I believe that people can change. Bigger than that, I believe that there is a pattern to the sequence of events in life, a pattern beyond our comprehension, but that we can change the pattern by our actions. On an everyday working level, I believe people have choices and that they can learn from their mistakes or from consciously opening up to a different or larger perspective. That is one reason why I love Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback for all you football neophytes). Here is how I see it. Vick grew up in a Southern culture in which many men in his family and many men who were his role models engaged in dogfighting, so he never questioned it, until he was arrested for it. There is no doubt that he is guilty of cruelty to animals and breaking the laws against dogfighting. So he served his time in prison. He was forced to confront the ugly underside of the culture he grew up in. He was publicly humiliated. He was exiled. And he grew and changed and learned. And he became a good man as a result.
He has said that he understands that some people will never forgive him for what he did. He has said that he is ashamed of it and truly sorry. I believe him. He has donated large sums of money to animal rights causes. He speaks out against dogfighting and cruelty to animals. He speaks to schoolchildren regularly about his experience, about dogfighting, and about the fact that people can change if they put their mind to it. He is a very different quarterback these days. He is not as cocky, although he clearly has the physical athletic skills he needs to perform at a remarkable level. He makes no assumptions. He has said that his work ethic is entirely different. And it shows. He takes nothing for granted. He works hard both on and off the field. Today, he’s back out there, having been given the clearance by the doctors to play after an injury he suffered several weeks ago. It’s the new Michael Vick. Stepping out on the field again. I have heard him say, with deep emotion, that he once thought he would never play pro ball again and that he’s deeply grateful for this second chance. I love him. Bring it on.