Merry Christmas to all, including Michael Vick.

The National Football League named the former star quarterback as one of the 2020 Pro Bowl Legends Captains, a role that would see him mentor players and coach from the sidelines, which was quickly met with criticism.

In case you forgot, twelve years ago, Vick served a year and a half in federal prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.

He was sentenced 4,399 days ago. Four thousand, three hundred ninety-nine days. More than 628 weeks. 12 stinkin’ years. How long is long enough to keep Vick in the shadow of his past?

There are six days left in this decade so here are six reasons the Mike Vick slander should be left behind as we move into 2020.

Paying the price

The Newport News, Virginia native spent 23 months in a Leavnworth, Kansas prison after pleading guilty in August 2007.

His sentence was a bit longer than the reccomended 12-18 months suggested by federal guidelines, partially due to a failed drug test and lie detector test after his plea. He wasn’t seen by the judge as a man that was truly sorry for his actions, so the sentence lengthened, though he only served 18 months of that.

...and then some...

In addition to the prison sentence, Vick forfieted a large majority of his young mega-deal with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2004, the quarterback signed a 10-year, $130 million contract which was scrapped when the NFL suspended him indefinitely in 2007.

An apology

In all likelihood, when you apologize for something, you expect to be forgiven. We’re quick to defend those who we deem worthy of our good graces but equally as quick to dismiss the apologies of those we look down on.

Though it can’t fix what was done in the past, it was a step in the right direction at the time. His actions after prison spoke louder than his apology though, more on that later.

A second chance

The Philadelphia Eagles gave him another shot in the NFL. In 2009, Vick left behind his red and black gear and replaced it with midnight green.

After getting his name back on an NFL roster, Vick didn’t disappoint. Though he never played a full 16-game season, he was given the started job at the start of 2010 and threw for 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns, rushing for 676 yards and nine scores on 100 carries.

His career was longer post-prison than before he was sentenced. He didn’t let a (rather large) mistake define him, and made the most of his second chance.

Educating others

Over the last 10 years, Michael has done much more than play football and work as an analyst for FOX. He has devoted himself to making a difference in communities across the country. And he has worked with major animal shelters to improve the lives of creatures big and small.

From a dog-killer, to dog-advocate. It’s a complete 180-degree turn from the direction his life was heading.

A changed man

Regardless of how you feel, Vick will serve as a captain at the 2020 Pro Bowl Jan. 26 in Orlando, Florida. I applaud the league office for looking past his past and recognizing his efforts to get his life back on track (which he has).

“I know that there are people out there who will never forgive him. He knows that,” the NFL commissioner said. “But I think this is a young man that has really taken his life in a positive direction, and we support that. So I don’t anticipate any change, no.”

Call off the dogs. Leave the Mike Vick garbage in this decade.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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