By Stan Florez
In September 2007, Michael Vick was charged and later convicted of running a dog fighting ring out of his home. In May 2009, he was released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., after serving 18 months.
Before his crime, he was the Atlanta Falcons star quarterback. He had signed with them for 10 years with a $130 million contract. He was bringing in around $25.4 million annually with all his endorsements.
But in July 2008, he filed bankruptcy and when he walked out of prison he was penniless. This month the Philadelphia Eagles gave Michael Vick a second chance and signed him for $1.6 million.
Controversy and debate continue flooding the sports networks and airways. Vick’s interview on 60 Minutes was scrutinized as to his sincerity and remorse. Although he has asked for forgiveness, it is definitely hard to forgive the horrific, reprehensible and barbaric way he abused his dogs. How could anyone find it a sport and enjoy seeing two dogs tear each other up as they fight to the death? One would have to be heartless, inhumane and void of a soul to participate in such a blood fest.
The major question being asked is, “Should Michael Vick be given a second chance? Can a person like this really change their ways? Should he be forgiven?”
This is a tough question. However, it might help to know of a few people who say he should be forgiven and given another chance.
The first is Donovan McNabb. McNabb is the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the first to lobby the franchise to sign Michael Vick, even before he was released.
“I believe in second chances and I have strong faith in God that he forgives our sins. Yes, it was a bad thing and a malicious act, but somewhere in your heart, you have to have forgiveness.” Some might say, “Yeah, but they are friends!”
Yes, this may be the case, but realize that McNabb is also the owner of three dogs and by lobbing his team he has given Vick the opportunity to compete for the starting position.
Next would be Jesus. He said something like this, “If you forgive someone when they sin against you, God will forgive you. But if you do not forgive them, He will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:14-15).” If anyone can understand the pain and brutality those dogs went thorough it would be Jesus.
Lest we forget, he was beaten with a stick beyond recognition, whipped with a device that sliced his back to shreds; his head was pierced with a crown of thorns, and all along there were crowds of people cheering them on.
Yet, some of his last words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing!” If Jesus can forgive his abusers, and God can forgive sinful men for treating his son worse than an animal … just maybe we should forgive the man who got caught up in abusing his dogs.
My hope is that Michael Vick is truly repentant, remorseful and that he learned his lesson.
If this is indeed the case, I hope through this second chance we might see Michael Vick soar on Eagles’ wings (Ex. 19:4).
See you at church.