Did Michael Vick on 60 Minutes Convince You?

The first word I thought of after watching Michael Vick’s interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night was stoic.

The young man was stoic, unemotional, yet at the same time straight to the point, and quite direct in taking personal responsibility for the actions that led him to a prison cell.

The second thing I thought about was the fact that I didn’t think the conversation with James Brown (CBS Sports) would change many minds, one way or the other.

Michael Vick has his supporters, and for them his was a stellar performance. For his detractors, performance is the operative word. They won’t be convinced by what they saw Sunday that Michael Vick has transformed himself from the guy who oversaw the dogfighting ugliness now so closely associated with his name.

Not knowing Michael Vick personally, I take him at his word that he understands the depravity of dogfighting, and his responsibility to steer young people away from it, as he says the elders in his community didn’t do with him. Yet from the beginning, the most powerful ally Vick has is former NFL coach Tony Dungy. When he speaks of working with young people in prison, his words have a ring of truth no matter what you think of Michael Vick. It’s Tony Dungy, after all, who lost his own son to suicide.

So for Michael Vick, there are second chances. His signing by the Philadelphia Eagles was as much about commerce as altruism , but that’s the nature of professional sports. Animal lovers in Philly may hate what team ownership has done, but if Michael Vick can help his team get to the Super Bowl, it will have been worth the risk.

The risks for Michael Vick, however, are different. Nobody in their right mind thinks he’ll ever get near dogfighting again, but his judgment will be tested in other, more subtle ways. Like when his teammates decide to hang out at that most dangerous place for professional athletes, the strip club. There were reports, since vehemently denied, that he spent his first night out of prison ay a Virginia Beach strip club with NBA star Allen Iverson. Iverson’s agent  said he hadn’t seen Vick since his release, but what happens down the road?

Will he take up with the same group of hangers-on he consorted with when he was with the Atlanta Falcons? The Michael Vick on 60 Minutes Sunday seemed smart enough to avoid such pitfalls, but you never know. Plaxico Burress didn’t seem dumb enough to carry a loaded weapon into a Manhattan club and shoot himself with it, either.

What do you think?

Did Michael Vick convince you he’s sincere?

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1 Comment

  1. Right after having a conversation with my daughter (12) about the dangers of watching daytime court TV (because to protect the ratings, at least one of the participants does a good job of dishing out excuses), I saw this column. I’ve worked with young people for 35 years, mostly disadvantaged, and there was no way I could make a selection in your poll. I’m sure in Mr. Vick’s heart, he wants to avoid that pitfall again. But, avoiding a particular pitfall is different from reforming a life so that pitfall is not attractive anymore. Mr. Vick would have to take steps to fill much of his free time with mentors who are in no way associated with his sport. Because of his notoriety, if he is a free agent in his social life, the trouble-makers will find him – they WILL. When kids have that problem, the solution is to keep them so busy the trouble-makers won’t find them available. Maybe it won’t be dogfighting, but there are a lot of other really bad things out there that athletes are attracted to, because they are far away from their families so much. It isn’t Michael Vick, it’s the culture that takes its toll. If Mr. Vick wants to win, he will have to be incredibly proactive, not just stoic. We all pray that he makes those choices.


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