It’s no secret that I’m a football fan and if you’ve seen these photos of the boys, you know who my two favorite teams are.
Each year it seems the NFL grows bigger and more popular and has attracts an ever widening fan base. As September blows in more people park in front of their television sets and tune in to see their football heroes make the big play on the field. We look up to these larger than life players and with social media we have unprecedented access to their lives, pictures of kids, pets and in turn the players reach out to a broader base when soliciting donations for their charities and organizations.
There are two players in the NFL that come to mind who may or may not have been beloved by their fan base to now experience being vilified by the masses but from one situation something very positive has arisen and from another something probably very unfortunate. From all the way back to the Atlanta days, I’ve never liked their quarterback who was busted in the dog fighting ring. I didn’t like the Falcons, I didn’t like his style of play and back in the day, I didn’t particularly like (or dislike) Pit Bulls. At the time, very little of what he did or what happened made an impact in my life to the point that when he ‘got his second chance’ I thought that was fine. Many people deserve a second chance, don’t they? Well, no, not necessarily. There’s paying for your crime and there’s the type of person who can commit atrocities in the first place.
It wasn’t until I began reading more articles about the Vicktory dogs and meeting more Pit Bulls that I understood the extent of the horrific crime against these sweet souls. Clearly his actions have now made an impact on my life’s direction and because of who he was and his “celebrity” the 51 dogs taken from his property, who are now celebrities in their own right, have blazed a trail for so many other Pit Bull type dogs who may not be alive today if not for changes in how we view these survivors. Yeah. Michael Vick. Never liked him and never will, but if not for him in a very round about way, I would possibly not be the Mommy to my two precious boys.
As a Raven’s fan, I enjoy the access to some of my favorite players and in years past have watched as Ray Rice filled back packs for area school kids and championed an anti-bullying campaign, so when news broke of the incident with his then fiancée, I was shocked and heartbroken. I mean, come on, anti-bullying campaign! The good guy, known as a momma’s boy in the best of ways was now a “woman beater” and with the breaking video has found himself (rightfully) unemployed.
A few weeks ago as office talk was centered around our Fantasy Football league, it was noted that I am usually a ‘homer’ when drafting my team and Ray Rice’s name was mentioned in the running back category. “He’s dead to me, I can’t draft him” was my response. I love watching football and will continue to be a fan while understanding that the business of the sport is that the sport is a business and the bottom line is to make money. Punishments are not always severe or timely if there are other monetary concerns and as fans we continue to feed the behemoth and people are always sorry after they’ve been caught.