Thursday, May 31, 2007

Michael Vick twists in the wind

On the Michael Vick front, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that investigators are collecting enough evidence to recommend an indictment to a grand jury in July. Other newspapers are reading that to mean "charges likely." The story did not say of whom or for what.

This story will hang around all season. A few days ago, John Riggins on his radio show suggested that Vick come forward, if he's guilty of something ("Vick knows what he's done" was the way Riggo put it), and get past this thing now to avoid the corrosive effect of the scandal. If he's innocent, there isn't much he can do but wait it out.

If I were innocent, I would be in every venue that would have me to say so, regardless of the advice of legal council, who undoubtedly advised Vick to keep quiet.

Alexander Freund posted "Dog fighting aside..." on Bleacher Report, a thoughtful assessment of Michael Vick as a quarterback. Yes, he finds him lacking, but points fingers at the Atlanta Falcons for trying to make Vick into something that he is not. Freund implies that Atlanta might have been better off by implementing an option offense to exploit Vick's extraordinary talent. Jim Mora, Jr. ran the west coast offense. Vick, the NFL's highest paid player, has yet to equal Montana or McNabb in that system.

Interesting thought. Perhaps Atlanta should have hired coach Paul Johnson, who's been quite successful running the triple-option offense at Navy. The Midshipmen usually rank near the top of the charts for running offense. The pros are too swift and strong to be beat by the option. But, they haven't faced the option with Vick who could be a mega threat in that scheme.

The Falcons may have had that in mind when they replaced Mora with college coach Bobby Petrino who distinguished himself with his Louisville offense. Petrino had a hand in Mark Brunell's success at Jacksonville. Brunell in the '90s was a force of nature. On the small world front, Petrino was one of the annual offensive coordinators who cycled through Jason Campbell's career at Auburn University.

Yeah, Vick has yet to live up to the hype, but this is still painful to me.
Over at Hog Heaven, the comments about Clinton Portis have taken an ugly turn. Enough to require moderation by the site. This is another indication that CP is in for it this season. His rep has taken a hit. He will not live down his comments anytime soon.

I'd like to think that Clinton is just young; that he hasn't seen enough to understand the nexus between mistreatment of animals and the potential mistreatment of people. Animal abusers don't always know the distinction. That's why it is a big deal. I think CP will get it by the time he's 40. For now, he's perplexed at the reaction to his comments. Human nature is such that Portis will see the problem as "them" and not in his dismissive attitude to cruelty.
Speaking of human nature, I do feel some sympathy for Vick. I've often wondered if I could stand up to great wealth. If I hit one of those mega-million dollar lotto's, I would take care of family and contribute to good causes. Then, I would become a recluse -- it's my personality -- plus all those annoying salesmen, financial advisers, process servers, distant relatives I never met, people I haven't seen since second grade, guys from college with pictures and sleazy people showing interest in my children. However, I would also have to guard against indulging my weaknesses. It would take a strenuous effort. Repercussions from crossing society's line helps keep most people in line. We don't want to get caught and we don't want to lose our stuff. When you are so wealthy that you can flout convention without penalty, you become Michael Jackson. And maybe, you become Michael Vick.

I'm not sure I would be equal to the challenge (I'd welcome the chance to try). If Vick is not, it's as much because he's human as for any character flaws.

Makes great soap opera, though.
Meanwhile, the silver lining in this sad episode is the new attention focuses on dog fighting. See After Dogs Death, A Warning.

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