This morning I watched “The Sports Reporters” on ESPN and it dawned on me that the people that talk about/write about sports would have liked it a lot better if he came out of jail and sat on a bench never to be heard from again. It’s very interesting for them to give praise in one breath and take it away in another. I heard things like “he’s playing very well but let’s remember this is how we thought he would play, had he not gone to jail.” I also heard, “Andy Reid needs to keep him because Atlanta traded Matt Schaub five weeks before the dog fighting incident and he needs security.” Ummm excuse me?
The NFL is full of men of questionable character. There’s a reason they forced ESPN to stop airing “Playmakers” years ago, it hit a little too close to home. But what they can’t have, is a star player that they’ve placed on a pedestal misbehaving. It’s the same reason you’ve heard little more than a peep out of Ben Rothlisberger this season. Michael Vick is forcing people to notice him. The six (SIX!!!) touchdown performance against the Redskins forced him into the MVP discussion. This makes the people that talk about/write about sports noticeably uncomfortable. How do you heap praise on a man you vilified only a few short years ago?
For a long time I wondered if Michael Vick was vilified simply because he was black. But now I think it’s something wholly different. This has nothing to do with dogs or jail or anything substantial. I mean shoot, Donte Stallworth killed a man with his car, but no one seems to have any issue with him coming out of jail and signing with the Ravens. But Michael Vick, he was a star. He was one of the faces of the league. He was big time. He was the quarterback…and there’s the problem.
Every time Michael Vick has a good (borderline great) game his recent past is up for discussion. We’ve heard more about dog fighting and Leavenworth prison this season than the NFL would like. People like to compare his comeback to that of Ray Lewis (who went from the witness stand to the wackest Old Spice commercial ever) but let’s be real. Ray was never found guilty of anything and he never did any prison time (and if you believe the backlash, killing a person isn’t nearly as severe as killing dogs). All we can hope is that once this season is over, everyone (including the people that talk about/write about sports) can turn the page and move on and we can talk about something else. Who knows, maybe Brett Favre will unretire again.