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Second Chances are Something to Cheer About

November 16, 2010

A Guest Blog from Amelia Goodyear, Amicus Director of Youth and Mental Health Services

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I do like second chances.

In sports this year, second chances means that even after their disappointing defeat by the Saints last season, I was still excited to watch the Minnesota Vikings open against their former conquerors this fall. Despite a disheartening loss in that game, I continued to hope that Brett Favre would rally, would seize this second chance to return to former glory.

Well, I guess when it comes to chances in sports, Minnesotans are patient. Sack after painful sack, interception after dreadful interception, Minnesota maintained faith that this former great would redeem his game. If we can be so patient in sports, perhaps we can consider other second chances, too. I mean, we’re the state that gave a former professional wrestler a chance to prove himself as a politician! What about giving our prisoners a second chance to lead productive lives?

In sports last night I got to watch a former prisoner prove that he took his second chance seriously. Displaying focus, skill, determination and leadership, Michael Vick broke numerous records in an exhilarating game against the Washington Redskins. Vick, once the highest paid player in football, was no longer a hot commodity after serving nearly two years for involvement in illegal dog fighting. He found a supporter, however, in Coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I’m a believer that as long as people go through the right process, they deserve a second chance,” Reid said when he signed Vick to his team in 2009.

Reid must be feeling thrilled now that he gave Michael Vick that chance. Take this opportunity to contribute to some second chances for Minnesotans.

Today, Tuesday, Nov. 16,  is Give to the Max Day at Amicus.  What a great day to honor second chances with a donation!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Nelson permalink*
    November 18, 2010 11:38 am

    Great post! Vick’s is also a story speaking to the potential for Restorative Justice. Shortly before he was released from jail, Vick’s representatives contacted the Humane Society of the United States and asked if he could help by speaking against dogfighting. The HSUS initially saw it as a publicity stunt and doubted Vick’s intentions, and, seeing that Vick was “number one” on the “most despised person” list for animal lovers, they were likely concerned that working with Vick would alienate the agency’s other supporters.

    After several contacts though, the head of the HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, met with Vick and decided Michael might be honest about his desire to try to repair the harm he had caused. Pacelle is forthright about not really trusting Vick 100 percent, but he decided that the potential benefits were worth the risk and gave him a shot.

    Three years later, Vick is still advocating for the group on their initiative to eliminate dogfighting. He’s still not too popular among animal lovers, but he has helped the HSUS reach thousands of young men who otherwise wouldn’t have listened.

    By keeping an open ear, and an open heart, you can sometimes find a little restoration.

  2. November 20, 2010 6:35 pm

    Well said Amelia.I was very angry with Michael Vick but he has done his time so let’s put the matter to rest and look forward. Perhaps in gratitude for a second chance Vick will find ways to give back.

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