“I ain’t never written a blog before,” pens Eagles backup QB Michael Vick at Global Grind.com as part of a lengthy mea culpa that includes the promise, “I think back to when I use to play football and of course I use to see all those kids in the stands wearing #7 jerseys. And I would never want them to look up to the Michael Vick who did all of those terrible things to the dogs.”
Sitting in a prison cell didn’t make me feel remorse. It was meeting so many animal lovers, speaking with them and looking them in their eyes. Staring at them. Looking so deep into their eyes that I began to feel their pain. Allowing that pain to enter into my body is when I started to understand how bad it really was. I have been trying hard to connect with people who feel this pain,because for my whole life I was disconnected from the suffering of animals. And you might say, “come on Mike, how could you do those things to those dogs?” And you’re right…I ask myself those questions every day. What kind of person does this? How does a human-being treat dogs or any animal with such pain and cruelty? And the hard part for me is the answer to these questions. Because the answer is ME. And I am trying so hard right now to become a better person, because who I was, I am ashamed of.
Cause see, my whole life has been numb. I was numb to the violence in my community…cause I saw it all the time, ever since I was a child. I mean, how does one grow up in a city that’s nickname is Bad Newz? You can probably guess that from the jump, ya’ know I’ve seen some bad things in my life. And football was the only way that I could escape. As a kid, I even used to go out fishing, and most of the times I wouldn’t catch a darn thing, but just needed to get away from the chaos every once in a while. So, when the commissioner called my name as the #1 draft pick in the NFL – the first time a black quarterback had ever been chosen as the #1 pick, I thought my life was all good. But, what I didn’t realize then, that I have begun to realize now, is that even though I had more money in my pocket, big cars and big houses, I was still numb. And when I say numb, I ain’t talkin about not realizing the stuff that was going on around me, it was just like I was living life asleep. However, that is still no excuse for what I did. But let’s not forget that there are still hundreds of thousands of young people growing in similar environments and seeing violence at a young age has severe consequences.
Vick has served his debt to society and I’ve no right to say whether or he’s sincerely sorry. But Joel Steinberg’s fulfilled his obligations to the penal system too, and I don’t know of very many employers who’d be quick to hire him. And who amongst us doesn’t want to see Steinberg taking a few snaps on a Sunday afternoon?