Bill Plaschke: Don't be fooled by the 'new' Michael Vick
The NFL is back, and so is America’s favorite football villain, running the field, juking the world, boggling the mind.
It’s still a Vick-eat-Vick world out there.
This time, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is destroying his image with his mouth, saying some things in an upcoming GQ magazine story that are far more stunning than last season’s 100.2 quarterback rating.
Barely two years after completing a 21-month prison sentence for dogfighting, Vick has apparently regained his swagger, not only on the field but also on the streets, where the perpetrator is recasting himself as the victim. He knows America’s sports fans have forgiven, now he wants them to completely forget because, really, what’s the big deal anyway?
"For a while it was all, 'Scold Mike Vick, scold Mike Vick, just talk bad about him like he’s not a person,' " Vick told the magazine. "It was almost as if everyone wanted to hate me. But what have I done to anybody? It was something that happened, and it was people trying to make some money."
What has he done to anybody? It was something that happened? It was people trying to make some money?
"Yeah, you got the family dog and the white picket fence and you just think that’s all there is," Vick told the magazine. "Some of us had to grow up in poverty-stricken urban neighborhoods and we just had to adapt to our environment. I know it’s wrong. But people act like it’s some crazy thing they never heard of. They don’t know."
Nice to see that Vick is still trying to rationalize his behavior at the expense of the millions of people in this country who don’t use their depressed economic status as an excuse to fight dogs.
"A lot of people got out of it after my situation, not because I went to prison but because it was sad for them to see me go through something so pointless, that could have been avoided," Vick told the magazine.
The only thing pointless, it seems, is continuing to think that Michael Vick’s renewal on the football field has led to a reinvention of his character. It hasn’t. It won’t. America needs to stop believing.
The only real news in the GQ story was Vick’s claim that he could have signed and started for the Cincinnati Bengals or Buffalo Bills, yet the NFL steered him toward a backup role in Philadelphia so his comeback would be slower and quieter.
Some say fans in those first two cities should be outraged. I say they should be thankful.
-- Bill Plaschke
Photos, from top: Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick at practice Saturday; an unadorned Vick. Credits: Rich Shultz / Associated Press; BET