Archive for Michael Vick

From Vick-tim to Victory

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News with tags , on September 19, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Last December, I wrote a column titled, “Michael Vick–From Vick-tim to Vick-tory.”  The premise of that piece was that Vick made poor decisions which ultimately caused him to serve time in a federal prison.  After leaving prison, his lifestyle suggested that he had truly turned his life around.  This again involved Vick making decisions that impacted his life.  So, almost a year later, I wanted to write a piece to update my readers on this wonderful story.

Last year’s piece focused on what Vick did to cause his troubles and how his decisions (post prison) could lead to him moving beyond his troubles.

Vick had a phenomenal season for the Philadelphia Eagles last year.  In fact, he was named to the Pro Bowl (and picked as the starting quarterback for the NFC), named by Associated Press & Sporting News as the comeback player of the year, and was runner up for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the league.

Yet, there are still those who want to continue to deny Vick his right to make a living and move on with his life.  If you have that much of a problem with Vick, then just don’t watch him play football; but please let those of us who believe in redemption continue to enjoy and be a witness to this inspiring story taking place right before our very eyes.

Vick has continued to work with the Humane Society to educate people about animal cruelty.  He has continued to speak to students about making good life choices.  He seems to have truly turned his life around and is a testament to those who have made mistakes.

We all make mistakes, but through our actions, we can show that lessons have been learned through those mistakes.  That’s what maturity and wisdom are all about.

I do hope someone will do a movie about Vick’s journey.  His journey can be an inspiration to us all, no matter how big or small the mistake.  Just like one makes a decision to do something bad; that same process can make one reform one’s life to gain the victory over one’s circumstances.

Vick’s victory has been so complete that in July of this year Nike signed him to another endorsement deal.  This is unprecedented!  This is the first time a major sponsor has ever resigned an athlete they had previously dropped.

Just last month, Vick signed a 6-year, $ 100 million contract with the Eagles, with $ 40 million guaranteed.

Vick’s turnaround is nothing short of miraculous.  Though he is in bankruptcy financially, this new contract, along with the steady stream of endorsements, should allow Vick to regain his financial footing.

But, more important than the money, Vick has developed into a “MAN.”  His conversation is different, his game is different, and his life is different.  He is now the unquestioned leader of his team, his family, and his life.

He is almost like a person who has cheated death.  People like this tend to have a new take on life and those things that are most important.

Football has helped him make a living, but his past has helped him make a life.  These are truly the things that turn boys to men.

So, Mike, you are no longer a “Vick-tim,” you are a “Vick-tor.”  Because you have learned from your past, defeat has been swallowed up in VICTORY!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

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Michael Vick-From Vick-tim to Vick-tory

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Sports News with tags , on December 2, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Am I the only one who is sick and tired of the media coverage of NFL quarterback Michael Vick—post incarceration?  Last July I wrote a column titled, “Michael Is A Vick-tim.” I discussed Vick’s going to jail for nearly two years for killing a couple of dogs.

He has served his time and is now playing football again in the NFL. He has had a stellar season as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Since leaving jail earlier this year, he has done all the right things and continues to speak out against animal cruelty on behalf of the Humane Society.

So, you ask, what am I angry about?

Why is it that every time Vick is interviewed on radio, TV, or newspaper, there has to be some mention of him serving jail time for killing dogs?  ENOUGH!  Vick has served his time and owes no one anything and he should be free to live his life beyond the shadow of his past.

As I reflected on Vick’s situation, the first thought I had was that this was because Vick was Black.  But, then I thought further and realized that it wasn’t about race.

Ray Lewis, future Hall of Fame linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, was jailed on murder charges in 2000, but was later acquitted.  You rarely if ever hear this being mentioned when Lewis is interviewed.  He is also Black.

You never hear the name Monica Lewinsky when Bill Clinton is interviewed (mind you that Bill Clinton was impeached as a result of the Lewinsky affair).

You never hear about Donald Trump’s many bankruptcies when he is interviewed.

Allow me to continue.

Diana Taurasi, an all-star guard of the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, was convicted of DUI in the summer of 2009.  I have never heard this mentioned during any of their games on TV.

Marv Albert, famed NBA TV announcer, plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges (the more serious charge of rape was dropped).   He was fired from announcing the games on NBC.  But, less than 2 years later, NBC rehired him and you have not heard one word about his conviction since.

