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Michael Vick

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Michael Vick

Michael Vick was born on June 26, 1980 in the city of Newport News, Virginia. Vick’s parents Michael Boddie and Caletha Vick and Vick’s siblings Christina, Courtney and Marcus grew up together in the hostile environment that Newport News was known for. Newport News is infamous for it’s gangs and drug activity. It is nicknamed “NewportNam”. This is a reference to Vietnam in order to show the hostile and dangerous environment that Vick grew up in. This would impact Vick in a negative way in his future. Vick’s journey to prison would start at a young age. Michael Vick saw his first dog fight at the age of 8. Dog fighting was a part of the culture of the neighborhood. In his biography, “Finally Free”, Vick says that “When [he] was young, [he] witnessed dogfighting so much that [he] didn’t think it was wrong” (102). Growing up in this kind of environment would lead to Vick’s imprisonment. He also states that while he knew that people got in trouble for dogfighting, he never knew that people could be arrested for it. Another factor that caused Vick’s imprisonment was the absence of his father. Vick’s father, Michael Boddie, worked at a local shipyard as a sandblaster. Boddie also struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. This resulted in Vick growing up with no one to teach him right from wrong. This also resulted in no one being able to guide him through the tough times of living in Newport News. In accordance, in the book “Role Models”, the author writes that “Mentors, a subset of role models, deliberately support, guide, and shape younger or less experienced individuals as they weather difficult periods, enter new arenas, or undertake challenging tasks.” This was exactly what Michael Vick did not have growing up as a child. Also, according to the book “Fatherhood”, the author Judith Roof states that “Fathers often share child-care responsibilities, bonding with their children as caretakers and contributing members of the family unit.” Without this form of care and love from a father, Vick has looked to other things. Lastly, in the book “Teen Fathers”, the author Gail B. Stewart writes “For now, Jamie says, he’s going to work hard and spend as much time as he can with his daughter” (58). Jamie, in this quote is a teenage father who says that he wants to spend time with his daughter. If Michael Boddie had the desire to care and spend time with his family, Michael Vick’s future may have played out differently. The four things that kept Vick from going astray while living in Newport News, were his mother, grandmother, football, and the Boys and Girls Club. In his biography, Vick calls his mother, Brenda Vick the “rock of the family”. Because of the long term absence of his father, and also because of the low paying job that he worked, Brenda Vick worked two jobs in order to support the family. Vick’s second greatest influence was his grandmother Caletha Vick, who passed away of a stroke. Caletha Vick played a crucial role in Michael’s early life because she was the one to show him love and care. In the news article “Family adjusts to unfortunate situation”, the author Lance Mihm writes that “Karen, the grandmother of 15, now finds herself supporting three of those grandchildren that came to live with her seven years ago…Despite their situation, the children seem to be happy as any other child in a loving home.” This article goes in depth about a grandmother, Karen, who takes care of 15 grandchildren due to issues with the parents. The author writes that the children were happy to live with their grandmother. This relates to Vick and his childhood growing up with his grandmother. The last two influences were football and the Boys and Girls Club. Going to football practice and football games kept Vick busy and away from the dangers of Newport News. The Boys and Girls Club also provided a place for Vick to grow up in a safe environment. Vick started playing football at the age of 7 and was introduced to it by his grandmother. Vick would go on to play high school football for Ferguson high school, and would later on transfer to Warwick high school. His success on the field drew attention from many elite colleges, including Clemson, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, East Carolina, and Virginia Tech. Vick would decide on playing college football for Virginia Tech mostly because he wanted to stay in a close distance with his family. Vick had great success while playing for Virginia Tech. He was voted third for the Heisman Trophy. After leading the Virginia Tech Hokies to the national championship in his sophomore season, Vick entered the 2001 NFL Draft. He would be drafted 1st overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Michael Vick would be the first African American to be drafted first overall in NFL history. Vick’s first few seasons with the Atlanta Falcons were triumphant as Vick added another dimension to the team. Success on the field led to making endorsement deals with Nike, Coca Cola, and Air Tran. Up until now, Vick’s future seemed bright. However all of Vick’s success was lost when it was discovered on April 25, 2007, that Vick had been running a dog fighting operation in his house in West Virginia. The operation was called “Bad Newz Kennels” and held over 50 pit bull dogs, of which some were killed and tortured. In the news article “Cruel and Unusual; A dogfighting scandal dogs an NFL star”, the author Steve Tuttle writes “Though dogfighting is a felony in all but two states (Idaho and Wyoming), at least 40,000 Americans are actively involved in the industry, not including spectators, according to Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.” Vick, being one of the 40,000 Americans that engage in dog fighting, was sentenced to 23 months in prison for illegal dog fighting. There are many reasons that could have motivated Vick to make these decisions, but the most valid is how he grew up with dog fighting. In the article “Pitbulls”, the author writes “Mary and her son Dipper live in a trailer a few miles from their bible-belt, war-loving, dog-fighting neighbors.” This reveals that dog fighting is very much prevalent in neighborhoods that are filled with poverty, and that there are other children, such as Dipper, who has witnessed dog fighting at a young age. However, Michael Vick has not accepted that that is who he truly is. After his release from prison on October 2009, Vick had to regain the trust of his fans, peers, and the NFL. After investigating Vick, the NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell reinstated Vick to the NFL. After being reinstated, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite the criticism received from the public, Roger Goodell and Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles head coach believed that Vick would make good use of his second chance. The 2010 and 2011 season was the year Michael Vick would make his redemption. As a starter for the Eagles, Vick passed for 3018 yards, 21 passing touchdowns, and rushed for 9 touchdowns. After proving himself on the field, Vick became a speaker for the Humane Society. His goal was to inform children who are also growing up in neighborhoods where dog fights happen, about the dangers of it. He speaks of his personal experience, especially his time in prison to awaken the kids. Michael Vick is currently 32 years old and plays football for the New York Jets. Although he still has a lot to prove, Vick has shown his true character. What defines a person is not the actions of the past, but the present actions that shadow the past. Vick has made a comeback that most thought was not possible.…...

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