Thursday, March 04, 2010
HARRY LYNCH / Raleigh News & Observer
Stephen A. Smith: Michael Vick Clueless Again
By Stephen A. Smith
Inquirer Sports Columnist
He has lost millions. He has been out of federal custody only since July and is still seeking some semblance of redemption. One would think the last thing Michael Vick would do is tarnish his image any more than he already has. But then that would be assuming that the Eagles' reserve quarterback gave a shred of thought to what he was doing during a trip to Atlanta over the weekend.
How Vick is clueless to this reality after all he has been through is beyond comprehension. The same guy who begged for a second chance from everyone from the National Football League to any dog-loving American decided to revert to his clueless ways in a different variety this time around.
The "Gangsta Grillz" radio program? Has anyone ever heard of it? By now, many have heard of this radio show in Atlanta, since Vick - a convicted felon who served 19 months in prison for conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation - appeared in the studio, promoting his desire to play for the Carolina Panthers.
It's bad enough that Vick's name is associated with anything "gangsta," to be honest. Regardless of the harmless nature of the show (one that's not associated with gangster activity), the fact is that most of the people whose support Vick covets wouldn't know the difference. But when you add that Vick was basically politicking for another job, clearly looking to move beyond the limits of a backup role in Philadelphia - behind Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb - there's a lot to be said about the manner in which he's handling things.
Classless is a word that comes to mind.
"If I could play for any team in the league, it would probably be two teams, but if I had to pick one it would probably be the Carolina Panthers," Vick told the crew from WHTA-FM in Atlanta. "You know, it's close to home. I like the uniforms. You get to play against Atlanta twice a year. Ain't nothing better than playing against your former team, right? So, yeah, that would be a good look."
Perhaps Vick needs to be educated about the fact that Charlotte, N.C., where the Panthers play, is considered to be in the Bible Belt, a place where character is as important as one's performance on the field.
Charlotte doesn't take kindly to folks accused of abusing, maiming and killing dogs, let alone someone who has served hard time because of it. And who would appreciate Vick's picking anywhere other than Philadelphia as his place of preference for the 2010 season?
Certainly no one around here. At least not right now.
It was the Eagles who plucked Vick from the walls of Leavenworth prison and gave him a $1.6 million salary last season - as a favor to coach and mentor Tony Dungy. It was the Eagles who threw in a second-year option with a $1.5 million roster bonus if Vick was still on the Eagles as of March 9. The Eagles still might elect to pay him a salary of $3.5 million next season, despite Vick's passing a grand total of 13 times for 86 yards in 2009.
Everyone knows Vick wants to be a starter in the NFL. We get it. Electrifying in every way, he was once the highest-paid player in the game, signing a $130 million deal. But when you lie to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and commissioner Roger Goodell about your role in dogfighting activity, you redeem yourself by shutting your mouth and doing little to embarrass yourself further.
Clearly, Vick is trying to play ball. Who can blame him? I wouldn't want to play behind Kolb, either - assuming McNabb gets traded, which I doubt will happen. But when you're Michael Vick, you don't get to just spout on what you feel. Not now. Not for the rest of your career. Not after what Vick has done. Remember, there's still a strong need to ingratiate himself with the many patrons who walk their dogs on Sundays before paying their hard-earned money to see him play.
We all thought Vick got this message. At least for a minute. But his recent activity shows us otherwise.
So here's a reminder before he does something else foolish and it's too late to save him from himself, again.
Somebody needs to tell him. ASAP, apparently.
Contact columnist Stephen A. Smith at 215-854-5846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by tha artivist at 8:44 PM