Even Tiger Woods messy divorce is no longer discussed when talking about Woods and it’s only been barely over a year since his private life exploded onto the national scene.

So, what can we conclude about all this?

Well, it seem to me that if you are a celebrity and you commit a crime or violent act against another person—no problem.  If you cheat your bankers or file for bankruptcy, no problem.  You still will be considered a financial guru by the Wall Street Journal (i.e. Donald Trump).

But, God forbid you kill or torture a few animals!  You will never be forgiven, nor allowed to move beyond your past; even if your life shows a total change.

How can a sportscaster laud Michael Vick throwing an acrobatic touchdown pass, but yet somehow find a way to mention that Vick served time in jail?

How can Vick have arguably one of the best games in football history (3 weeks ago against the Washington Redskins) and the conversation turns to him abusing animals?

Vick has paid his dues to society and no longer owes anyone anything!  His life has been the model of redemption.  That should be the only relevance of Vick’s past.

But, because Vick’s crime centered around animals, it seems like people are less willing to forgive and let go.  Ray Lewis was implicated in the murder of a human, but it seems like he had an easier time moving beyond his transgression than Vick is having.

Donte Stallworth (receiver for the Baltimore Ravens) was convicted of manslaughter.  He killed a man while driving drunk.  Yet, he is shown more forgiveness than Vick.

So, Michael, let me offer you my advice as one who works in public relations.  First, Michael, stop apologizing.  You no longer owe society anything.  Second, tell the media you will no longer talk about your past.  When you were a child, you spoke as a child, but now that you are a man, you have put those childish things behind you.  Finally, Michael, when the media insists that you answer their questions about your past, simply say my life is the only voice that I am now speaking with.

I am very proud of Michael Vick and the distance he has traveled.  I hope he will win a Super Bowl ring before his career is over.  What an exclamation point that would add to his life.  We all are one bad decision away from doing something stupid.  If Vick continues to live his life the way he has since getting out of prison, he will have transformed his life from one of being a “Vick-tim to one of “Vick-tory.”

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

 

Michael Vick To Get A Reality Show

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on October 7, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Michael Vick

By Gary A. Johnson

Michael Vick committed a crime and did his time.  He deserves the right to work and earn a living which he is doing by way of his employment with the Philadelphia Eagles football team.  Good for him.

Now comes the news that Vick and BET also known in some circles as (Blacks Embarrassing Themselves) have partnered on the production of an eight-part documentary style reality show to be aired on the BET network early next year.

Only on BET.

Ever the optimist, I am all for Michael Vick being able to work and earn a living, but I wonder about this move.  Is it too much too soon?

If produced the right way, the show could chronicle how Vick made a series of terrible decisions that negatively impacted his life.  The show could further illustrate how one man who seemingly had it all and was on top of the world as the highest paid player in his sport crashed to his lowest point.  He lost his money, he lost his fame, he tarnished his name and brought shame to his family.

There could be a series of sobering “teachable moments” that can help other people.  The documentary could help Vick rehabilitate his image and perhaps portray him as a caring father and son and not the cold blooded dog killer that led to him serving time in a federal prison.  It really could be all of these things and more.

My concern is less with Vick and more with BET.  Name the last project or television show on BET that you thought was a quality piece of work?  You know, a show that you could be proud of in the vein of “must see TV.”  You don’t typically hear “masterpiece” and BET in the same sentence.

The show is tentatively titled The Michael Vick Project will follow and document Vick in several areas of his life including his release from prison to the Philadelphia Eagles and will show him as he rebuilds his relationships with his fiancé and children.

The show will also reportedly show Vick returning to the federal prison where he served 18 months and the Virginia property on which he ran the dog fighting operation.  Vick’s company is reportedly co-producing the show.

Again, I wonder if this is too much too soon.  There is the potential to have something good come from chronicling Vick’s mistakes, if produced properly.

Everyone deserves a second chance and Michael Vick is trying to make the most of his.

Should Michael Vick concentrate on football?  Should he cash in on every available and reasonable opportunity that be believes is in his best interest?  How much faith do you have in BET to produce this project?

What do you think?

Michael Vick: Right Owner, Right Coach, Right Team, WRONG CITY!

Posted in Black Men, Guest Columnists, Sports News with tags , , , on August 20, 2009 by Gary Johnson

PhiladelphiaEaglesLogoVick Reinstated Football

By Harold Bell

August 19, 2009

Football players and real sports fans across America are wondering why would Michael Vick chose the worst sports city in America to try to re-start his NFL career.

