New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick is no stranger to being involved in major controversy, or the difficult task of repairing a stained image.
Vick was involved in a dogfighting ring and served two years in federal prison for crimes related to torturing and killing dogs. Although what Vick doesn't compare to Ravens running back Ray Rice's domestic violence case, Vick has a unique perspective on how a professional athlete and public figure should deal with an extremely negative situation to attempt to change how they're perceived.
Vick, who's now an advocate for animal welfare through his work with the Humane Society to try to make up for his past violence against dogs, said he envisions a similar reclamation scenario for Rice.
"You’ve got to continue to make amends," Vick told NJ.com. "Once you start something, you can never go back. I feel like I’ve become an advocate of animal welfare, and I think I have to continue that.
"It’s all about keeping kids 15 years from now from doing the same. We’ve saved a lot of kids, and we’ve saved a lot of animals. That’s how I feel. Ray will make it right. He’ll do everything he can to make this situation whole again.”
Rice was accepted into a pretrial diversion program following a physical altercation in a domestic violence incident with his then-fiancee whom he later married. He's been suspended two games for violating the NFL personal conduct policy for a total of $529,411 in lost salary stemming from that felony aggravated assault case.
“I think the most important thing that you can do is to try to make amends for what you’ve done," Vick said. "I think you have to show people that you’re trying to help yourself and bring awareness to that situation to help others, to prevent it. You’ve got to become an advocate.”
Vick said that Rice has to be steadfast in how he conducts himself going forward and back up his words.
During a news conference last month at team headquarters, Rice said he and his wife, Janay, are in counseling and plan to eventually be advocates against domestic violence.
"Me and my wife, when the time is right, we will go out there and help as many people as we can out there and speaking against domestic violence, because it’s something that is just totally inexcusable," Rice said. "I just want to apologize once again to any women who have been involved in any domestic [violence], or anybody who has been involved in any kind of violence. My sincere apologies go out to you. When the time is right, when I get myself completely ready to go out there and do the things I’ve been doing out in the community, I will go out there and help as many people as we can. That’s myself and my wife. ..
"I know that I love helping people, and I know that I will go out there and be an ambassador for domestic violence to make sure that nobody else has to go through what I went through or what me and my wife went through. But that all comes with time. I’m going to continue to be Ray Rice – the guy that goes out there and he’s going to [have] free camps for the kids. I’m going to go visit kids in hospitals in need. And I don’t need cameras and stuff to do that. There are many things I’ve done off camera that didn’t get publicized. But that’s who I’m going to be as a person; that’s who I’m going to be as a man."
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