If you log onto the NFL Shops website and click on their best sellers list for jerseys, there you will find Michael Vick’s #7 for the Philadelphia Eagles. If I heard correctly on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, Vick has the fourth best selling jersey in the NFL so far. No Eagle, including Donovan McNabb, even appears in the top 25. This comes shortly after Vick’s reinstatement into the NFL following jail time for running a dog fighting ring.
I live about 90 minutes south of Philadelphia, go to seminary in Philadelphia, and have in-laws who live just outside the city in New Jersey. Even though I am not a Philadelphia fan, I am certainly around the culture a little on a weekly basis. I am not surprised that fans have re-embraced Michael Vick. On one level, Philly fans are never happy with what they got. The first bad game for McNabb, the sports talk radio shows will be abuzz with cries for Vick to start. They also see Vick’s tremendous talent. He has the ability to transform the game with his legs as much as his arm. He can be an incredible weapon for a creative football team (unfortunately, Andy Reid is not that creative when it comes to coaching).
On another level, this whole scenario speaks a little about grace. Prior to Vick being reinstated by Commissioner Roger Godell and signing with the Eagles, the question everyone was asking was whether or not Vick deserved a second chance. From what I watched, read, and saw on sports channel was that Vick did deserve a second chance. Certainly there were those who did not think so (Think PETA and dog lovers everwhere), but overall people were willing to extend grace to Michael Vick.
I wonder if deep down, we give someone like Michael Vick another chance just because he might help our team win the Super Bowl, or because we know that we are in need of grace as well. We may not run a dog fighting ring, or run somebody over while driving under the influence of alchohol (see Donte Stallworth), but each of us is flawed. We each miss the mark of God’s standard of holiness (Romans 3:23). Even though we deserve the punishment for our sin, we can give thanks to God for Jesus Christ who came to save us from our sin. Jesus came to extend grace to you and me.
I hope that Michael Vick does well and receives the grace that he has been offered to do some good in the world. I hope that you and I will also receive the grace that has been offered through Jesus Christ and in turn extend that grace to those around.