Philadelphia is called “The City of Brotherly Love.” It is anything but a city that loves brothers!

Racial profiling among the city’s police department is on par with the LAPD and NYPD and the Prince George’ County Police Department in the state of Maryland.

Michael Vick’s first appearance in a home game in a Philadelphia Eagle football uniform will set American sports back 52 years.  Remember 1947 and Jackie Robinson?

Don’t be surprised to see a black dog instead of a black cat released on the field of play.  The number ONE played song on radio in cities that the Eagles visit will be “Who Let The Dogs Out.”

Vick and his family will need an armed escort to and from games.  The best advice his legal team could give him would be:  “Tell your family and friends to stay home and watch the games on television.”

Vick’s #7 jersey was the biggest seller in the NFL before his dog conviction.  It has sold out in Philly but don’t be surprised to see his jersey being used to start “Barn Fires” at Eagle pep rallies and tailgate parties.  Racial tensions will run high in the city during the season.

When the “Race Card in America,” is played it is clear that there are no ‘Good Sports.’

When a man serves 18 months in jail for making a “stupid” mistake and lost $113 million dollars in salary and says ‘I am sorry’ who are we to say in America You don’t deserve a second chance?” How many times must Michael Vick say I am sorry?”

Baltimore Raven LB Ray Lewis got away with murder in Atlanta and WR Donté Stallworth of the Cleveland Browns was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in June 2009 after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter charges.  Stallworth has been subsequently suspended for the 2009 season without pay.

Brendan Haywood of the NBA’s Washington Wizard’s said it best.  “When is a dog’s life worth more than a human life?”

The reason Michael Vick chose the Eagle was, the owner wanted him, the coach wanted and last but not least, the first string quarterback Donovan McNabb wanted him.

The city is another story.  Philadelphia sports fans are known nationally to be the worst in America.  Their sports history speaks for itself.  Ask the guy who played Santa Claus.  While he was being parachuted into the stadium, his arrival was met with a barraged of snowballs from every corner of the stadium.

How can Washington Redskins fans ever forget that their NFL Hall of Fame mascot Chief Zee was almost killed when he was attacked after a game in Philly in 1983?  He has not been back since and refuses to even fly over the city. Zee said, “I would not put it pass them to shoot planes down.”

It has been proven that most Philadelphia sports fans are not as smart as a “fifth grader.”

Philadelphia is the worst among major cities in America when it comes to college educated adults, less then 21% are college graduates.

They are definitely not playing with a full deck.

The Eagles were the first team in professional sports in America to have an on-site jail for rowdy and drunken fans.

Despite the first black President in the history of the country, race relations are in a sad state.  Before Barack Obama, U. S. Presidents usually received on average of 3,000 death threats a month.  Obama receives 12,000 threats monthly.  In Philadelphia there is a possibility that Vick death threats might just surpass the President’s.

The Southern Poverty Law Center which has a long history of waging legal battles on behalf of civil rights warned, “There is a rise of violent and well armed White Militias.  They are driven by the recession and hatred of Obama.”

The center concluded, “There are at least 50 new militia groups in the nation over the past two years.  They are mostly located in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and the deep south.”

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) added, “You are seeing the bubbling right now.  You are seeing people buying into what they’re saying.  It’s primed to grow.”

In the meantime, CBS News carried a lengthy report on the groups last week which concluded, “The right-wing extremists, historically motivated by a distrust of government, are now especially angry about the election of America’s first African-American President.”

Last week during one of those public forums on Health Care, a woman yelled “We must take back America.” My question, “Take it back from whom?”

Dog fighting in America is American as Apple PieMichael Vick didn’t bring dog fighting to America.  It was here when his ancestors got off the ship.  It is still a thriving business today.

Thanks to the overkill in media and its double standards, the Vick conviction opened up “Pandora’s box.”

I was watching the popular “America’s Got Talent” show on NBC television last week.  The show is one of my favorites.  The show has moved into the semi-final round.

The winner will receive one million dollars and will headline a show in Las Vegas.  What happened next really confirmed my fears that Vick is in real trouble in Philly.

The host is Nick Cannon (Mariah Carey’s husband), Judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff.

