By Keith D. King

It was April 25th, 2007 when I was in Virginia awaiting the birth of my first child. The state where the Atlanta Falcons Superstar Quarterback Michael Vick’s legend began. While watching reruns of Martin, “Breaking News, NFL Star Michael Vick’s Virginia home raided.” ran across my T.V. screen. Initially the reports were that the residence was raided due to drugs. Though Vick owned the home, he did not live there, nor was he present at the time of the warrant. However, details later surfaced point towards evidence of illegal dog fighting.

Like most, I automatically assumed that Vick wouldn’t be that negligent and risk what at the moment was one the most promising careers in football. At the time, the former #1 overall pick was a 3-time Pro Bowler, had graced the cover of the most popular sports game ever, John Madden Football (where he was known as the human cheat code), and he was just three years removed from signing a 9 year $130 million dollar deal. So of course it would be hard to envision him being involved in such a heinous, and dumb act. Above being just a quarterback, Vick was a Black quarterback and was viewed as somewhat of an cultural transcendent player, he was someone we saw make it out of the hood and into national stardom, while still being himself. Sporting freshly braided corn-rows, wearing flashy jewelry, being the face of a on a franchise whose city had become the face of hip-hop, and ultimately embracing his culture in front of the world. Then reality struck, and all of the heinous details of an illegal interstate dogfighting enterprise landed all on his shoulders as the one who financed everything, and a willing direct participant.

Vick eventually was indicted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (R.I.C.O.) Act. By summer’s end Vick had reached a plea bargain for a lesser charge, and was sentenced to 23 months in Federal Prison. During this time, support from the black community remained firm despite his shortcomings. Even after his prison sentenced was completed, Vick returned to the league and his support from his community was almost as high as if he had never missed one snap.

Fast forward to July 17th, 2017 and now the player that we saw rise to stardom, lose it all and regain it all has left many of us scratching our heads in confusion. This past week, Michael Vick appeared on an episode of “The Herd” with co-host Jason Whitlock. Vick was asked about his opinion on Colin Kaepernick and why he still is without a job in the NFL. Vick responded

“First thing we got to get Colin to do is cut his hair. I’m not up here to try and be politically correct, but even if he puts cornrows in I don’t think he should represent himself in that way, Just the hairstyle. Just go clean-cut. You know, why not? You’re already dealing with a lot. All he needs to do is just try to be presentable.”

Are you kidding me? Vick, the guy who sported his corn-rows all the way up until he went to prison for committing a crime. Vick, who eventually cut his hair off to rebrand himself and look more “presentable” to the white owners and fan base that he was trying to win back. Now he’s on national television telling a man who has done nothing but utilize his rights and speak out on injustices that he had been seeing, to cut his hair so that he could seem more “presentable”. No crimes, no STD lawsuits like Vick had in 2005, no multiple failed drug test like Vick. Just an American speaking out against social injustice.

Vick went on to say, “I just think perception and image is everything. I’m just going off my personal experiences. Listen, I love the guy to death, but I want him to also succeed on and off the field and this has to be a start for him.” Vick continued saying, “It has nothing to do with him being blackballed. The gesture that he made last year when he took the stand to do what he did, listen, we all appreciated it, we respected it, and it was a good thing. I really think the stand that he took has nothing to do with him not having a job playing in the National Football League right now. And being frank, Colin didn’t have the best two years his last two seasons. It wasn’t as productive as what we’ve seen him do.”

It seems that Michael Vick has lost sight of the times that we are living in. It seems that he thinks, that if you cut your hair, close your mouth, and be a good ‘worker’ you will be appealing to white america, which will give you a better chance of earning a living like any other normal American. As if that isn’t supposed to be a given right. For this notion, one can’t help but to feel sorry for Vick because he definitely seems to be lost. Forget the fact that Kaepernick has risked his career to use his platform and speak up for the voiceless. It seems that Mr. Vick has forgotten the culture that held him down despite any stereotypes the he may have perpetuated during his career. The fact that he thinks hair is all that this is about is pure blasphemous, irresponsible rhetoric. We should be more thankful that an athlete like Colin Kaepernick realized his power and platform, and wasn’t willing to sell-out his beliefs for validation. Mike Vick going on national T.V. and emphasizing that Colin Kaepernick’s on the field accomplishments isn’t worthy of a job, and that his hair or lack thereof would make him more presentable is asinine. Seems to me, he needs to have a listen to Jay-z’s “The Story Of Oj” and reevaluate somethings.

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