry and the harm that it caused. One of Wallace’s most ardent adversaries of that time was Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis.
Lewis said he met with Wallace in 1979 and was convinced that he was truly remorseful for his racism during the Civil Rights Movement.
“But our ability to forgive serves a higher moral purpose in our society. Through genuine repentance and forgiveness, the soul of our nation is redeemed,” Lewis said in a 1998 article in the New York Times. “George Wallace deserves to be remembered for his effort to redeem his soul and in so doing to mend the fabric of American society.”
If Wallace was forgiven for his transgressions against human beings, doesn’t Vick deserve the same consideration for his crimes against animals?
The Bible says yes.
What do you say?
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