Image via WikipediaAbout seven months ago (1/27/09) I blogged about Michael Vick who was once again being maligned for his participation in a vicious dog fighting ring. The Vick case struck me as especially interesting in two ways: the sometimes over-the-top rhetoric used to describe his actions (many animal rights' activists and sports fans called Vick "another Hitler" -- a bizarre equation by any rational analysis), and the way in which Vick's journey seemed to imitate what psychologist Dan McAdams calls the "redemptive myth."
According to McAdams, the most powerful life stories are narratives of personal redemption, through which people transform pain and suffering into a life designed to benefit the self and others. Listen to the strains of this redemptive story in Vick's press conference announcing his new job with (that most American of birds!) the Eagles.
At the press conference Vick is accompanied by his (Christian) spiritual advisor -- and former NFL Super Bowl winning coach, Tony Dungy -- and quickly they mention Christian forgiveness and the importance of atoning for a "horrible mistake" and the fact that "everyone deserves a second chance." Check it out here:
Is Vick's story redemptive? Does his redemption depend on his success on the field or is it enough that he has "learned his lesson"? Is the redemptive story an especially American story?