I’m watching the Philadelphia Eagles play the Atlanta Falcons right now. This is the first time Michael Vick has played in Atlanta since he went to prison. The Eagles were there before but he was a backup then. There are a few people in #7 Atlanta Falcon jerseys. I figured there would be. Other than the fact he’s playing the Falcons I don’t care if Michael Vick wins this game. This post isn’t really about him. This post is about how we as a community look at redemption.
There’s no doubt that Mike Vick is a polarizing figure. There are some people that are going to always love him and others that will always hate him. Either way he does represent something that Michael Irvin mentioned on the NFL Network this morning. Michael Irvin was talking about how the African American community is built in a spiritual place that embraces the idea of redemption and how a lot of people in our community have latched on to Mike Vick because he represents that.
Michael Irvin was right. The black community loves stories of redemption. It goes along with our journey in this country. We love to see it when someone beats the odds. There are a lot of people in my city who have had some serious obstacles to overcome. There is nothing that brightens my day more than running into someone who I know was on the edge of losing it all and came back. Usually the person doesn’t come back to start for an NFL team like Michael Vick. We are just happy to see some of our people getting up in the morning to go to work at a regular job. That alone is enough to make you cry sometimes.
The only negative aspect we have in our praise of redemption is that we don’t spend enough time trying to prevent one another from getting into places that we have to fight so hard to get out of. Sometimes I think we focus too much on the end of the story and not trying to prevent the beginning and the middle. Many of the things we have to redeem ourselves from are a product of bad choices and avoidable circumstances. As much as I get inspired when someone beats the odds and finds their way back to the world I am equally depressed when they fall.
I don’t want to downplay what anyone has done to better themselves and change the course of their life. I just want more focus on how we can make sure as many people as possible succeed without having to go through anything. I would much rather have my friends going through life without criminal records and failed drug test trying to make things happen then always having to try and make something out of nothing.
Everybody’s not Mike Vick coming home to the Eagles or Lil Wayne getting out of prison to make records. Those guys were in prison with hundreds of brothers who have to start from scratch if they ever get out at all. The best thing we could do for them is keep them out of trouble to begin with. Not having as much drama in our lives may make our testimony a lot less exciting but our lives may be better for it.