Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vick should graciously decline The Ed Block Courage Award



Since I became aware of their mission and purpose, The Ed Block Courage Foundation has occupied a special place in my heart. Every March the foundation rewards a member of each NFL club who in their own unique way demonstrated uncommon determination and perseverance to successfully overcome oftentimes seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to positively affect his team.

Each of the 32 awards is voted upon by the recipients’ teammates making the honor that much more special. It’s those teammates who witness the struggle behind the scenes and away from the discerning eyes and ears of fans and the media. Honor, quality of character and selflessness are often rewarded and brought to the forefront much to the chagrin of many humble recipients. These are qualities once embodied in the award’s namesake.

Of course I’m referring to Ed Block.

The awarded athletes collectively are the star attraction for the awards ceremony but they for all intents and purposes are second on the bill to the real stars – the children of the Ed Block Courage Houses. One only needs to refer to the core of the organization’s mission statement for proof.

"The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of neglected children and ending the cycle of abuse. The purpose is to raise Awareness and Prevention of child abuse. That objective is coupled with the Foundation's commitment to celebrating players of inspiration in the NFL."

Unfortunately this mission took a hit recently when it was announced that Michael Vick had been voted in as the recipient for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Michael Vick, less than one year removed from prison for inflicting incredibly heinous acts upon defenseless animals will represent the Eagles at the Ed Block Courage Awards here in Baltimore. This is the same Vick who once assumed the alias of Ron Mexico to circumvent a sex scandal; the same Vick accused of trying to board a plane with a water bottle equipped with a hidden compartment allegedly laced with marijuana residue; the former Atlanta Falcons’ player who flipped the bird towards his hometown fans.

And let’s not forget all of the creditors he stiffed.

This is the best the Philadelphia Eagles could do?

Obviously he owes none of them any money.

Keep in mind that this is an award often bestowed upon players, coaches or trainers who have battled cancer; or uncommonly served their communities; or endured excruciating pain to rehabilitate a devastating injury in order to take the field again in a productive way to help and support their respective teams and families.

These are men of honor.

Mike Vick might be rehabilitated but a man of honor?

C’mon man!

Vick has already received awards – a second chance and a new NFL contract. And that’s ok I suppose in this forgiving society but how is that honorable? Did he have any other choice than to suck it up and toe the line of acceptable behavior? Let’s not forget that he had multi-million financial reasons to toe that line and be a conformist.

Should he have been given a second chance?

I think so.

Has he respected this privilege?

So far, so good.

Should he be mentioned in the same breath as previous Ed Block Courage Award winners like Warrick Dunn, Kurt Warner, Priest Holmes, Warren Moon, Chad Pennington, Peter Boulware, and Eddie George and on and on?

Of course not!

If you thought Ernest Byner’s inclusion in the Ravens’ Ring of Honor cheapened that award’s luster, relatively speaking the coveted Ed Block Courage Award has just been dumped on by a truckload of dead dog and puppy carcasses with the news of Vick’s award.

His inclusion taints the award for past recipients and the bar just fell to the floor when considering future recipients. The knuckleheads in Philadelphia just paved the way to the Ed Block Banquet for NFL thugs like Pacman Jones, should the league ever reinstate him. All it will take is one season of toeing the company line, being cordial to teammates, feigning remorsefulness and cashing healthy paychecks on Fridays.

Ed Block must be rolling over in his grave.

Maybe the folks over at the old Courage House should show some courage of their own and rescind this award to Vick.

If not they may render the prestigious award meaningless. And that may prove to be no big deal to the athletes. After all there are plenty of awards to go around.

But it could affect the children of the Courage Houses.

Hasn't Vick done enough damage?

He should either decline the award or maybe the Eagles need to simply claim that they used a Florida balloting system and conduct a re-do.

However they get it done, Vick's award has to be taken from him.

Do it for the kids!

10 comments :

Deputy Dawg said...

It won't happen TL and it will be a big black mark on Ed Block. That's sad.

Joe in Sparks said...

As a semi-regular attendee of the EB Awards banquet, I will say this: If Vick is there I won't be and I don't think I'm alone thinking this way!

Jerry B said...

Couldn't agree more, TL! It's one thing to allow him to play again, but to "reward" him in this way is reprehensible!

Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Dec 24th
Awarding Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage award is not my IDEA of CHRISTMAS. This man has paid his debt to society, under the UNITED STATES LEGAL System; However, there is no way that he belongs in this prestigious group of former and present award winners. Don't look for me there this year.

Elin Woods said...

