Redemption is a subject that Michael Vick is intimately aware of. Indeed, it is a concept that many of us feel is every person’s right. After all, salvation is a pillar of the western world’s concept of spirituality. A psychological hedge bet against the occasional “ain’t sh*t” propensity of every man, woman and child on the face of the Earth. Once upon a time, Vick allowed himself to get involved in dogfighting, a heinous crime, to be certain.
His felony conviction for dogfighting caused Vick to miss two prime years of his NFL career due to a prison sentence, and the loss of subsequent monetary rewards that would have resulted in the stellar performances he was certain to have put up if he was eligible to play.
The eyes of American justice are forever tainted by colorism and misogyny, which means that the scales of justice, and the weight of redemption, often don’t amount to the same sum.
Within the current air of confusion, candor and karma it sometimes is difficult to discern the right way to go. Many philosophers throughout time eternal have posited that justice is the true north of the civilized man. But getting to that point is a journey through personal hell and darkness.
Within the current sphere of tumult, we see an ostensible madman who embodies all of the worst aspects of his demographic, while possessing the tact of a man of much lesser standing than that which the Orange One claims.
As a convicted felon, Michael Vick was once struck with two awful realizations when he tried to vote in Florida in 2011; the first is that he didn’t pay close enough attention to civics in school, the second was that he was not allowed to vote because he was a convicted felon.
“I found out because I had a felony on my record that I couldn’t vote,” Vick recalled in the first episode of the documentary miniseries by More Than a Vote, a political empowerment organization led by LeBron James. “That was just one of the things I did not know was taken away from me once I was incarcerated and got a felony on my record.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there are approximately three quarters of a million people who cannot vote in the state of Florida due to unpaid fines and fees.
“It’s not an easy process to have your voting rights restored or retained,” Vick says. “You just have to take the initiative and be proactive.”
Though Michael Vick’s personal redemption has long been an afterthought, his societal redemption will forever be in the eye of the beholder. However, not even his most ardent critics can front on results.
Vick’s mission to help others began when he linked with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and director Desmond Meade, who helped pass Amendment 4, which restores the voting rights of most people with felony convictions in the state, with the exception of those convicted of murder and a felony sexual offense.
Though we’re all marching headlong into our own sunset of destiny, d’evils seldom go quietly into the night.
Not long after Amendment 4 was passed, the Florida Legislature passed a measure that required the payment of outstanding fines, which in theory and practices amounts to a poll tax, something that’s supposed to be illegal.
In addition to the Players Coalition, Vick joins former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who recently gave $16 million to help the FRRC attain $25 million — its mark to pay fines of ex-felons by Florida’s October 5th deadline to vote in November.