Michael Vick, Roger Goodell And Ghetto Loyalty

It is almost time for the beginning of training camp and the summer lull is about to end. With that it is almost time for Roger Goodell to get off Mount Rainer and get back to work.There have been plenty of pundits who have pleaded to the commissioner not to reinstate Michael Vick. Their reasoning typically being that Michael is a hardened criminal and mediocre quarterback who was the darling of the NFL. They give his lying to the commissioner about his activities as reason for a life-long ban.

Let’s review the environment which led to Michael’s involvement in criminal activity. Michael was the second of four children to Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie. His parents were teenagers when Michael was born, and they lived in public housing in Newport News, Virginia. As a 10 year old, Michael would often go fishing or on long walks to escape the drugs, violence and drive-by shootings of his neighborhood.

Fast forward to 2001. After finishing third in the Heisman voting, Michael leaves Virginia Tech for the NFL and is the first player taken in the NFL draft by the Falcons. Upon arriving in Atlanta he is intercepted by civil rights activist Andrew Young, who was formerly the mayor of Atlanta and a United Nations ambassador. He advises Michael to become involved in the Atlanta community and shed the “ghetto loyalty” of Newport News.

Unfortunately, Michael did not heed Mr. Young’s advice. He continued his association with his homeboys . In 2004, two “friends” are caught driving one of Michael’s truck and are arrested for possession of marijuana. In 2005, Michael is accused of giving a woman genital herpes and using a false identity “Ron Mexico.” Finally, in 2006, Michael is fined $10,000 for an obscene gesture at Saints fans.

Michael’s involvement in Bad Newz Kennels is well documented. This ultimately blunder lead to his 23-month incarceration in Leavenworth, suspension from the NFL and personnel bankruptcy. Has Michael Vick suffered enough? Has he paid back his debt to society for his illegal and cruel activities? Has he truly changed?

Does he deserve a second chance in a country known for second chances?

Ultimately, the decision rests with Mr. Goodell, but the lesson to be learned from this is more about ghetto loyalty and its impact on young athletes and performers. Is Michael Vick truly just a bad seed, or rather a byproduct of his environment? Regardless, would the Kansas City Chiefs ever take a chance on him? Will any team? Will Goodell even allow that to happen/ Just look at the cost of Vick’s associations, even after he’s lost everything he may not even be given a chance to get any of it back. He might even have to go to the UFL. All because of ghetto loyalty.

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