Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Free Mike Vick!


I've never liked Roddy White. And the unveiling of his homemade "Free Mike Vick" shirt on Monday Night Football was proof positive that he needs to focus on catching footballs and not ghettotastic craft projects.

Indeed, Mike Vick has to do his time. He'll be freed in 23 or so months. And that's soon enough. I'm not totally comfortable that so many resources have gone toward a crime without an obvious human victim or that $1 million in restitution was set aside for the care of dogs, but Vick was sentenced fairly. He didn't get sentenced to lethal injection. He'll have plenty of time to get on with his life after the fact.

From the time of the initial rumblings of criminal activity to the indictment to the plea to the sentencing, you'd think plenty of time would have passed for me to finally be angry at Michael Vick. I'll admit he's almost ruined my NFL season. I love the NFL generally, but love starts at home. And with my hometown team in turmoil, it's hard. And this year all the pundits can unanimously agree the Falcons underachieved because of Michael Vick.

But how can I be wholeheartedly angry at somebody so dumb? And since the time of the initial rumblings, indictment, etcetera, it's become increasingly apparent that Michael Vick is as simpleminded as they come. Back in the spring, I wondered why the Virginia property wasn't cleared of evidence once it was known Vick's cousin caught a case. I wondered why Vick wasn't more upfront in the initial police and NFL investigations. I wondered why Vick allowed the other defendants to flip on him. I was stupefied when I found out he decided he couldn't forego weed after he plead out to the charges. I was puzzled when I noticed Vick didn't even bother to remove the kennels and other canine accoutrement from the Virginia property before he sold it, allowing the new owner to hold an open house of canine macabre for the general public. And I was flat out floored when I learned that Michael lied to federal agents and failed a polygraph test concerning his involvement in the whole mess.

Nice try on the early surrender, the prompt restitution and the contrite statements, but Vick's stupidity ultimately sealed his fate in the eyes of the judge.

And because I suspect Vick is more stupid than evil, I still have empathy for him. Michael Vick is gone for now. I have no doubt he will play football again. He'll be young enough and the NFL will always need athletes. If Favre, Testaverde and Warner can play quarterback, so can Michael Vick. Arthur Blank said the Falcons were moving on, but he didn't actually say Vick would never play for the team again. I would wager New England Patriot odds that the Falcons will still be in turmoil in 2009, so there's no need for the Falcons to completely close that door especially if they actually want to recoup their financial losses from Vick's absence.

Furthermore, I still hold out hope that Michael Vick is more ignorant than stupid... That he has learned and that he will learn from his mistakes. Until then, I am left only to mourn my hometown team, ponder the relative dignity of a courtroom artist's sketch versus a mugshot and pray that Michael doesn't become a full blown Quincy Carter/Maurice Clarett statistic. And I await to see what Mike knows in 2009.