Posted 07/27/2007 at 06:03 PM
When I dubbed Michael Vick with the moniker "Michael Sick," I was making reference to his electric scrambling ability and moves in the open field. I had no idea the nickname could apply to his alleged behavior off the field.
When critics would call out Vick for a poor passing percentage, I always had his back, pointing to a plethora of reasons like:
2-An offensive philosophy focused on the ground game.
3-All that matters is "W's."
4-Rushing yards to compensate for a lack of passing yards.
I always had Vick's back and I had no doubt he would eventually lead the Falcons to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Now that seems implausible. Unless Vick is acquitted, there's no chance he plays for the Falcons again. And it might be a foregone conclusion anyway.
Even though it's nobody's fault but Vick's, it sucks nonetheless. For the city of Atlanta, for Arthur Blank, for life-long Falcons fans like me, for Joe Horn and for Rich McKay, this whole situation just sucks.
Vick has owned this city since the day he got here. Blank inked him to a $130 million contract that seemingly made Vick a Falcon for life.
Fans and teammates were willing to let him slide as long as he kept scoring touchdowns. We let the Ron Mexico deal slide, we didn't care about the hidden compartment in the water bottle, we were ok with the bird finger and even let him slide when he skipped out on an appearance before Congress.
But not anymore. At the very least, he's guilty of being extremely ignorant. At the very least, he's guilty of letting his cousins and associates train, breed and fight dogs at a property he owned. At the very least, he's guilty of ruining Arthur Blank's summer. At the very least, he's guilty of chafing his teammates beyond belief before the games have even begun. At the very least, he's guilty of making season-ticket buyers spend their money on tickets for games that Joey Harrington is now going to start instead of him.
And really, isn't that enough? Do we need to even go further? Do the Falcons need the distractions Vick will bring with him no matter where he is for the next 2-3 years?
That playoff win at Lambeau Field, the first ever by an opponent at Green Bay, seems so long ago, when the Falcons future was so bright you needed a pair of Ray-Ban's. That run at Minnesota, when he darted in and out of traffic and split a pair of defenders who rammed into each other en route to a game-winning touchdown run in overtime, seems so long ago.
The blowout win over the Rams in the 2004 playoffs seems so long ago.
Hell, Jim Mora's tenure seems so long ago. It has been a horrible off-season for the Falcons, as the face of the franchise has become the poster boy of dogfighting.
And in his first chance to help himself out yesterday when he was arraigned in federal court in Richmond, all he did was make all the wrong moves -- again.
For starters, he didn't stand up like a man and face the world. Instead, he had his lawyer read a prepared statement in which he apologized for being absent from "spring training."
Huh? Now I know this lawyer is supposed to be good, but he's off to a terrible start in my opinion. First, he doesn't get the sport right; it's training camp in football, spring training in baseball, you dummy!
Next, after fumbling on Vick's statement, the lawyer introduced the defense team, ranting on and on about the experience of each lawyer.
How did that translate to me? This is what I got out of it:
1-Michael Vick is very wealthy.
2-Vick is spending that money on expensive lawyers.
3-Vick is going to have his lawyers do all the talking.
4-This dream team of lawyers reminds me of the O.J. trial.
So, it's clearly established that Vick has tons of money, which makes him look all the more ignorant for getting himself into this unfathomable situation.
Further, he has a dream team of lawyers that reminds us of O.J. Well, O.J. might have got off, but he was guilty as hell, so why would you want the public to be reminded of that sorry episode?
Remember, even if Vick beats the legal system, he still has Roger Goodell to deal with. Therefore, O.J.-like innocence won't cut it; he's got to be Duke Lacrosse innocent if he wants to play in the NFL anytime soon.
I think Vick plays again -- likely for the Raiders or Cowboys -- but unless the legal momentum shifts and the tide of public opinion starts to turn, he won't be touching a field anytime before 2008 and most likely not until 2009.
And some might find that as a best-case scenario for Michael Vick.
Wow, that's a long way from a $100-plus million contract, a long way from a Nike deal and a long way from finding paydirt anytime soon.
The cheers have turned to boos. The fans have turned into protesters, and the Michael Vick era has turned into the Joey Harrington era in Atlanta.
But Michael Sick made his bed, and now he'll sleep in it.