The League

Nathan Whitaker

Nathan Whitaker

The co-author of three New York Times bestsellers and lawyer for college and professional football coaches.

It's Up to Vick


Mike Vick's decision to have Tony Dungy as a mentor, and Tony's willingness to serve in that role, will have an impact on Vick and his future in the NFL.

If Vick will let him.

Change is hard. Real, meaningful change. We have all seen time and again the difficulty that people have making real adjustments to their lives.

Despite my relationship with Tony - we have written books together - I do not know Mike Vick, nor am I privy to either his talks with Tony or the Commissioner. That said, I believe that the Commissioner is looking for evidence of change -- more than contrition or remorse at simply having been caught, but actual growth as a person and in his understanding of society and his role in it. For such growth to occur, as Tony and I discussed in our book, "uncommon," relationships matter.

Isaac Newton famously said that he stood "upon the shoulders of giants." Countless others have noted how important it is to construct a legacy by contributing to the lives of others with wisdom, experience and loyalty. Think of the people that impacted you - a coach, a parent, a teacher. It's not always enough to hope to be better, or to simply aspire to a better place. We often need others to walk alongside us and help us on the journey. That's one of the reasons Derrick Brooks is so beloved in Tampa, because he figured out that it wasn't enough to lend his name to programs for kids. He gets his hands dirty going through life alongside them.

I know that Tony is pulling for Mr. Vick. I also know that Tony isn't going to compromise his own integrity by going to bat for him or anyone else, unless warranted. Tony is looking to build into his life what Tony believes is important - being close to his family, modeling good values for kids etc. Whether Tony and the Commissioner ultimately believe that he's sincere is a question only they will be able to answer, but being willing to take guidance from an elder, who has life experience to help, shows an important step in terms of humility and being open.

Should Mike Vick get another chance? I believe that he's making positive steps toward that possibility by surrounding himself with more than just handlers and attorneys. The fact that Vick is willing to take steps to hopefully have people in his life with his best interests at heart -- unlike so many athletes and celebrities who find themselves surrounded by people who are looking for what they can take from them -- will hopefully continue to put his life on a different trajectory.

At the end of the day, Tony's goal is to build into Mike Vick's life so that Vick, in turn, can impact other young men. And that's a goal we all can aspire to - to help turn one life around now to impact many later.

By Nathan Whitaker  |  August 11, 2009; 7:04 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Michael Vick , Roger Goodell , Tony Dungy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Openess Yes, Fan Votes No | Next: Is Dungy Too Loyal?


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Commander2 wrote: "I hope dungy does as good a job with that Primate vick as he did with his own son."

Definitely in the running for most offensive comment of the year.

Posted by: danroth777 | August 12, 2009 2:05 AM

Commander2 wrote: "I hope dungy does as good a job with that Primate vick as he did with his own son."
Definitely in the running for most offensive comment of the year.
Posted by: danroth777

Thank you! I am complemented that I am in running for the 'most offensive comment of the year'
Since it refers to the most OFFENSIVE person (vick)it seems only appropiate.
Just euthanize that Primate (vick) and we can move on.
Thanks again, seems to be synergy here!

Posted by: Commander2 | August 12, 2009 7:57 AM

What the hell...

Why would you feel the need to say anything like that...ever,com2?

It doesnt even have anything to do with the topic... WOW...

Posted by: Reed5 | August 12, 2009 10:47 AM

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