Updated 7 p.m. ET
President Obama has voiced his approval of the second chance Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is getting this season, just a year removed from serving 18 months in federal prison on charges related to a dog fighting ring.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports reported Monday that Mr. Obama recently called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the team for giving Vick a chance.
Lurie said Mr. Obama told him that "So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance," King reported on SI.com.
Lurie said Mr. Obama was "passionate about it," adding that the president 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.''
White House spokesman Bill Burton, traveling with the president in Honolulu, confirmed that the call took place:
"The president did place a call to Mr. Lurie to discuss plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, during which they spoke about that and other issues. He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he's said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again."
Vick joined the Eagles last year following his release from prison, but didn't play much. But he took the starting quarterback job early this year, and has led the team to the playoffs while compiling numbers some think are worthy of him winning the league's MVP award.
However, he has continued to spark controversy over his past, especially when he recently said in an interview that he would like to.
"What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn't shape and mold me as the person I am now,"as he seeks to be redeemed in the public's eyes. "I said it before that I wish I can own a dog and I'll continue to say it. I'm not allowed to, but I'm just saying I wish I could because my kids ask me every day. It's more so for them than for me."
King also reported that Mr. Obama and Lurie discussed the team's plans to install wind turbines and solar panels at Lincoln Financial Field in a bid to "run the first self-sufficient alternative-energy sports stadium in the country."