President Barack Obama recently called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and praised him for signing ex-convict Mike Vick, SI’s Peter King reports.Lurie relayed the conversation as follows:
“He said, ‘So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was … passionate about it. He said it’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.”
Obama is late to the Vick lovefest, of course, as the quarterback leads the NFL in fan votes for the Pro Bowl. Sports fans, Obama included, are eager to forgive and forget athlete’s transgressions. They don’t want personal ethics to get in the way of enjoying on-field excellence and spectacular highlights.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for most Americans. There’s no one watching with excitement to see the average former prisoner redeem himself. His highlights aren’t aired repetitively on ESPN. To Obama’s chagrin, the Vick situation has no bearing on most Americans in a similar spot.
But, before you decry the President’s obsession with the sporting world when “real” national problems persist, know this: the call was placed to discuss the Eagles plans to run the first self-sufficient, alternative-energy sports stadium in the country. They’re in the process of installing 80 wind turbines, and 2,500 solar panels that will combine with a biodiesel plant to save the team $60 million in energy costs.
Considering Obama’s constant calls for investment in clean energy, that was the true purpose of the phone call.
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