25 December 2009
Michael Vick is a 29-year-old quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles but is better known to non-followers of the NFL as someone who was sent to prison for 23 months in 2007 for his key role in a dog-fighting ring.
The Ed Block Courage Award is given each year to 32 NFL players, one from each team, who, in the “eyes of his fellow teammates, is a source of inspiration and courage.” The award is for “those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are selected by their teammates for team effort, as well as individual performance . . . The Ed Block Courage Award recipient symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. He is also a community role model.”
Vick has just been voted by his Eagles team-mates as the man on their franchise to receive this year’s award, something that has polarised opinion in America; among the views so far, Phil Sheridan in the Philadelphia Inquirer says Vick doesn’t deserve it, Jim Litke of AP effectively says ‘give the guy a break’ and Skip Wood in USA Today looks at the theory that Vick has merely taken another small step back towards the big time.