From Prison To Redemption, We’re Nothing Without Our Tribe

In an era of convergence, the power of sports culture can propel individuals from life’s lows to personal highs. Like Brian Banks, leaving the prison system and being reintroduced to society, comes with its own set of issues. 

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It takes a tribe. Your family, significant other, and friends are the community that receives you. Mike Vick’s dogfighting case is a prime example of what a successful LIFE comeback looks like. 

After serving federal time and losing hella earnings, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. Who knows if it wasn’t for a terrible Kevin Kolb at the QB helm that Vick would wind up wearing Kelly green.

The birds saw a need and immediately filled it.  But his wife’s unconditional love kept him in the game of life. 

“I watched him develop from a little boy to a grown man,” Kijafa Vick said in an interview with NBC Philly 10

“I like Mike ’cause he’s humble. He’s really, really down to earth. You wouldn’t think that somebody of his stature would be just like a regular guy. He’s so chill. He’s not cocky. He’s not what a lot of people think that he is. I think the media portrays him to be a monster…a mean person. He’s not like that. He’s a gentle giant.” 

Self-induced, or not, Vick’s rehab wasn’t without its bumps. Who can forget him wanting to own a dog again after Philly just got over accepting him? 

“I would love to get another dog in the future,” he told theGrio in 2010. “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.”

But you’d be lying to say throughout his time/tenure with the Eagles that came out on the better side. Completely reformed and a better version of himself. 

Maurice Clarett was an offensive force for the Ohio State’s Buckeye’s 2002 Championship run. The Youngstown native’s put the team on his back with the rock in his hand. Unfortunately, this would be the highlight of his professional career. 

Riding the momentum of his BCS win and bucking the NFL system, Clarett tried to leverage his potential as a high draft pick to head to the league early. That didn’t pan out and he was out of competitive football for a little over two years. After a brief tenure with the Denver Broncos in 2005, life began to tailspin for Clarett. 

The first half of 2006 wasn’t a great time to be Clarett. A laundry list of charges and fees stemming from a connection to a robbery sent him on a downward spiral. 

His infamous highway run-in with the police, complete with loaded guns, put Clarett in the system for 3.5 years, and by his account, it was the 180 pivot that his life needed. 

With a support system of his then-girlfriend and former players, he got his s**t together. He became an advocate of mental health and focused on the business of sports.

His perspective has paid him dividends, literally and figuratively. With a thriving sports business podcast and speaking engagements, Clarett’s story went from a cautionary tale to one of inspiration. 

You gotta salute that. But just make sure you salute the people that never forgot about the members of their tribe.

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