Monday, August 27, 2007

The Outsiders


As the new NFL season begins, I reflect back on the events that have transpired since the end of the season last year, and since 2001, When the Falcons selected Michael Vick with the first pick in that years draft. Certainly, he appeared to have talents that no other NFL quarterback had ever had. Speed, elusiveness, and a cannon for an arm that torched college secondaries. I have been a Vick opponent for several years now, my objections reaching their height when Vick flipped the bird to home fans at the Georgia Dome. Indeed, I suggested on the Falcons message boards that we trade him after the Green Bay playoff win, and was roasted with angry responses.

There are two ways of looking at this situation. On one hand, Vick clearly has touched a nerve with the American public not only for his unprofessional behavior on and off the field (the water bottle incident at the airport, the flipped birds, giving up late in games) but also in his personal life. Turning puppies who have been domesticated and could become loving members of families into savage monsters which must be destroyed because they represent a threat to society seems to be a particularly heinous act, one which has been committed continuously over the years since 2001, when Vick received his first paycheck.

To my knowledge, Vick has never made any public profession of faith. He has made numerous public professions of a glitzy, gangster-stylized, live-for-the-money/glory lifestyle, and promoted this view towards our nations youth. Yet God views both Michal Vick and I, and everyone else in the same way. We are all flawed by sin. We all have our own individual issues, yet He loves us all the same. Does this mean that I forgive and forget? Yes and no. Vick's private sin has become very public, yet how many of us struggle with gossip? With infidelity of the heart? With pride? King David committed murder and adultery over Bathsheba, yet he was able to repent of that and became a man after God's own heart. He had to live with the consequences of his actions, however, and Israel was at war with its enemies for his entire life.

If I were Michael Vick (a sobering thought), I would make the following statement to the media:

"To the American public, the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, and their fans: I sincerely and humbly apologize for my actions. All allegations regarding the matters at Bad News Kennels and myself are true. I am canceling my acceptance of the plea deal offered to me by way of my lawyers, and instead this morning will plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy, and justice, of the judge. After serving whatever time is sentenced for me to serve, I will not seek any employment in professional football, but will instead seek to work at an animal shelter, under supervision, in hopes of redeeming myself and my actions. I was wrong not only in hurting and killing these creatures which were placed in my care, but also in dedicating my life to a pursuit of worthless image. Not now, but after such things have come to pass, I would humbly ask your forgiveness."

Eating humble pie is a hard thing to do. For some, it may be much harder than scoring touchdowns in the NFL. I am not holding my breath.

G.Houtchens
armchair coach
amateur historian

1 comment:

Karla said...

I applaud the statement you wrote for Michael Vick.

In the midst of all his apologies, I would like to point out that has not yet made the most important apology of all.

He has apologized to the NFL, his teammates, and his fans. But nowhere in any of this has he spoken to the memory of the innocent animals he tortured and killed, or begged for THEIR forgiveness. To this day, they are still nothing but objects to him - not fellow residents of this Earth who can suffer and feel unimaginable terror and pain.

He still describes what he did as an "immature" act. There was nothing immature about it. His acts were those of a sadistic and cruel adult (college educated, no less) who fully understood the consequences of his actions.

Do I have any sympathy for this man? At this point I have exactly as much sympathy as he showed his unwilling victims: ZERO. The only way he can even begin to redeem himself is to sincerely express two qualities that have been absent in his character so far: compassion and repentence to those he hurt most - the animals.