This is an especially sad day for me as a sports fan. I should know better, as I have heard it all before. “Athletes are people and people are fallible.” “Never be surprised when a famous person falls off his pedestal.” However, Michael Vick was different for me and now the Atlanta Falcons quarterback has been indicted on dogfighting charges. This is the last straw!
This just proves what we all know intuitively. Ignorance does not have a tax bracket. All of us non-superstar athletes have the same reaction every time something like this happens. How can someone be so fortunate, so gifted, yet put so much at risk? How could someone working under a $130 million dollar contract and making millions more in endorsements put it all in the wind? How could someone with Michael Jordan talent have Michael Tyson recklessness? How can Vick be such a punk? Now I feel Vick-timized!
I know I should not be surprised. People make knuckleheaded choices every day that put the trajectory of their lives at risk. Somewhere, a married father of three will take drive home drunk. Somewhere, two lovers conspire to kill their spouses for the insurance money. And every day, people allow common frailty rather than common sense to govern their actions.
But not Michael Vick, I thought. He was “my man!” He was the one that sold me on the season ticket package. It was his number that I first put on my baby boy’s back. It was he that I defended endlessly in arguments about how an athlete of his unique skills at the quarterback position should be evaluated. It was also he that told me, in so many words, not to put so much faith in him. The “Ron Mexico” alias. The funny-smelling water bottle. The one finger fan salute. All of these incidents taken individually are not all that damning, but taken together are way, way too many for a would-be franchise quarterback.
And now he has been indicted, and not on some garden variety “boys-will-be-boys” charges, but some truly depraved behavior. This is dogfighting — gruesome, inhumane business. Only monsters traffic in this stuff! And I can only assume that indictments don’t happen by accident. Generally, you can only be harmed if you put yourself in harm’s way. So even if Vick were to beat this rap, he would have been much too close to it for my comfort.
This is the last straw! Okay, if I am really being honest with myself, this is not really the last straw. It’s the second to last straw, with the last straw being a conviction. I have put too much time, too much effort, and too much passion into rooting for Michael Vick to completely turn my back on him without a conviction. However, I do hear Maroon 5 warming up in the background. Give me something to believe in / ‘Cause I don’t believe in you anymore.