By Gregory Moore
The Philadelphia Daily News on Friday had the right cartoon.
Their cartoonist showed a caricature of Michael Vick driving down a freeway towards Philly and there were three dogs wanting to catch a ride.
The Vick dog jokes are out in full force and even more, there are those out there who truly believe that Vick is probably Satan himself walking amongst us.
But if you watched the CBS 60 Minutes’ interview that Vick did with CBS Sports’ James Brown, you can sort of get an idea of just how hard of a road to redemption the once celebrated signal caller from Newport News, Virginia has to go through.
It’s going to be tough.
It’s going to be painful.
But it has to be done.
Vick knows it and although he may have waited 23 months to late to say those magic words of “I’m Sorry”, he did something that probably would have sounded like contrition more than anything else; he realized that he was the problem behind Bad Newz Kennels.
“What I did, you know, being away from my family, letting so many people down. I let myself down, not being out on the football field, being in a prison bed, in a prison bunk, writing letters home, you know. That wasn’t my life. That wasn’t the way that things was supposed to be. And all because the so-called culture that I thought was right, that I thought it was cool. and I thought it was fun, and it was exciting at the time. It all led to me laying in a prison bunk by myself with no one to talk to but myself.”
“Who do you blame for all of this?” Brown asked.
“I blame me,” Vick replied.
In a twelve-step program they would say that Vick has taken that first step which is owning up to the problem and realizing who is at fault.
But what he does now is more important than any interview and that is by his actions.
While PETA is out trying to vilify him, the American Humane Society actually went out to recruit him.
Because who would be a better spokesperson against the cruelty of animals than someone who just spent time for that very same crime.
Vick’s road to redemption isn’t on the football field but actually in the court of public opinion.
For him to be willing to be the face of the Humane Society’s campaign against dog fighting may not seem like a big thing but it is.
And it is more than just a publicity stunt to woo people back into his corner.
When you hear Vick’s words, you hear him say how the ‘culture’ was a part of his life.
Many experts have said that very same thing and that is why the Humane Society wants Vick out there in the public.
What better place to do that than right there in Philadelphia where the Animal Planet channel has a show about Philly’s SPCA enforcement unit.
What better place to do that than in a city where there are animal lovers.
What better place to do such redemptive work than in a city where there is also massive cruelty to dogs.
If Vick makes it back to the NFL in a fashion that is a second coming of a great talent, that’s fine.
But it seems that Vick may have loftier plans in mind and that’s great.
You may think this is all a gimmick and there is a small chance that it could be.
But if you are truly remorseful and a public figure, shouldn’t your redemptive road to glory be filled with obstacles that force you to prove that your words are not just words from a public relations standpoint?
Shouldn’t your actions be the embodiment of what you now believe in?
If Vick is sincere, that is exactly what this will be for him and he will be redeemed by even the harshest of critics.