A national television audience voted the first four contestants into the semi-finals.  The last two contestants for this segment was a man and dog act against a talented brother that sang and played a mean piano.  Their fate would lie in the hands of the judges instead of the national television audience.

The man and dog’s performance was mainly the dog running through the owner’s legs chasing Frisbees.  The dog missed 7 out of 10 Frisbees thanks to his trainer.  He tossed the Frisbee as if he was drunk.  The brother’s performance was flawless.

Sharon Osbourne was asked to vote first, but she claimed she was in such a dilemma.  She begged David Hasselhoff to vote first instead and he voted for the man and dog act.

Piers Morgan could not believe his ears and he said, “If this man does not win this competition the show is a joke.” He voted for the brother and Sharon voted for the dog.  Piers sat in stunned silence and disbelief.  This was a sign of the times and a warning to Vick to watch his back in Philly.  It is definitely dogs over black men.

This whole issue of White America and dogs cannot be laid at the feet of all white folks.  There are some blacks in America that are just as dangerous.

In media there are Juan Williams, Roland Martin, Armstrong Williams, Tavis Smiley, James Brown, Eugene Robinson and the NABJ (The National Association of Black Journalist).

In the case of Michael Vick, these brothers and sisters are sounding more like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan and last but definitely least “Mr. Pitiful” himself, Michael Steele.  He is Chairman of the Republican Party (Designated go-fer).

For example; there was an e-mail exchange between Jamie Zalac who is the media liaison for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Barbara Ciara, a black television reporter on WTKR News Channel TV3 in Norfolk Virginia.  Ms. Ciara carries the titles, President of the National Association of Black Journalist and Vice-President of Unity Journalist of Color.

In the exchange Ms. Zalac thanks Ms. Ciara for contacting her about the despicable acts of Michael Vick as it relates to dogs in America and asking for a statement from the group.

Ms. Zalac tells her new friend that PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles chose to sign a man who hung dogs from a tree!  I wonder who took the world wide poll, Rush Limbaugh?

Where were Ms. Zalac and PETA and her parents when black men and women were being hung from trees all over America from one decade to another?  Where was she when law-enforcement blew up a whole city block in Philadelphia killing innocent women and children while looking for a cop killer?  Where was she when the city bulldozed an entire city block to destroy any evidence to hide this despicable act?

Where was she when white cops in New York City were frequently using black men as target practice?  Where were Ms. Zalac and Ms. Ciara when a young black man named Ronnie White was denied his right to a judge and jury here in Prince George’s County, Maryland last year?  He was accused in the hit and run death of a police officer.  He was found in his jail cell dead of a broken neck.  No one has been brought to justice and the cover-up continues.

This hideous act took place in the shadows of the Nation’s Capitol and PETA Headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.  There was no outcry from PETA or the NABJ!

Then there is the cheerleading e-mail from Bob Butler a reporter at KCBS Radio in San Francisco.  His credentials read, Vice-President of Broadcast for the NABJ, President, Bay Area Black Journalist.

Mr. Butler’s e-mail read “You go Barbara.” I had to go back track and double check the e-mails to make sure I had not missed any earth shattering developments that Ms. Ciara had uncovered, like a formula for preventing teenage pregnancy among black girls in our community or breaking news of the first black owner of a NFL team!  No such luck.

Mr. Butler thought congratulations were in order because on Aug 13, 2009, at 7:42 PM, Ciara, Barbara wrote:

NABJ Family,

“At this hour, PETA (homebased in Norfolk) has not issued a statement regarding the signing of Michael Vick. However, I would like to note that I along with NABJ member Jummy Olabanji broke the story of Vick’s contract with Philly at 7:25 on WTKR Newchannel 3 a full hour and five minutes before anyone else.  We got it first– and we got it right.”

Ms. Ciara, I will be sure to nominate you and your station for the next Emmy Award.

You really must have some slow news days in Norfolk.  When I was an on air personality I broke community and sports stories days before the Washington Post.  It got so bad George Solomon the sports editor assigned his reporters to tune into my show “Inside Sports” for breaking news.

This dog charade took a turn for the worst when CBS Sports and NFL Host James Brown sat down last Sunday with Michael Vick on “60 Minutes.” If you missed the Vick interview with James Brown you can watch it here.


Last Sunday was also a bad day for Tiger Woods and Michael Vick fans on CBS (I am sure the ratings went through the roof).

