In a busy Tuesday morning in the Philadelphia sports scene, it’s kind of sad that I have to address an article that looks like like it was written five Summers’ ago.
Yesterday, Juliet Macur wrote an article in the New York Times, warning any teams that would be interested in Michael Vick to remember the disgusting dog-fighting crimes that Michael Vick committed all throughout the early-2000′s, that landed him a jail stint that lasted over 20 months.
The first thing that I want to say is that I don’t condone anything that Michael Vick did. He deserved the lengthy jail stint that he got, and frankly I’m not sure he got enough time. That being said, he served the time that our justice system decided. Michael Vick doesn’t make the rules, he broke them, and then abided by the process that he was forced too.
In much of the article, Macur revisited many of the disgusting things that Vick did in the dogfighting operation, from raping dogs, to electrocuting them. None of her facts were wrong, but it was unnecessarily revisiting the past. I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t remember what happened in the past, but if Vick served the time that the law asked him, and succeeded in going through the rehab process that was laid out for him, then I don’t see why it’s relevant.
When Vick came to the Philadelphia, I didn’t expect the Michael Vick that we got. Atlanta Falcons’ Michael Vick had a reputation as being a last-one in, first-one out, type of guy. Instead, Vick brought a tremendous work ethic to Philadelphia, and his leadership actually shined through. In his final season in Philly, amidst a quarterback controversy between him and his eventual replacement Nick Foles, Vick backed teammate Riley Cooper after he used a racial slur. After being replaced by Nick Foles, Vick didn’t pout and become a distraction, he instead supported Foles throughout the process and remained the ultimate team-guy.
I’d even say that Vick’s involvement in charities went far beyond his rehab process. In the eyes of most of the sports-viewing public, Vick has proven through speaking in inner-cities about dog fighting, and staying out of trouble in his five-year stint with the Eagles, that hewas serious about turning his life around. If he really wanted to, Vick could have stopped his charity involvement after his second season with the team, when most people got to the point of realizing that Vick was back in the league, and serious about turning his life around. Instead, Vick remains very active in helping the under-privileged, using his V7 foundation. The latest example was when Vick used his foundation to help donate Turkeys to underprivileged families on Thanksgiving in his hometown of Newport News, Virginia.
I’d say that Vick has changed as a human. Apparently Macur didn’t get that vibe when talking to Vick after the game.
“I’ve changed in so many ways, so many — why don’t you write that?” he told me.
My best guess is that Macur exaggerated Vick’s response to her question, but it is also understandable for that to be a sore subject for him. Unfortunately because of the crimes that he committed, it doesn’t matter if that’s a sore subject or not, it comes with the territory. The one thing going in Vick’s favor is that in five years of being with the team, I can’t recollect Vick lashing out at any member of the media and walking off like that.
Another thing that takes credit away from Macur’s case, is that throughout the article she uses extreme hyperbole. Take this for example.
If the Eagles cut him loose this off-season, teams considering giving him a third chance in the N.F.L. should be required to look past his strong left arm, his nimble feet and his potentially cost-effective upside.
First off, Michael Vick is a free-agent, so he doesn’t need to be “cut-loose”, he can do whatever the hell he wants after this season. What are they going to do, put the franchise tag on him to be a backup? Shame on her and editor for allowing that to be published.
Secondly, this isn’t a third-chance at all. Vick was given a second chance in Philadelphia. He was given that as both a player and as a person. He passed in both aspects, having a career-year in 2010 and staying out of trouble in his tenure with the team.
Third, if a team looked past any players’ best attributes, why would they want to sign him? For sure they take the past history into account, but why would you be talking about signing someone if you completely looked past what they could bring to your team?
Then there is this exaggeration.
In the locker room afterward, Vick, 33, basically said he was too good to be a backup and wanted to be a starter somewhere next season.
First off, Vick is too good to be a backup. I was on the start Nick Foles bandwagon, but I still saw Vick produce at a high-level individually in Chip Kelly’s system. Getting away from Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg revitalized his career.
My other reaction to that is to ponder if Macur ever played sports in her life. Even if Vick had nothing left, what competitor wants to accept being a backup? That’s just silly to think that. Anyone who ever played sports at any level, you be able to grasp that. I have played sports my whole life, but I would think even people that never played sports would understand that.
The final thing, is that Vick giving such a blunt response makes perfect sense. On New Years day, Vick was asked about his prospects of returning to Philadelphia as a backup in 2014. Vick could have completely said no, but realizing that the Eagles were set to host their first playoff game in three seasons, he gave an answer that kept him from being a distraction to the team.
