ABOVE PHOTO: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick runs for a touchdown leaving New York Giants linebacker Michael Boley (59) and defensive end Justin Tuck (91) lying on ground during the first half of an NFL football game in Philadelphia, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.
(AP Photo/Miles Kennedy)
HARRISBURG– Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) chairman, state Rep. Ronald G. Waters, Delaware/Phila., said caucus members commend Philadelphia Eagles player Michael Vick for his rise to the top ranked quarterback in the NFL. This comes weeks after the caucus publicly supported the Philadelphia Eagles decision to make Vick their starting quarterback in spite of his previous involvement with a dog fighting operation.
“Michael Vick is now the number one quarterback, and the only starting quarterback who hasn’t thrown an interception,” Waters said. “A few weeks ago I spoke about the time to forgive, and a man who had made such great strides to win back his credibility. Now he outdid himself and went from number three to number one among starting quarterbacks. We should all be proud.”
In 2001, Vick rose to fame when he became the first African American quarterback to be selected as the first overall pick in the NFL draft. He enjoyed a successful career with the Atlanta Falcons for six seasons until he was convicted of running an illegal dog fighting operation out of his home and released from his position. He had to serve 18 months in prison.
Vick has been allowed back on the playing field and was recently named the starting quarterback for the Eagles.
PLBC member, Sen. Shirley Kitchen, D-Phila., said there is a time to forgive and give a person a second chance.
“Michael Vick is a perfect example of what people can get from a second chance. More people are benefiting through jobs and general support based on Vick’s second chance.”
Waters also said forgiveness can be expressed verbally or through action.
“Actions speak louder than words and money talks,” Waters said after he watched a recent game at a sports lounge in Philadelphia. Waters also said he saw various crowds of people cheer and eagerly display their support of Vick in his new role.
Waters said the NFL should express their forgiveness through justly compensating Vick for the moral boost he has brought to the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles organization.
“According to statistics, Vick ranks number one in terms of starting quarterbacks throughout the league, but ranks last in salary in this same position,” Waters said.
“I look forward to when the Eagles organization will compensate Michael Vick, this talented football player, for the value he brings to the game and this professional sport,” Waters said.
State Rep. Tony Payton, D-Phila., another PLBC member, said “The story of Michael Vick is one of redemption. He has paid his debt to society and should be able to play football at the highest level as his talent demands.”
Waters posed the question and asked, “When is it time to forgive?”
“We must support Michael Vick as he continues to excel on and off the field through his demonstrated talent and community outreach efforts. Through community outreach, Vick is clearly demonstrating people can change. Can we change? Can we change our opinions on how long we hold people accountable for their past mistakes?” Waters asked.