Fall From Grace
We all go through periods when life deals us what seems like never-ending, back-to-back blows to the spirit that can make or break us. It is during these times that we must decide if we are going to stand up to the heartbreak and face it head-on or if we are going to flee from it. Most of us at least have the mercy of going through this in the privacy of our own lives; Michael Vick does not have that mercy. His life is being played out like a soap opera; in front of our very eyes, his life has become must-see TV; we tune in to watch to see his fall from grace and whether or not he makes it or becomes a lost soul.
We all know Mike's story: a child born to unwed teenage parents who grew up in the projects. His father taught him how to play football and he became somewhat of a phenomenon in high school, earning a scholarship to Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, he became a superstar, earning an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player in 1999. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton in the same year. With his success, Mike left Virginia Tech in 2001 to enter the NFL Draft and was selected in the first round with the first overall pick and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. In 2004, Mike signed a 10-year, $130 million contract that included a $37 million dollar signing bonus which made him, at the time, the highest paid player in the NFL.
It has often been reported that Mike is a loyal person, one that believes in supporting and taking care of those who were there for him as he was building his career. One of the first things he did when he was drafted into the NFL was buy the home that is now at the crux of all of the dogfighting controversy in Surrey County, Virginia. He alleges he purchased this home and began the Bad Newz Kennel business strictly as a dog breeding business to help his friends and family members make money on their own, so he would not have to pay them directly out of pocket as a means of supporting them. It has also been reported that Mike was very quiet and kept to himself in the locker room. He didn't fraternize with many of the other football players and really, all he had was his family and his friends that he grew up with. It is not for us to judge whether this is because he had something to hide or because he didn't trust anyone else. It is however, very apparent, that Mike certainly trusted the very friends and family members who ended up turning on him, the ultimate betrayal.
Mike confessed to the crime. He apologized. He asked for forgiveness. There has been criticism of his calling on the Lord after the charges of dogfighting were filed. Calling on one's religion during life's moments is a very personal thing; no one knows but that person and that person's god what the relationship is. It is certainly not up to anyone outside of that relationship to say that the timing is right or wrong because they simply do not know what the nature of the relationship is to begin with. In addition to the federal dogfighting charges, there are now additional charges being pursued by the Surrey County prosecutor, charges that he tested positive for marijuana in September, a Canadian bank suing him for $2.5 million for defaulting on a line of credit, the Atlanta Falcons trying to recoup $20 million in bonus money they paid him; the list goes on and on. Isn't this a good reason to turn to the Lord?
All in all, Michael Vick is a man. He has made mistakes. Like many professional athletes, he was made to believe that he was invincible. He has learned the hard way that he is not.