Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects one person who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this blog. In life, we all make mistakes and we will always make mistakes as long as we live. When we make mistakes, we have to learn from them and recover from those mistakes better than ever. Michael Vick, the former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons and current quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, has learned from his mistakes and has a truly powerful comeback success story. Michael Vick went to prison and served his time for dog fighting. Since he has been released from prison for dog fighting, he has worked with animal rights groups and has educated young children about the importance of treating animals properly, drawing from the lessons of his own experiences. Michael Vick has not allowed his past mistakes to keep him from being a successful quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).
Although the NFL will probably award the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award to Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, because he has a better team record, what Michael Vick has been able to accomplish is certainly more impressive than what Brady has done. Michael Vick is the most exciting player in the league and makes people, even those who are not Eagles fans, want to see him play. For those who questioned whether Michael Vick could ever be a good pocket-passer, he has surpassed those expectations. Vick is making all of his haters look stupid.
For those who refuse to give Michael Vick a chance to redeem himself, I find people like you to be simply ignorant. What if people never gave you a chance to redeem yourself after the many mistakes you have made? I bet you would be very unhappy about that.
I am tremendously proud of what Michael Vick has been able to accomplish this year. He has had to combat great criticism and pressures, but this negativity has not stopped Vick from being the most electrifying player in the NFL. Vick serves an example for all people who have made serious mistakes that you can come back better than ever from those mistakes if you would only give yourself the chance. Some people want Vick to crawl into a hole and never come back, but I’m glad that he has enough inner strength to not succumb to their hateful desires.
Although I have forgiven the Atlanta Falcons and Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, for how unjustly they treated Michael Vick, I refuse to ever support the Falcons. I know that being from Georgia I should support the Falcons but I cannot bring myself to support an organization that exploited a man like Vick when the going got tough. The organization simply threw him under the bus. I cheer against the Falcons in every game that they play. I do this in honor of Michael Vick. I was so happy to see the Falcons lose at home against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. I know Vick had to smile wherever he was when the Falcons lost to the Saints (#WhoDat).
It is my pleasure to name Michael Vick The Revolutionary Paideia December 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia encourages Vick to continue to achieve at the highest level even in the face of great hate.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Roger Goodell, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner, reigns as a dictator in the NFL. The NFL needs a more democratic system of governance. What’s ironic about this situation is this anti-democratic system of governance is situated in America—the greatest democracy and beacon of hope and freedom in the world. He has all of the power to control virtually everything that happens. Although I really have not been too happy with him since how he handled the Michael Vick situation, he has went too far with his ruling on how players may hit one another during a game. I have noticed that it has made some players more timid players because they fear getting fined and suspended. Football is a tough game to play, one that will involve violent hits—that’s just the game it is. When you start limiting the natural violent hits that will occur in football, you start changing the outcomes of games and start moving it more towards flag football.
When a player suits up to play in the NFL, he knows that he is going to get hit hard—it just comes with the territory. It seems that Roger Goodell is at war with James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since James Harrison has been outspoken against him, it seems that Goodell is trying to show him that he’d better not challenge him. James Harrison has even met with Goodell to learn what is acceptable hitting in his view, but Harrison has still been fine for a hit since that meeting. I very much appreciate Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers for being willing to unapologetically and publicly challenge Roger Goodell. Troy Polamalu has publicly advocated for a more democratic system of governance in the NFL.
NFL fans should also voice their opinions to Roger Goodell because he is making significant changes that can dramatically damage the game that we all have come to love for years. As Kanye West says, “There’s no way one man should have all that power.” If we allow him to continue to have all of the power he has, I think that many of our great players will begin to retire, as James Harrison seriously considered. Of course, I don’t want players to intentionally attempt to use their helmets as weapons on the field, and we know when this is the case, but this does not mean that we have to fine and/or suspend a player each time there is helmet to helmet contact.
I contend that we need to move away from allowing Goodell to have all of the power to a system where he shares power with a committee of former players and coaches, which will make the governance of the NFL more democratic. Although I think that NFL players must rise up and unite behind a demand for a more democratic system of governance in the NFL, I think that the real key to making this change happen lies with us, the fans. When the fans unite and tell Roger Goodell that we have had enough of his dictatorship, he will be forced to make serious changes to the way he operates. NFL fans and players unite!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Player poll: 61 percent disapprove of Goodell (espn.go.com)
- Steelers LB James Harrison Wowed By Roger Goodell 2011 Earnings (steelersdepot.com)
- Roger Goodell’s Salary Was Reportedly Nearly $30 Million in 2011 (bleacherreport.com)