Thursday, May 21, 2009
You knew that the story was coming out one way or another, and today we all learned where. Tony Dungy's talk with Mike Vick, during his last days in prison, will be presented as an article in this week's SI. In fact, it's already online and here's a brief snippet....
Then I went to see Michael. As I sat down with him at the table in the visitors' room, he looked just like many of the young men I have talked with in other prisons. I couldn't get over how young he still looked. I hadn't seen him in person since 2005, but his face looked the same. The Falcons' number 7 jersey, though, had been replaced by a tan jumpsuit with his inmate number on it. We talked for about two hours, and my message was the same one I've given hundreds of other inmates I've visited. "What you learn in life is the same thing you learn in football," I told Michael, who was scheduled to be released from prison this Wednesday to serve the final two months of his 23-month sentence in home confinement. "You have losses, and you have to rebound from them. The key thing is, How do you bounce back from a defeat?"That's really just the surface of the article, as it delves into how Dungy helps a lot of inmates, so you should definitely check out the rest. I've noticed over the past few days that rarely has anything bad been said about Vick, and I'm beginning to understand why. It's human nature to want to forgive and forget, and that's what the media seems to already be doing with Vick. Either that, or they want to be the first to score an interview (*ahem* ESPN!).
In the two hours we spent together, Michael and I learned a lot about each other, and we made a commitment to stay in touch after he is released. When I left the prison, I found myself thinking: What if Michael, who says his father was not a positive influence on his household when he grew up, had had the same family support system that Josh [Freeman] had? Would he have ended up in this situation? I really don't think so.
Guidance With A Fatherly Touch (SI)