As an Atlanta Falcons fan, I’ve never been a fan of Michael Vick because he demonstrated few virtues beyond his athletic ability, even before the dog fighting charges. Now, he’s served his time, and if you’ve written off Vick, you’d be premature. Not because of his football resurgence with the Eagles, but because of what he is saying and doing off the field.
I was impressed with his interview with the former coach he helped bring down, Jim Mora Jr., on NFL Network. He said of his arrest and imprisonment:
“There was nothing you could do, Jim. The best thing for me that ever happened in my life up to this point, as crazy as it may sound, was me getting shipped off to[Leavenworth prison in] Kansas because other than that, I wasn’t going to change. I wasn’t going to change, I wasn’t going to get all the people away from me that were leeches and wanted to be around. I wasn’t going to stop fighting dogs. At some point, someone could’ve gotten hurt. It was pointless. My mom tried to tell me and it went in one ear and out the other. There was nothing nobody could have done to change my situation but the man upstairs who was seeing this and said, ‘Listen, before this goes any further, I’m going to have to take all this away from you for a while and you’re going to have to get your priorities in order. But you’re going to have to sit over there to get it done’ and that’s what happened.”
“My whole life was a lie, Jim. Everything from A to Z.”
“My life has just changed drastically. When I sat in prison in Leavenworth, I was thinking, ‘How do I want to live my life moving forward? How do I want to change things? What can I do better this time around?’”
I spent 12 years of my life working in prison ministry, with Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship. I know that Vick needs to “walk the talk,” as they say in the prison chapel. But I’ve heard a lot of talk from prisoners and ex-prisoners, and I like what I’m hearing now from Michael Vick. I’m praying that he will continue on this track, that he will draw close to God, and that good things will come his way. Not necessarily on the football field; instead, the things of life that really matter.