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Vick jersey debate

THE HIGH SCHOOL Michael Vick attended in Newport News, Va., retired his number in 2000. They put it in a glass frame and hung it proudly. And why not? He emerged from nearby housing projects to become one of the great athletes in school history. His story needed to be perpetuated.

THE HIGH SCHOOL Michael Vick attended in Newport News, Va., retired his number in 2000. They put it in a glass frame and hung it proudly. And why not? He emerged from nearby housing projects to become one of the great athletes in school history. His story needed to be perpetuated.

In 2007, at the height of the dogfighting scandal and Vick's subsequent jail sentence, they took his jersey down.

And why not? Athletes, much to Charles Barkley's chagrin, are role models and the officials at Warwick High didn't want to send the wrong signal about Vick's crimes or glorify his punishment.

Now, there is a Facebook movement by students to get the jersey hung back up.

And why not? Vick served his time, has been a good citizen, won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award. As he has said, "I don't want to be part of the problem anymore. I want to be part of the solution."

There is a similar Facebook campaign urging Warwick officials to hold firm, which, at this point, they are.

Principal Rory Stapleton did not return a message left by the Daily News, but Michelle Price, a spokeswoman for Newport News schools, told the Virginian-Pilot, "The school administrators just decided that they are not going to take action on the students' request."

Price said administrators are concerned about vandalism issues as well as how the act of redisplaying Vick's jersey could be a distraction to students. Sorry, but that boat has sailed.

"At this point," Price said, "they just want to remain focused on instruction and finishing up the school year strong."

Honest assessment

"It's VCU against the world," said Jamie Skeen, after 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth survived the first weekend. "Nobody else thought we could do this. Nobody else's bracket said that we're going to make it to the Sweet 16."

Then, Skeen seemed to have a moment of clarity.

"Honestly, if it was me and I was just a regular person, I wouldn't put VCU in the Sweet 16. Who would have thought?" *

- Ed Barkowitz

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