For the first time in his professional golf career Tiger Woods lost a tournament going into the final round leading the field.  The number one golfer in the world lost to Y. E. Yang ranked 155.

Since the death of Ed Bradley60 Minutes” has yet to find another black man capable of filling the void left by Bradley.  He was in my opinion “The Black Walter Cronkite” of television news.

Ed, like Mr. Cronkite had an air of honesty and integrity, something rarely found in the news media today.  You could carry what they said to the bank.

James Brown was like a bump on a log during his one-on-one interview with Michael Vick. He sat there like he had no idea what it was like to be black in America.  The whole interview was well rehearsed.  Former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who was assigned by the league to be Vick’s mentor was the only believable voice during that entire segment.

The “race card” never came up during the entire interview.  It was like it never existed.  It was obvious they were told not to mention race as being a factor for all the hate being shown toward this young man.

What was the purpose of showing Vicks’s legal team (Billy Martin, et al) without them uttering one word?

The bottom line is this: Instead of Michael Vick being a spokesperson for PETA he should be going around visiting schools, playgrounds and youth facilities in our cities talking to black youth.

We have issues to deal with such as black-on-black murder and a high drop out rate.  Over half of minority students in America are dropping out of school.  The youth facilities and prisons are busting at the seams with minorities.  Black youth are “fouling out” of the game of life at record rates.

Here’s my advice to Michael Vick.  Save a child’s life and let PETA and the National Association of Black Journalist save the dogs.

Harold Bell Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television. Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular and the rest as they say is history.

Michael Is A “Vick-tim”

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News with tags , , on July 30, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Michael Vick

By Raynard Jackson

Michael Vick has become the “Vick-tim” of his own choices and at the same time a victim of America’s hypocrisy.

Vick (the Vick-tim) put himself in the position where he had to do time in prison.  He was always made to feel above the law from his days at Virginia Tech.  This led to his arrogance to the point where he felt he did not have to listen to anyone.

But at the same time, Vick has become the victim of our hypocrisy.  Putting aside all legal considerations, I am appalled at how people are outraged that he killed a few dogs.  But these same people don’t lift a voice at all the teenagers who have been killed in Chicago this year alone!

Even those who feel Vick has served his time feel compelled to preface their statements with, “I love dogs or what Vick did was wrong.”  I am tired of everyone trying to be politically correct (PC).

Let me make my point CLEAR, I don’t give a damn about these dogs!  What does this say about our country that we get more upset over dogs than we do over human life?

Roger Goodell has conditionally reinstated Vick to the N.F.L. (with all kinds of stipulations), but it seems like everyone is piling on.  Vick served nearly two years in jail, lost multiple millions of dollars in endorsement deals, and filed for bankruptcy.  How much more should one person have to pay back to society?

Now, juxtapose that with Dante Stallworth, a receiver with the Cleveland Browns.  Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to DUI and second degree manslaughter.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail (only served 24 because of good behavior), 1,000 hours of community service, 8 years of probation, 2 years of house arrest, and life-time suspension of his driver’s license.  And he killed a human!

There were no protests in the street, no picketing of N.F.L. headquarters, or no boycotting of advertisers.  So, do you honestly think a damn dog is more valuable than a human life?

Stallworth has been indefinitely suspended from football, but probably will be allowed to play after one year if he stays clear of further legal issues.

Again, Vick put himself in the position he is in and has no one to blame but himself.  But, he has become the poster child and a convenient target for America’s hypocrisy.  Even the murder of the couple in Florida who adopted all the handicapped kids, didn’t cause the level of outrage as Vick killing a few dogs.

Vick has suffered enough and deserves a second chance.  Whether you agree with his actions are not, he has paid his debt to society and should not be required to work with the Humane Society or any other group unless he chooses to.  He is doing all these things strictly to get back into football.  Martha Stewart is back on TV (insider trading), Oliver North (lying to Congress about Iran Contra) is back on the radio, and Marv Albert (rape) is back in broadcasting.  You never hear any mention of their crimes anymore.  They have been allowed to get back into their professional fields and make lots of money without the public being constantly reminded of their past transgressions.  I think Vick deserves the same treatment.

My whole point is proportionality and fairness.  Again, legal considerations aside, how do you justify putting Vick through all the BS he is going through over a few dogs?  The justice view is that Vick put himself in this situation; the fairness view is that he is a victim of America’s hypocrisy!

RaynardJackson Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

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