These days when Michael Vick sits down to talk about his life over the past few years, he’s looking back at a series of extremes — from star quarterback, to reviled dogfighter, to comeback kid — and now, mentor.
That last role is brand new for him. By his own admission, Vick had no interest in mentoring before, but he now spends much of his free time working with the Humane Society of the United States and talking to students about the ills of dogfighting. It is hard for some to comprehend that this once dogfighter is now trying to make a difference in the lives of kids.
“I do it because I want to,” he said in an interview with theGrio’s Mara Schiavocampo. “I think if I can help five or six kids daily, then I’m playing my position as a positive role model in our society. It doesn’t hurt to do it and it’s fairly easy. I tell a lot of people that it’s easy to do the wrong thing. It’s hard to do the right thing.”
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The Eagles quarterback discussed his slow, but steady road to redemption, and he spoke about why he disregards negative comments from cynics who say he’s only mentoring because the courts are making him or to rehabilitate his damaged image.
“Well first off, the court doesn’t make it an obligation for me to go out and speak,” Vick said. “It doesn’t make it an obligation for me to work with the Humane Society. I’m putting in the hard work to do it so it’s not for any personal benefit, it’s to help others.”
Vick has often expressed his love of all animals — not just dogs, and hopes that the court-ordered rule that prevents him owning a dog will one day change.
“I would love to get another dog in the future,” he told theGrio. “I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals.”
It is safe to say that Vick once found himself making all the wrong decisions when it came to the care of the dogs. But he claims outside influences enabled his dogfighting hobbies years ago.
“I hate to use our culture as an excuse, but it is what it is and that’s what happened and that’s the way I thought about it growing up,” the quarterback said. “This is just the way we were brought up.”
The Eagles player says he has changed his outlook on many things after his prison stint, telling the students he mentors, “without going to prison I would have never changed as an individual and as a person. And coming out of prison I was a totally different person.”