Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The two faces of Michael Vick

Call this one the two faces of Michael Vick.

No, I am not tired of talking about the comeback quarterback. I find his case one of the most fascinating stories to come down the pike in years.

Consider the diametrically opposed positions the Eagles starting quarterback found himself in yesterday.

His face graces the cover of Sports Illustrated that hit newsstands yesterday. The headline reads “The Enigma: What Michael Vick Tells Us About Ourselves.”

In it Vick talks for the first time about the ill-fated birthday party last summer in Virginia Beach that almost short-circuited his comeback after a person was shot.

In reading the story you get the impression Vick now realizes - maybe - just how close he came to throwing his comeback away before it even got started.
I will be even more interested to see if he has finally learned that he simply can’t put himself in those kinds of situations.

Vick also learned yesterday that he is the leading vote-getter among quarterbacks for the NFC All-Pro team, and trails only Peyton Manning among all QBs.

Contrast all that to the face of Vick that appeared at two high schools in New Haven, Conn. Vick made the appearances in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States. Vick spoke openly about his past and the evils of dogfighting.

Maybe the most compelling is what he told these kids about the conversations he has with his own children.

Yes, Vick served 18 months in federal prison in conjunction with the dogfighting operation he ran. But he continues to pay a price.

“Nowadays, every day my daughters ask me if we can get a dog,” Vick told the kids. “I can’t get a dog for my kids.”

Vick is barred from owning animals as part of his probation.

That is a different face from the one that appears on SI, and certainly different from the one we see on Sunday.

And finally there is this when it comes to Vick. It’s among the many things that fascinate me about this case, even if it’s one I’m not exactly thrilled to admit.

My dilemma is this: If Vick were doing what he is doing now for the Eagles, only in the uniform of the Dallas Cowboys or any other NFL team, would we be nearly as forgiving?

I think I know that answer to that. I’m not proud of it, but I do not think I’d be alone in looking at the situation a whole lot differently, and with a much less forgiving attitude.

Like I said, just a fascinating story. I know many of you disagree, that you are tired of Vick, that you are tired of the media constantly throwing him in your face, that you have not forgiven what he did.

Better get used to it. The Eagles Sunday game against the Bears has been bumped back to 4:15. It will be the Fox national game, with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth.

The story goes on.

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