The Never-Ending Trials Of Michael Vick
Cheat your bankers or file for bankruptcy, no problem. You're still considered a financial guru by The Wall Street Journal; reference, Donald Trump. God forbid you kill or torture a few animals. You will never be forgiven, or allowed to move beyond your past; even if your life shows a total change.
[The Bulls Eye]
I'm sick and tired of the media coverage of NFL quarterback Michael Vick's post incarceration story.
Last July I wrote a column titled, "Michael Is A Vick-tim." I discussed Vick's going to jail for nearly two years for killing a couple of dogs. He has served his time and is now playing football again in the NFL. He has had a stellar season as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Since leaving jail earlier this year, he has done all the right things and continues to speak out against animal cruelty on behalf of the Humane Society. So, you ask, what am I angry about?
Why is it that every time Vick is interviewed on radio, TV, or by a newspaper, there has to be some mention of him serving jail time for killing dogs? Enough.
Vick served his time and owes no one anything and he should be free to live his life beyond the shadow of his past. As I reflected on Vick's situation, the first thought I had was that this was because Vick was Black. But, then I thought further and realized that it wasn't about race.
Ray Lewis, future Hall of Fame linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, was jailed on murder charges in 2000, but was later acquitted. You rarely if ever hear this being mentioned when Lewis is interviewed. He is also Black.
You never hear the name Monica Lewinsky when Bill Clinton is interviewed--mind you that Bill Clinton was impeached as a result of the Lewinsky affair. You never hear about Donald Trump's many bankruptcies when he is interviewed.
Allow me to continue.
Diana Taurasi, an all-star guard of the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, was convicted of DUI in the summer of 2009. I have never heard this mentioned during any of their games on TV. Marv Albert, famed NBA TV announcer, pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges; the more serious charge of rape was dropped. He was fired from announcing the games on NBC. But, less than two years later, NBC rehired him and you have not heard one word about his conviction since.
Even Tiger Woods messy divorce is no longer discussed when talking about Woods; it's only been barely over a year since his private life exploded onto the international scene. So, what can we conclude about all this? Well, it seem to me that if you are a celebrity and you commit a crime or violent act against another person-no problem.
If you cheat your bankers or file for bankruptcy, no problem. You still will be considered a financial guru by The Wall Street Journal; reference, Donald Trump. God forbid you kill or torture a few animals. You will never be forgiven, or allowed to move beyond your past; even if your life shows a total change.
How can a sportscaster laud Michael Vick throwing an acrobatic touchdown pass, yet somehow find a way to mention that Vick served time in jail? How can Vick have arguably one of the best games in football history --his recent game against the Washington Redskins-- and the conversation still turn to him abusing animals?
His recent life has been the model of redemption. That should be the only relevance of Vick's past. Because Vick's crime centered around animals, it seems some people are less willing to forgive and let go. Ray Lewis was implicated in the murder of a human being; yet, it seems like he had an easier time moving beyond his alleged transgression than Vick is having.
Donte Stallworth, a receiver on the Baltimore Ravens team was convicted of manslaughter. He killed a man while driving drunk; yet, he is shown more forgiveness than Vick. So Michael Vick, let me offer you my advice as one who works in public relations. First, stop apologizing. You no longer owe society anything. Second, tell the media you will no longer talk about your past.
When you were a child, you spoke as a child; now that you are a man, you have put those childish things behind you.
Finally, when media insist that you answer questions about your past, simply say "my life is the only voice that I am now speaking with."
I am very proud of Vick and the distance he has traveled. I hope he wins a Super Bowl ring before his career is over.
What an exclamation point that would add to his life. We all are one bad decision away from doing something stupid. If Vick continues to live his life the way he has since getting out of prison, he will have transformed his life from one of being a "Vicktim to a life of "Vicktory."
Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations and government affairs firm. He is contributing editor for www.excellstyle.com and www.usafricaonline.com
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