“I don’t worry about it,” Vick said. “My skill set is still there, my arm is still there, my legs are still there, I’m still a playmaker, that’s evident. I think at some point, I’ll be playing somewhere.”
Vick smiled at the prospect of returning to the Eagles for a sixth season as Foles’ backup.
He made it clear that he wants to start next year and plans to start next year.
“Yeah, if it doesn’t work out, if all else fails, absolutely,” he said. “You can never rule that out.
The problem is, most people didn’t actually read the article. Instead they saw the headline on Twitter, and just went with that, because we live in a society that is too lazy to sit down and read 700 words. Or everyone was hungover. Or maybe both.
It’s the medias’ job to make a headline. It’s your job to actually read the article. There is a certain limit of characters that you can make a headline, that keep it looking nice and will still bring readers in.
Let’s take our site for example. When I wrote the article about Vick’s quote, I titled the article: “Michael Vick Plans To Start in 2014; Still Open to Being Eagles’ Backup.” If you just look at that quote, you would think that Vick didn’t have an issue with remaining a backup. If you actually read the article, you realize that I presented the quote, but pretty much concurred that Vick and the Eagles had no reason to continue their relationship after this season.
Anyway, the idea that Michael Vick actually said he was willing to be a backup is comical. Readers, and many members of the media, where just too lazy to actually do research. So after hearing about it for a full-week, Vick had to further make it clear that he didn’t really have any intention of being a backup next season.
Getting back to my criticism of the article, Macur next went in the direction of bashing the NFL’s second-chance policy.
The cast of characters in Saturday’s game was a reminder of just how generous the league is with its ridiculous offers of second chances, like Vick’s.
Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper made racist remarks about African-Americans — on a team filled with African-Americans — and still ended up starting in the playoffs, the recipient of roaring cheers.
Riley Cooper should have received some sort of punishment for his comments, but at the same time, is that on the same level as what Vick did?
She also went after Saints’ head-coach Sean Payton.
Saints Coach Sean Payton was suspended last year for a bounty program in which players were paid to inflict serious injuries on their opponents, and still he was hailed for ushering the Saints to their first ever road playoff win.
Macur just really gives off the vibe that she never played sports, and doesn’t have a great grasp for sports history, or how punishments work. Bounties are nothing new in the NFL, but that story is over. Payton served his suspension, and got a chance to come back because he is an elite head coach. And he proved to be worth that risk this season.
Then she tried to bring it all together.
You can be capable of cracking a little dog’s skull against the ground as it struggles to breathe. You can show disrespect to the men you call your teammates by using racial slurs. You can violate the game’s rules and society’s rules by encouraging your players to physically hurt others, to give them head injuries, torn anterior cruciate ligaments or broken bones.
And what will it get you in the N.F.L.? Huge contracts. Applause. A bank account stuffed with money.
I don’t remember anything in the bounty program having to do with tearing a players ACL. It would be pretty difficult to purposely tear someones ACL, even if money was on the table. Not sure where she got that from.
Beyond that, this article does present a point that I would be glad to answer. The NFL, above all else, is entertainment. I have had numerous discussions with teachers and other people who work everyday jobs, that tell me that, ” if they did what Michael Vick did they would never get a job again.” This is very true, but the problem is they are replaceable. Vick is one of the greatest running quarterbacks ever,Payton has won a Superbowl and is one of the best offensive minds in the league, Cooper has great hands and size, which is hard to find in today’s game.
If you can’t get over the fact that players or coaches are given second-chances because they posses a very rare set of skills, then isn’t it hypocritical to even watch pro sports?
Apparently, she doesn’t feel it is hypocritical to watch, but she thinks fanbases deserve better.
Teams evaluating Vick should think about those horrors before offering him a chance to wear their jersey. They should say, “Can’t we give our fans someone better to cheer for?” Fans should demand someone better.
Sure. If you want to demand someone better, why don’t you write a letter to your team asking them to trade for Christian Ponder this off-season? No? How about Brandon Weeden? Still no? If neither of those work, than you have the option of going to perennial All-Pro Blaine Gabbert. If I was a fan of a team that has had a horrible run at the quarterback position, then I’ll take Vick’s past baggage and his ability, over a terrible quarterback.
In the end, Macur issued the Eagles an ultimatum, as if they really care.
But the Eagles should make it easy for their fans. They should replace Vick with someone devoid of a dark past, someone who hasn’t been in prison for such a reprehensible crime. It’s a pathetically low bar, but it ought to be the bare minimum.
Well, I guess that’s you Matt Barkley. Children can idolize you.