Another Story of Michael Vick’s Comeback

Posted by Zach Maurin on August 20, 2009

I have been following Michael Vick’s comeback into the NFL a bit and began to think about one aspect of it after reading Rich Harwood’s blog post about how and if to forgive him.

So far there seem to be two dominant stories: the reaction of the animal community and his return to football.  However, there is one additional storyline that is critical to keep an eye on: the impact of a mentor.

In this case it’s Tony Dungy — a successful coach and one of the most thoughtful people in all of sports who works with inmates and youth.  His role is getting some attention, but largely because of who he is; it’s doubtful Vick’s mentor would have been on the 60 Minutes segment had he not been famous.

While Vick should do everything and more that the Humane Society and animal groups ask of him, he should also promote mentoring and the different organizations who facilitate that around the country.  If he successfully grows from this experience as a person (not just a football player), the role of mentors will have certainly played a big part.  He will understand and appreciate them compared to the time when he lacked such guidance as a youngster who was first exposed to dog fighting at the age of eight.  The public will better understand the role of mentors – and better yet, more folks will volunteers as mentors/tutors – if Vick is intentional about promoting this as part of his comeback narrative.

Many AmeriCorps organizations excel at this; research about the dropout crisis with about one million students giving up on school each year talks about the need for more instruction time and adult support, which mentors and tutors can provide.

Vick, Dungy, and the NFL should be active in promoting this too.


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