The ex-quarterback served 18 months in federal prison following a 2007 dogfighting investigation that revealed his role in mistreating and killing animals. Vick got a second chance in the NFL, spending five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2009-2013), one with the New York Jets (2014) and a final year with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015.
Many people will never forgive Vick for his role in dog fighting. That is their prerogative. Yet the experience has clearly changed Vick's outlook. Since his prison sentence ended, he's been involved with several charitable organization and spoken out against the mistreatment of animals.
After the road he's traveled, Vick's opinion is pertinent when it comes to the likes of rookie running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended for the 2014 season at Oklahoma after he was shown on camera punching and knocking out a female Oklahoma student, after a brief confrontation at a restaurant.
Vick believes Mixon can make a positive out of his situation.
"Kids can use this as an example," Vick told NJ Advance Media this week. "Joe got an opportunity because he's an exceptional talent. Others don't get that opportunity."
Video of the Mixon incident wasn't made public until after a judge ordered the release of security videos in December 2016. Mixon, 20, completed one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and behavioral counseling as part of a plea agreement to a misdemeanor assault charge, according to court records. Last week, a settlement was reached in the civil lawsuit filed against Mixon, according to the Associated Press. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Vick noted Mixon will need to learn to handle the criticism and protests to his employment.
"Joe's young, man, and he made a mistake," Vick said. "Let's be honest, you rarely see guys having encounters like that. It should never happen. I would never condone it. I don't think it's right at all.
"But in terms of his football career, if he could go back and think about it before he actually made that gesture towards that girl, he wouldn't have done it. Not if he knew what he would be dealing with now. ... I think he has learned from it. Hopefully, he's humbled by what happened to him."