For those who don’t remember, in 2007 NFL quarterback Michael Vick was arrested and charged for running an illegal dog fighting ring on his property in Surry County, Virginia. After accepting a plea deal, Vick was eventually found guilty of one count of killing dogs and one count of promoting dog fighting, and served a 23-month prison sentence.
According to an ESPN and The Federal indictment “Vick, Peace and Phillips hung approximately three dogs who did not perform well in a “rolling session,” which indicates the readiness of a dog to fight. According to the report, the three men hung the dogs “by placing a nylon cord over a 2×4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed. They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five-gallon bucket of water.”
Since his release from prison, Vick has turned the corner from his past. He has worked with animal right advocates groups to stop the abuse of animals. In 2014, Vick publicly supported the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which makes it a federal crime to attend an organized animal fight that was signed by president Obama.
Also in 2015, Vick met with Pennsylvania lawmakers in support of PA House Bill 1516, or the Pets in Cars Bill, which would give police officers authority to rescue dogs and cats from cars due to unsafe temperatures. According to an Abc News article Vick stated the following:
“”I know that I’m an unlikely advocate,” “I was part of the problem. Now, my perspective can help reach people that activists can’t reach. I can help others become agents of change.”
Recently, the NFL announced Vick would become one of four honorary captains for the 2020 Pro Bowl game. Many animal advocates were outraged that the NFL would honor someone with a past of cruelty to animals. In fact, AnimalVictory.org has 320,000+ signatures petitioning Michael Vick from being a captain.
Although he’s considerable steps to change, many will never forgive Vick for the crimes committed. As a society, we want terrible crimes to be punished and for those individuals to change. When a person goes to prison, we want the individual to learn from their criminal ways and make a change to become a better human. Leo Tolstoy once stated the following:
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Vick spent time in prison and made every step possible to move onto a new chapter in his life. He has worked within the NFL for majority of his career, and him being named as a Pro Bowl captain is acknowledgement for his accomplishments during his playing days. After his imprisonment, Vick has mentored players such as Lamar Jackson. He has become a positive mark on the league for individuals that want change and become that change.
Photo Credit: Atlanta Falcons