Are the officers of Ed Block out of their minds? What's next, Tiger Woods for husband of the year?

ravcolt said...

This award for courage is synonymous with the one handed out by the Wizard of Oz to the Cowardly Lion, only this time it is not a dream. If Vick had any real courage he would donate every penny he ever makes to his victims. The last thing his despicable acts displayed was courage. What a sad commentary of contemporary man.

Gene from Baltimore said...

Tony,

I read your article and I am in full agreement with you. I actually disagree on one point, that he should not have been given a second chance in the NFL. He lost that privilege. Yes, a second chance to find work or whatever, but not be back in the NFL where he forfeited that privilege.

I guess I am one of those old school types or something. It's one thing if he owned the house and let people move in and he didn't know what was going on. Rather, he knew about it and participated in it. "It" being the torture of animals.

I think that people didn't get the full story on Vick. Some have tried to say it is part of a culture (dog fighting) in the South we'll that may be. And even if you justify that as an excuse you have to question the torturing the animals too. In my estimation if I knew anyone that tortured animals they need mental help and counseling.

So, yes I may be too harsh to be so judgmental and I hope I don't sound too angry. But it is a mockery of the award, the NFl and society. Yes, he served his time and I know that is not easy and forgiveness is important. At the same time, the NFL must keep it's standards. Letting Vick back in as a player was a bad move and bad message. I have a problem with kids going up to Vick and asking for his autograph. Would you want your son or daughter going up to a ball player who was convicted of child molestation? While torturing animals may not be in the same level of crime as child molestation, it is darn close.

Darlene Harris said...

We are banding together, writing letters to both Ed Block and its sponsors to try and block this. Contact information and sample letters are available at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/422272.
Thanks,
Darlene Harris

Ann Coleman said...

I find the argument that "well, Vick's teammates voted for him so it's OK" reprehensible. How many of Vick’s teammates really know him?

Do they know that he plead NOT GUILTY to animal cruelty charges? And never served any time for the actual animal cruelty? He was convicted only of bankrolling a dogfighting conspiracy for which he served 18 months in prison.

Even though he later admitted, and others testified, that he was hands-on in the torturing and killing of dogs. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs then just like with a car the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water… the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.”

“Vick did all that and more to his dogs and even threw family pets into the pit with fighters and laughed while they were mauled according to a witness who testified to federal investigators.” Other reports say that shooting, hanging, electrocuting, drowning and slamming bodies to the ground were all common methods of killing by Vick and his three co-defendants.

49 pit bulls were found alive on Vicks' property. Carcasses were found buried across the property.

Still think it was courageous to come back to his million-dollar job? I do believe in redemption. But he hasn’t been working that hard (court & team-ordered), or for very long. He had a dogfighting practice for almost SIX YEARS.

Sources: http://angeltales.org/general/the-story-of-michael-vick/

http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-11-03/living/17117102_1_vick-dogs-vick-s-bad-newz-kennels-pit

http://s3.amazonaws.com/bf-filestorage/CommunityServer.Components.PostAttachments/00/00/13/23/88/vick_indictment.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=1TWF5R424CKA5BHB92R2&Expires=1262213063&Signature=HkHRN%2f97ZSV2T2x47lxtwlLk%2byc%3d


I am one of the people in Baltimore fighting very hard to change this injustice.

Ann

Cindy Papaleo-Schriver said...

Tony,

Thank you for your article of December 23, 2009. You hit the nail on the head and expressed the sentiments of animal lovers throughout the country, but particularly those here in Philadelphia. I have never protested anything in my life, but I feel so strongly on the subject of Monster Vick that I have protested at all but one home game this season. The insults and derision we have received from Eagles fans have been nothing less than horrific. They have hurled comments ranging from the standard "Get a life" or "Get a job" (this is a clever bunch) to the absolutely unrepeatable, i.e. a four letter word for a part of woman's anatomy beginning with C and ending with T. It has taken every ounce of fortitude that we possess to hold our tempers and not bludgeon one of them with a picket sign. Thank you for also including in this article Vick's past "infractions" such as his STD treatment and flipping the bird to his own fans.

I am still struggling with the idea that after all he has done he was allowed back into the National Felon League. Oh, I know, second chances and everything (I am not the forgiving sort), but this is just the the sour icing on a moldy cake of a season. To make matters worse, they have won more games than they lost. I cannot fathom what he has done to display courage. I can assure that my fellow protesters and I have displayed far more courage on any given Sunday afternoon.

Again, many thanks for telling it like it is. Happy New Year.