So appearently Matt stole my post idea. Just kidding. Truth is the Vick stuff is a huge story right now and most of us have probably seen/heard about his press conference today. I saw it this morning and had a few concluding thoughts about the whole situation.
1. This is not a race issue. I want to try and nuance this as carefully as I can but let me be clear this is the wrong tree to bark up in advancing a civil rights agenda. Michael Vick was never targeted, nor was the authorities ever “out to get him.” Truth is this whole things started when his cousin got busted with drugs and gave the address to the police. The address he gave was the one where Michael Vick and his buddies were running a massive dog fighting ring. In fact the police went there looking for drugs, not dog fighting evidence. Naturally when they arrived they found more than they bargained for and this whole saga began. But this whole story did not begin with a bunch of racist police looking for a way to take down Micheal Vick. This issue has much more to to with my second point.
2. Arrogance and Pride is what has made this such a polarizing issue. For many who have screamed that this is a race issue, I think they have simplified it to much. Personally, it has been an arrogance issue. Until today Michael Vick has accepted no accountability for his actions and in many ways acted as if he is above the law. His now infamous diatribe of speaking how people will always love him, as he strolled through a hotel lobby back in May is a perfect example of this. What has made this such a huge story is the reason the Paris Hilton incident was so large. Americans get tired of people who are so full of themselves and cocky that they think they can escape punishment or not have to take responsibility for what they have done. Lying to the face of the NFL commisoner and then having his lawyer Billy Martin, read that pathetic statement of how he was innocent just weeks ago has a way of stinging the average American the wrong way. Just how the all night partying, and drunk driving of Paris Hilton does. So please people realize that what has outraged many Americans is not the fact that Vick is black it is that he has been very prideful and failed to show any remorse or humilty until today. We are a forgiving nation, white or black, just look at Ray Lewis, Kobe Bryant. But what we do not tolerate is people who will not own their bad behavior, Pete Rose, John Rocker.
3. Michael Vick has found Jesus. I do not want to mock this, but it did make me chuckle especially since Paris Hilton and Kobe both found him to when they where going through legal troubles. Maybe this is a new evangelism strategy that needs to be explored… (sorry I could not resist.) Anyway, I like that Michael Vick seemed intent on “redeeming” himself shows that just maybe he understand he is in need of redemption. I would hope that he would redeem his actions, lifestyle, and choices. Lord knows we are all in need of redemption, daily.
4. Lets stop using the word “mistake” for what Vick did. I can not tell you how many times over the last two weeks I have heard talk show host and columnist describe what Micheal Vick did as a “mistake.” It was not a mistake and I am glad Vick did not use the word in his statement to describe his behavior. A mistake is spilling a glass of milk, missing a zero in your checkbook, or forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning. Its symptomatic that our culture has lost the vocabulary to accurately describe these types of events such as wrong, evil, or sin. These are harsh words and sound awful but that is their intent, to describe or convey behavior or actions that are awful and wrong. When we call wrong a mistake we immediatly strip away the personal responsibility and cheapen our understanding of grace and redemption. So while I am in no position to not forgive, and hope for the redemption of Michael Vick I do believe the process begins with first understanding the severity of what he has done as not being a mistake, but a conscience decision to do wrong over an extended period of time.
I know some of these points sound a tad harsh, and I want to say that is not really my heart on the subject. I do not want a pound of flesh from Michael Vick, I do not want him to be branded as an awful human, if anything I actually believe he is a pretty decent guy with a big heart who has trouble saying no. Strip away all the fame, money and success and I bet he would be a guy most of us would like to hang out with, makes me wonder if all of this might actually turn out to be a blessing for Michael Vick since he is going to lose so much.