Sunday, August 30, 2009

I am rooting for Michael Vick

Donnie Andrews works as head of security at Bethel AME, an African-American church in the Baltimore area. He counsels young gang members, attempting to get them out of the life and keep them out of the drug trade. One of these was the son of his would-be wife, whom he successfully pulled off a corner selling “blue tops” (crack vials with blue tops). He is the picture of a model citizen.

But it wasn’t always this way. In 1987, Andrews copped to a murder he committed in 1986. He was known in the Baltimore streets as a stick-up man, robbing drug dealers to make his living. If you watched the HBO series “The Wire,” you certainly know Omar Little, who was modeled after Donnie (and a few other Baltimore area stick-up men), and Donnie played one of Omar’s crew in seasons 4 and 5.

Donnie was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He began a long road of reform which started in prison, counseling drug addicts. He spent 17 years there and was released in 2005. (Links to read more about Andrews at the bottom of this article.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Michael Vick and what he did, what he’s been through and what should happen with him now. He’s done some horrible, inexcusable things. Okay, not some…many. He tortured and murdered helpless animals for sport and money. Those dogs that were killed never get a second chance at their lives.

Just like Zach Roach will never get a second chance at his life, thanks to Andrews.

But, like Andrews, society has deemed Vick's debt paid. There is much debate as to whether Vick should be serving more time, paying a steeper price for what he’s done. This, however, isn’t for me to decide. I have no say in the matter, and regardless how much I want Vick to pay that steeper price, he simply won’t…not for these crimes.

And so I’m left with seeing the man on a National Football League team less than two years after his 23 month sentence and wondering what I should be feeling about this. And while I find what he’s done despicable, I can’t shake the feeling that rooting against him is counter-productive and generally useless.

Instead, I’m making a conscious choice to root for him. I root for him to have changed his life and his ideals. I root for him to begin to do good for society, and particularly for the animals he used to abuse. To help make those animals’ lives better and contribute to their lives in a positive way. And to succeed in his football career which will allow him more money and more status to be able to contribute in a more meaningful way.

I’m hoping he can learn from his mistakes and become a positive, productive member of society. It honestly would serve everyone better if he does this successfully, so I wish him luck in his endeavors, and hope that he doesn’t prove me a fool.

Read more about the life and reform of Donnie Andrews here and here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice.

    For me the problem with "rooting for Vick" is that Vick could have great success on the football field without changing or "reforming" himself at all. Just keep your nose clean and win some games and all will be forgiven, my son. It's one thing to root for Vick to change his ideals and begin to do good; it's another thing to root for him to be the playmaker that puts Philly over the top and wins the city its first SuperBowl.

    (Even that is complex, because it's not like Reid and McNabb don't deserve a Super Bowl. They've been the 3rd or 4th "great" franchise over the last decade, along with the Pats & Steelers & Indy.)


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