Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is having a phenomenal season, of course, but he’s still a divisive figure. Some credit him for making the most of another chance following his prison sentence, while others still can’t bring themselves to forgive Vick for the suffering he inflicted on innocent dogs. But according to information reported last night by Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Vick has at least one supporter in high places: President Barack Obama.
Obama, it seems, is squarely in the “credit Vick for making good on another chance” camp. King said last night that Obama called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and commended him for giving Vick the second chance many ex-prisoners never receive. King reiterated that report in a later tweet:
Yes, Obama called Eagle owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a chance. Said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance.
As Toni Monkovic of The New York Times‘ Fifth Down blog soon pointed out, Obama’s position would likely prove as divisive as Vick’s story. Of course, nothing can undo what Vick did to so many dogs, and the president’s stance here will make it appear to some that he’s an animal abuse apologist. Others will see it as welcome opposition to the way the U.S. prison system currently operates.
One Pro Football Talk commenter noted that Vick’s story doesn’t exactly serve as an accurate barometer for what most ex-prisoners’ post-prison lives will be like, since he has extraordinarily rare skills that helped him land his second chance. Still, if Vick can keep up what he’s doing on the field (and stay on the right side of the law, of course), perhaps he could serve as an important model of what someone can still achieve even after they’ve paid the price for enormous mistakes.
And we’ll give Obama credit for coming forward (well, to Lurie, anyway) with an opinion that may not necessarily be the most popular. We can only hope – and, thus far, have reason to believe – that Vick will continue to show why he expressed it.