|EDITOR’S CORNER: Looking back, Mike Vick’s story was epic|
|Written by Scott Gleeson, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 14 February 2011 20:22|
This past November, my two best friends and I attended the Redskins vs. Eagles Monday Night Football game.
Our seats at FedEx Field in Washington were decent, but not worth over $100.
“So like do you really feel a connection or is this relationship just sexual,” the drunk guy to my left asked his three-day girlfriend.
That was followed by a dude wearing a sweater vest who was clearly trying to fight an Eagles fan.
“You Irish?” was his best jab at the big biceps guy who wanted to “meet in the parking lot.”
And I thought Bears vs. Packers got intense.
Meanwhile, Michael Vick shaked and baked his way to six touchdowns on the night, four through the air and two on the ground, to help the Eagles annihilate the Donovan McNabb-led Redskins 59-28.
Vick’s performance, which gave him a 158.3 passer rating, made for the best game performance of the 2010 season.
After a rowdy first half in the game, fans started to pile out due to the blowout 45-14 halftime score and rain pouring down so my friends and I eventually ended up sitting front row.
When Vick was running to the locker room following the game, I heard first an “MVP” cheer…which was immediately followed by a “Vick killed my dog” cheer.
Those hot and cold remarks, although in a Washington Redskins, hate-the-Eagles crowd, paints an interesting picture on Vick’s resurgence as a football player and person.
Most football fans, myself included, have forgiven Vick for his involvement in running a dog fighting operation, which led to a 2007 conviction and time in prison.
Most fans, that is.
“[Vick] had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game, and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle told MLB.com. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
Vick has made all the right moves in the community, in interviews and most importantly, on the field, as the once third string QB fought his way to being the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
There’s a special ingredient to the comeback recipe that will overlook killing animals. It’s called winning.
If Tiger Woods would finally check back into the win column, no one aside from Oprah and a few feminists would care that he’s a terrible, sexaholic husband.
Vick went from hitting rock bottom in ’07, to signing a deal with the Eagles in ’09, to flirting with NFL MVP honors this past season.
With this past NFL season in the rearview mirror and a lockout ensuing, Vick’s comeback story is something to savor.
He surely dug himself out of the doghouse.
“I think 25 percent of people are for him—those are the football fans—25 percent of people hate him and 50 percent are right in the middle,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture senior agent Jim Knorr, the man who led the U.S. government’s investigation of Vick’s dogfighting case.
“A lot of Eagles fans didn’t like it when the team first signed him. If he had a horrible season, would Eagles fans still be supporting him?”
Consider me one of the first 25 percent. I’m sorry, folks, but Vick has paid for his wrongdoings.
I’m as big of a dog lover as anybody and yes I’m aware that Vick electrocuted dogs, hung them with jumper cables, and held them under water.
However, I firmly believe in second chances, though and the American people should too. Since when have dogs become more important than people?
Let’s consider that Donte Stallworth went to jail for less than 30 days after hitting and killing a person. Stallworth probably pleaded in court that he was a dog lover to get off easy.
That and what animal rights activists should realize is that Vick’s story has helped shine light on the seriousness of dogfighting.
His actions spoke louder than words, but his words were all the right ones. Whether it was speaking to young kids or handling playing second fiddle to Kevin Kolb at the start of the season, Vick was humble to the end.
Vick: “I always wanted a second chance. I’m so thankful that Roger [Goodell] was grateful enough to give me a second chance.”
Once the highest paid player in the NFL with the Falcons, Vick now can bank on endorsements and a lucrative contract.
In Knorr’s eyes, though, and in many, only time will tell.
“The only way the public is going to know if he’s sincere is to revisit it five to eight years from now, when he’s not playing in the NFL and getting endorsements.”
When I first started working at the Vidette as a freshman, my editor purposely ran Michael Vick AP stories in abundance to irritate his co-editor, Scott Kupiec.
Back then, it seemed like the Vick headlines would never be positive.
So, this one’s for you, Todd Froemling. One more Vick story can’t hurt.