Number 7 (Open Letter to Arthur Blank)

As the drama surrounding the news regarding Tiger Woods and his “transgressions” unfolded last week, I am reminded of the ongoing debate regarding the public’s love-hate-love relationship with celebrities. Some argue that once a public figure begins to accept notoriety and perks such as seven-figure endorsements, they simultaneously accept the fact that their private lives and even personal demons become part of the public domain. This mindset allows the general public to peer into the lives of others and make judgments about persons they have yet to meet – in person. Maybe the lack of a personal relationship with celebrities allows us to more so judge the act and less the person. At least I hope so.

We all agree that what Tiger may have done to hurt his family through his choices is wrong. But when we begin to make decisions about who Tiger Woods the person actually is, we’re in fact minimizing a person’s whole live down to one choice and becoming hypocrites all at the same time. After all, which one of us can boast that we never have let our loved ones down at some point or time in our lives? This is not about excuses, because this is life.


Which brings me to Michael Vick.

While no one can defend his errant actions and obvious mistakes in his life, we go as far as to invalidate our own justice system when we don’t allow the man a fair chance to redeem himself. After all, Mike paid for his mistakes with something he obviously truly regrets – some of the most prime years of his athletic life were spent in a prison cell. It remains a mystery to reality if Vick will ever get back to the form and substance of Falcons-era #7.

Mike’s return to Atlanta today can be a providential moment for our city. Most of us truly and genuinely miss our last great hope for post-season success in the NFL. It is my most sincere wish that Arthur Blank – the owner of The Atlanta Falcons and co-founder of juggernaut Home Depot – reconsider his decision and allow Vick the chance to redeem himself back in Atlanta.

Mr. Blank, consider that you are acting with your feelings rather than with the calculating mind that made Home Depot the success that it is. You are obviously a football fan and I respect that. But allowing Mike a chance is just that – a chance. To truly make an impact that could heal old wounds and restore faith in second chances in life.

I say all this to say it pains me to see number sever return in Eagles green – even though I am an Atlanta transplant from Philadelphia. We miss you down here Mike and really hope one day we can be truly as forgiving as we all deserve a little redemption every now and then.

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