Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Things Should Be Easy to Say

Statements being made about Michael Vick by other athletes have an interesting context.

Joe Horn, veteran Falcons wide receiver, gave this adamant statement about Michael Vick:

“I love Michael Vick as a friend and I'm going to always be his friend. People go through things in life, and you can't throw stones when you live in a glass house; and I'm not going to judge him and I'm not going to step away and not be his friend off the football field because he's going through what he's going through.

“I'm not saying what Mike was involved with was OK, I'm not agreeing with that. I think it was wrong and I know he will have to deal with the consequences. But off the football field he's a friend and ... I'm not going to step away from Michael Vick as a human being and say, 'I'm not involved with you, I don't want anything to do with you, don't call me.'”

I don't think it's a coincidence that a veteran NFLer felt comfortable expressing his feelings about Vick. Joe Horn is over the hump in playing years. He likely doesn't fear much professional retribution or penalty for speaking his mind. He may just be brazen in his old age. But experience may have taught him that there is often no reward for staying on the fence.

Compare Horn's statements to those of other players. DeAngelo Hall, supposedly one of the superstars and de facto leaders of the Falcons and one of Vick's teammates at Virginia Tech didn't even feel comfortable making a statement.

“They’ve got me under a gag order."

Head Coach Petrino said any gag orders were self-imposed.

DeAngelo has never been afraid of the microphone before. I wonder why he didn't he feel comfortable expressing his feelings on the Vick situation, whatever his opinion may be. Is the media only useful for accusing people of spitting?

Also, Warrick Dunn made a statement basically in the same vein as Joe Horn's, but without nearly the same succinctness. Consequently, Dunn is constantly misunderstood.

"It's like we have a family member or brother done something wrong.

You chastise him but still have to support him at the same time.

"As an ex-teammate, right now [Coach Petrino] definitely wants the guys on this football team to move on and move forward. You can't stay in a certain place. He expects us to go out and play hard. Do we wish he was here? Of course but he circumstances say otherwise."

Most media recounts chopped up that quote and derived, "Dunn is the first to call Vick an ex-teammate." Dunn will likely be calling Vick once again to complain about being misquoted and taken out of context. Dunn should just say what he means instead of wasting words trying not to offend anybody.

Stephon Marbury also didn't feel shy about sharing what was on his mind. Also, Stephon Marbury called Vick a "good human being."

"We don't say anything about people shooting deers and shooting other animals, you know what I mean?. From what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors and I think it's tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down ... I think he fell into a bad situation."

What makes Stephon so brazen? His guaranteed contract?

Marbury can speak without fear of professional retribution. He can say pretty much whatever he wants knowing he can go to work the next day. An NFL player frequently lacks that sense of security.

And Marbury has more than just a player contract to worry about. He has media interests, charitable endeavors and endorsements to maintain. Still, Marbury seems comfortable enough in his own skin to be himself. The path to success is not always paved with political correctness.

Whether it's the contrast of NBAers not hesitating to take shots at the league over a dirty referee versus an NFLer like Tiki Barber saving his shots at the quarterback until he's safely behind the desk, it's often apparent that athletes have to be in a certain situation to be truly outspoken. We should be aware that what we hear from them is filtered.


Another veteran player, Fred McCrary, speaks freely.


Jarrett Carter said...

Would be nice if athletes were more outspoken on issues pertinent to the communities from which they came.

JJ said...

Jim Brown had his problems but hte man always said what he felt. White people be damned.

Sportsbruh said...

De Angelo Hall is a COMPLETE PUNK. You can tell he was ALWAYS jealous of Vick's Fame. Now that he's gone He thinks he's going to be the face of the franchize.

LOL, what a joke. Who wants to be the face of a franchize that's going 4-12?

errrrbody else gets an ATTA BOY. LOL.

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