“The Michael Vick Project” Debuts Tonight on BET
The word “project” in the title indicates that we are meant to take this seriously (its meaningless use in “The Rachel Zoe Project” notwithstanding). It suggests hard work and the possibility of transformation. That the subject of the series is also one of its producers is worth noting but also par for the course in the new reality we call “reality.”
The game plan is laid out clearly in the opening narration: “Against all odds, one man escaped and uplifted a family. But his humble beginnings led to a very tragic ending. But from darkness he saw the light. Blessed with a second chance, he must once again rise above to heal his family, his community, his legacy.” (Heal his legacy?) It is a redemption story, couched in religious terms: “I’m Michael Vick,” Vick says over the opening credits. “My fall from grace was tragic, but it was all my fault, and I’m on a mission to get everything back. Not the money and the fame, but to restore my family’s good name.”
You can decide for yourself whether this process is already, for all intents and purposes, complete. That Vick’s Philadelphia teammates recently voted him the Ed Block Courage Award, for players who “exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage,” seems to indicate that it is, as does a BET online poll in which 85% of those responding agreed that the quarterback had already done enough to “repair his image.” It also indicates that the likely audience for this show is already on the star’s side.
Not really. The Humane Society and other “against animal cruelty” organizations will be monitoring the show as well. So far, reviewers are saying that the show does not delve into the reasons why the quarterback tortured and executed dogs; and when he goes back to the scene of his crimes, that it is almost a nostalgic moment for him. What? If it was a nostalgic moment, then why was he happy there once upon a time? That’s something that I would like to know as well. And if the film does not provide answers, Vick must in the near future.
I would suggest that their adherents as well as other outraged members of the public also view this show, because as much as Vick has been called everything but a child of the Universe and an inhabitant of Turtle Island, it may just humanize him–humanize him enough for him to be accessible to them as another human being. Forgiveness isn’t warranted here–that won’t come until much later, and perhaps not at all for many of them–but acceptance.