Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick opened his path to salvation after serving a 21-month prison sentence in 2007 for participating in a dog fight ring during a panel on empowering the next generation of black men BLACK COMPANIES 4th Annual Black Men XCEL Summit.
“When I got home from prison, I felt the pressure. I felt like I was living in a bubble, "the FOX Sports analyst and activist admitted at Thursday's virtual conference about the infamous incident that overshadowed his football career.
Instead of succumbing to the pressure he was feeling, Vick said he used the tools he developed behind bars to persevere.
“I set goals for myself in prison. I've achieved almost everything I wanted to achieve and more. Right there was the ultimate confirmation that I could do anything I wanted to do in my life. "
Vick added that he is now using the adversity he has overcome as an educational moment for younger black men and women.
"I preach a harsh message when speaking to the youth about responsibility, character, their beliefs, values and morals," said the NFL legend. “I try to explain to young men and women the pain and agony I have experienced in order to get stronger and where I am today. I want my message to be at all costs: You will not get through perfectly Lives go, there will be some ups and downs, but it all depends on how you hold out. "
He went on to talk about leaning on faith and said, "Let God guide you from there."
At another point, the former Atlanta Falcons player spoke about the need to provide guidance, mentoring, and father figures to black athletes.
"Young athletes today are stripping the fence about what I'm supposed to do (versus what I'm not supposed to do). It can be very complicated. Many of them come from backgrounds that they are not taught or trained in, and they don't have this guide to prepare for what lies ahead, ”he said.
"We are all in high positions for a reason. I have thought a lot and look back and say I want to help the younger generation not make the mistakes I have made," he added.
Black Men XCEL (BMX) was sponsored by FedEx Express and is designed to provide Black men with the tools, resources, and training they need to advance in their respective careers and industries, achieve generational wealth, and maintain spiritual wellbeing . The two-day summit included a variety of sessions, workshops, coaching and virtual activities. BMX also gave attendees access to some of the most successful business and executive influencers today. In addition, the summit, which was also hosted in collaboration with sponsors AT&T and JPMorgan Chase, gave attendees the opportunity to chat live with speakers, experts, mentors, and other attendees.
"The theme for this year's BMX is to celebrate the best of us," he said BLACK COMPANY President and CEO Earl "Butch" Graves Jr. in his opening addresses. "It is a celebration of the collective achievement, determination and resilience of black men in one of the most challenging periods in our history. We meet under the cloud of COVID-19 and a crippled economy. We are nearing the end of a divisive, racially charged election, and black men are attacked on all levels. "
Speakers included Founder and CEO of Walker Co. & Brands, Tristan Walker, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, Randal Pinkett, Corey Anthony, Chief Development & Diversity Officer of AT&T, TV presenter and founder of Daddy Duty 365, Shannon Lanier, former NFL player Tiki Barber, PayPal director of Global Financial Compliance Investigations Art Taylor, CNN staff, attorney, and author Bakari Sellers, and former US Attorney General Eric Holder.