From True/Slant on December 29, 2009:
Michael Vick — Portrait in Courage. You’re Joking, Right?
Without much fanfare two days before Christmas, the Philadelphia Eagles awarded teammate Michael Vick with the Ed Block Courage Award, named for the longtime athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts and respected humanitarian. From the Inquirer:
“… Vick’s teammates have voted him as this year’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given annually to a player who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”
In spite of his heinous crimes and the fact that Mike Vick appeared to be a cocky jerk who thought he could get away with murder just because he was a gifted athlete, I still felt that after he served his sentence, he was entitled to pursue employment in his chosen field. Vick did his time, paid his debt to society as adjudicated by the criminal justice system, and I believe that punitive action beyond that which was meted out by the Courts is just vigilantism run amok. I understand it and I understand the feelings behind it, but no matter what the crime is, I’m just no fan of it.
I’m no fan of Vick either, but nobody said I had to like him. Perhaps I’m idealistic, but a part of me was glad that the Eagles signed him and gave him a second chance. I was even more glad that, after the initial hoopla, Vick just put his head down and quietly started to work. It seemed like the Eagles put him on a short leash, so to speak, which was working for all parties involved. And I have to wonder, maybe Vick is a changed man. Or maybe he’s just a better liar now. None of us will ever know.
But to give him a courage award? Shouldn’t that kind of award be reserved for a player who ran into a burning building to save somebody’s grandma? Or a player who battled cancer? Or even one who came back from a torn ACL or rotator cuff or something?
Because when I think courage, I always think about violent, brutal criminals who got caught.
The Inquirer quoted Vick:
“I’ve had to overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can bear,” Vick said. “Take a look at what I’ve been through. You ask certain people to walk in my shoes, they probably couldn’t do it — probably 95 percent of the people in this world. Because nobody had to endure what I’ve been through — situations I’ve been put in, situations I’ve placed myself in, decisions that I’ve made — whether they were good or bad. There are always consequences behind certain things and there are repercussions behind them, too. Then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective or it’s a totally different outlook on you.”
Oh, it breaks my heart to think of what Vick has had to endure. Really. Remind me to get my pity party hat back from the dry cleaners in time to wear it to the awards ceremony for Mike Vick. Who can even imagine such a thing? Why, he’s superhuman to have survived what he has. Maybe they shouldn’t give him an award, but rather a cape because he’s like a f*&(*/@ super hero. Give me a break.
Memo to the Eagles: If Vick had not tortured and killed dogs, he wouldn’t have had so much to overcome.