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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

MVP: Most Valuable Prisoner

Does it bother anyone that President Obama has chosen Michael Vick as his mascot for opening a national discussion on prisoner rehabilitation and reentry? It sure as hell bothers me. I know that Obama has spoken in the past of better social, educational, and vocational support for criminals who have served their sentences. He has encouraged businesses to hire ex-criminals as well, so his phone call to Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to congratulate him on giving Vick a second chance is not counter to his previously stated beliefs. However, lauding Michael Vick as a model of redemption and rehabilitation is just a joke.

President Obama reportedly said that "it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail." He, therefore, wanted to praise the Eagles for giving Vick the second chance that many ex-cons don't get. I wonder why so many former criminals don't get the same kind of second chance that Michael Vick got? Could it possibly be that they aren't skilled quarterbacks who could potentially rake in millions of dollars for a team and its owner? Could it be that they don't have the name recognition, be it good or bad, that Michael Vick has that will draw fans to his games? Could it be that people are much more likely to give someone a second (or even a third or fourth) chance when he or she has money than when the person is poor?

If President Obama really wanted to single out someone as an example of rehabilitation, could he not have chosen someone who perhaps went back to school or learned a trade and can now make a decent but honest living? Could he not have highlighted a typical employer who took a chance on hiring an ex-convict and found himself with a dependable and skilled new employee? Why did he have to fall into the celebrity and pro-sports figure worship trap that blinds so many people to the real lives of the real people all around them?

Michael Vick's crimes were despicable. He got another chance because he's famous. I hope for his sake, for the sake of everyone who now is holding him up as the shining example of prison rehabilitation, but especially for the sake of all the ex-cons who now will be judged by his behavior, that he lives up to the hype.


  1. You have to keep remembering who we are talking about girl. I have never considered myself racially biased but I honestly think his election was a dark day for this country. Vick deserved far worse punishment than he actually received. He should have been made an example to let others know treating animals like that is unacceptable.

  2. Odie: Don't know if I agree with you about the election, but I'm definitely disappointed with his judgment on this one. And I agree, for sure, that Vick should have gotten WAY more punishment than he did. That he's STILL blaming his "culture" for his actions is despicable. Whether or not he grew up with dog fighting as acceptable in his culture, he had to know it was illegal, and he certainly didn't need the money.

  3. I have no use for anyone who would hurt an animal for their own pleasure.
    The President was wrong on elevating him to be admired.
    He couldn't have picked a worst person.
    I see no lesson learned by Vick.
    Who else gets their job back after serving time in the pen? Not Joe The Plumber!
    Hope he rots in Hell!

  4. Let me just say as a person growing up in the same "culture" as Michael Vick that I have never nor would I ever participate in dog fighting. That's a cop out. Just because he saw it happening doesn't mean he didn't know it was wrong. Nobody ever wants to take responsibility for his own actions. I was appalled by how easily he was able to walk right back into a multi-million dollar job when others are being turned down for work at McDonald's.

    In regards to the President, he screwed up. We can only hope that he will at least learn from this, which btw, I agree was a mistake. I think he may have thought that since Vick is recognized by almost everyone and certainly criminals, ex-cons could look at him and say, "Okay, someone I 'know' is making it on the outside." I don't know. Did anyone ask him why he chose Vick?

    @Odie- I have to ask who do you mean when you say, "You have to keep remembering who we are talking about"?


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