Known to be an advocate for change as well as an avid sports fan, President Barack Obama recently expressed his support for both. The White House confirmed that the President has praised the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Michael Vick a second chance. The President reportedly called Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and discussed the scorned quarterback’s return to the team, according to ABC News.
The New York Daily News reported that Obama surprised Lurie with a phone call while the President was on vacation in Hawaii to discuss two topics: Lurie’s alternative energy plans for Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles’ decision to give the 30-year-old player a second chance.
“He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of,” White House deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told ABC News, “But, as he’s said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again,”.
Obama has never been shy about expressing his opinion on not only sports and athletes but his highly supportive position on giving ex-prisoners and criminals a change to rehabilitate themselves. In January Obama told People magazine that Tiger Woods could “absolutely” be rehabilitated after his cheating scandal was revealed.
“[Obama] said, ‘So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was … passionate about it,” Lurie told Sport’s Illustrated’s Peter King, “He said it’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.”
The Eagles signed Vick to a one-year deal in 2009 with an option for a second year. This took place merely weeks after serving 18 months in prison and two months of home confinement after being convicted of running a dog fighting ring out of his backyard in Virginia in which several dogs were severely harmed, abused and neglected.
This also comes right on the heels of Vick’s claim earlier this month that he would like to have a dog again someday and that he believes that it would greatly help in the rehabilitation process, according to an interview with NBC News.
“I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted,” Vick told NBC, “I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that’s the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions.”
Vick has been doing incredibly well since returning to the team, The Huffington Post reports. Having earned the Eagles starting quarterback job early this season, he is now a candidate for MVP. He has thrown 20 touchdown passes, rushed for eight and has a passer rating of 103.6
“This entire situation has changed my life dramatically. Better player, better person,” Vick told NBC News. “More patience, more persistence, and the willingness to, like I said earlier, set high goals and high standards not only on the football field but in life.”