Dave Gibson, Norfolk Examiner, July 1, 2009
After leaving the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, KA, Michael Vick started a construction job paying $10 an hour, fulfilling the work requirement of his release. Apparently, that introduction to hard work was too much for the former NFL quarterback, as he began working at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula, this week.
Amazingly, the same man who was convicted of torturing and brutally killing dozens of dogs is spending the summer working with children!
Boys and Girls Club CEO Steven S. Kast told reporters: “Because we think there is an opportunity for our children to learn lessons from his experiences, we have chosen to support Michael in his efforts to make amends. To this end, he will be working with children in some of our Clubs on health and fitness activities in the coming weeks.”
Despite the fact that Vick is a convicted felon, and displayed an incredibly brutal and callous nature, the club’s more than 5,000 children will now have contact with this man who is still under house arrest.
Kast said of Vick: “We were disappointed by some of his recent actions and decisions, but believe he has learned from these experiences and is now conscious of his obligations and responsibilities as a prominent sports figure that impacts and influences our kids.”
Reporter’s note: When I was in my early 20’s, I worked as a volunteer coach for an inner city football team. In order to do this, I had to undergo a background investigation, the first thing I was asked by the club’s director was whether or not I had any felony or misdemeanor convictions. Any such conviction would have been an automatic disqualification.
People with felony convictions must ordinarily have a job as a condition of their early release, as well as their parole. Felons are very limited in the jobs they can do and most often consist of manual labor. Any job where daily exposure to children is part of the felon’s duties, would simply never happen for most convicts.
Of course, Vick is not most convicts.
Obviously, Vick is receiving preferential treatment because of his celebrity status. However, that is not the most outrageous aspect to this story.
Michael Vick is idolized by poor, young black boys (which is primarily with whom Vick will be working), who see a trip to the NFL or the NBA as their only way out of poverty. Unfortunately, all too many of those same kids see a prison sentence as a badge of honor. For them, Vick’s lawless actions may only serve as further encouragement down a road which leads then to prison.
Vick knows that much of the public hates him for what he has done, as the mountain of evidence against him showed him to be a monster. The image of him tossing a football to smiling kids could help change folks’ opinion . . . Or at least that’s what Team Vick hopes.
Would you want your child spending the summer with someone who spent years torturing and drowning dogs?