With government closing in, Falcons QB needs to tell us what he did
By Bob Cook
Updated: 12:30 a.m. ET Aug. 14, 2007
(Representative sent by court of public opinion stands behind car, pulls out bullhorn, presses button to turn it on.)
â€œAhem, um, can somebody show me how to stop that static? And that feedback? This button? Great, got it.
â€œYeah, OK. Attention, Michael Vick. We know youâ€™re in there, and we have you surrounded. Time for you to come out, and come clean. Walk out now, and we wonâ€™t have to kill your career.
â€œThere is no other way out. Your corporate sponsors have dropped you.
PETA is building a permanent encampment outside your door, and outside the Atlanta Falcons headquarters. You know â€˜Tâ€™ already copped a plea.
And now, so have â€˜P-Funkâ€™ and â€˜Q.â€™ By the way, I am making finger quotes when I use your dogfighting buddiesâ€™ nicknames.
â€œExcuse me, alleged dogfighting buddies. Well, not for long, if I read those plea deals correctly. And they are going to drag you down with them. Especially if you donâ€™t come clean about â€˜Bad Newz Kennels.â€™ Iâ€™m making finger quotes on that one, too. Itâ€™s not easy to do, what with this bullhorn in my hand.
â€œThe NFL doesnâ€™t want you. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference ran from you like uranium after it said it would honor you. I guess if thereâ€™s any upside, at least this dogfighting rap is making everyone forget about Ron Mexico and that water bottle with the secret compartment. You can make your own finger quotes on Ron Mexico, Michael.
â€œYou were a great story, Michael. Kid from a rough, rough place, public housing project, Newport News, from the real Bad Newz neighborhood.
Becomes a quarterbacking phenom at Virginia Tech. No. 1 pick. Big bucks.
Actually gets Atlanta caring about one of its pro sports teams. Looks like heâ€™ll revolutionize the game. Big heart, and wallet, for charity.
Remember those days? Beating Green Bay in Lambeau during the playoffs, when no one else could?
â€œThose days are over, Michael. You canâ€™t run around this like the Ramsâ€™ defensive front seven. If you have any hope of playing in the NFL again, even for the Cincinnati Bengals, you should come out and be honest about what youâ€™ve been up to. Donâ€™t throw your life away. I know youâ€™re not capable of doing that, because Iâ€™ve seen you throw. Sorry, cheap shot.
â€œListen, Michael. Your only hope is to tell us everything you did with the dogfighting. You need to tell us whether you were just the money man, as your alleged friend â€˜Tâ€™ said, or whether you were doing the worst of everything federal prosecutors said you did. Or, if you didnâ€™t do any of it, you better have more than your lawyer telling us why youâ€™re clean and pure.
â€œYou better do it soon, because the NFL is ready to crush you even if prosecutors canâ€™t. Shoot, I know you probably think no one can find 12 people who have never heard of you, never heard of your case, and donâ€™t feel much either way about dogs. But the NFL doesnâ€™t need reasonable doubt. I donâ€™t care if Roger Goodell denies heâ€™s suspending you for the year â€“ somethingâ€™s coming, and you know it. The NFL wanted you to be its star of stars, but now it wants to forget you ever existed.
â€œHeck, even your teammates are starting to grow used to life without you. You know the final insult? Fantasy football guides are advising people not to draft you, even as some sort of late-round flier. Theyâ€™re advising people to draft Chris Henry before they think about drafting you. Ouch.
â€œThe only thing that can save you, Michael, is to come out and tell us what you did. And to apologize. I donâ€™t care if all you did was buy land, and then watch a bunch of flunkies screw it up. You better apologize for letting the likes of Tony Taylor, Purnell Peace and Quanas Phillips anywhere in your zip code. By the way, which one of them named you â€˜Ookie?â€™ Those clowns even stuck you with a dumb nickname, on top of everything else. I bet they made finger quotes around it behind your back.
â€œThings look really bad for you right now, Michael. But we all love a heartfelt apology. Not something like, â€˜mistakes were made,â€™ or â€˜Iâ€™m sorry to anyone who was offended,â€™ and especially not â€˜Iâ€™m sorry I canâ€™t choke the life out of those Bad Newz snitches.â€™ Something like, â€˜Look, Iâ€™ve really done it. I shouldnâ€™t have gotten involved in anything remotely like this. Itâ€™s cruel, itâ€™s inhumane, and letâ€™s face it, Iâ€™m making more than enough money that I donâ€™t need to be making stupid side investments like fighting dogs. Sheesh, I would be on firmer moral and financial ground starting a subprime home loan hedge fund. I ask that you forgive me, and I promise you that I will never do anything remotely like this again.â€™
â€œOr if youâ€™re innocent, just come out and give us a reason why we shouldnâ€™t believe any of this stuff. Really, Michael, we want to believe you. We know, innocent until proven guilty. We might have been ready to cut you a break for all the flack youâ€™ve gotten. That is, until we saw all of your buddies turn against you. And the ESPN report about how your lawyers were surprised by those plea deals, and how they would like to chat with you to see what you would like to do now. I donâ€™t have to tell you that doesnâ€™t look good. But I will anyway.
â€œI canâ€™t hold off this crowd much longer, Michael. Your sponsors, your fans, your career â€” itâ€™s all about to come crashing in on you if you donâ€™t step up and let us know whatâ€™s up.
â€œCan I promise you nothing will happen to you? No, sorry, I canâ€™t. But I can promise you that the longer youâ€™re holed up in there, the worse things will get.
â€œLet us know, Michael. And soon.
â€œSo I tell you what. Iâ€™m gonna take my finger off of this bullhorn, turn this sucker off, and wait for your response.â€
Bob Cook is a contributor to MSNBC.com and a freelance writer based in Chicago.
Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.
"None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm".
Henry David Thoreau
Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.
"Luck is the residue of design." - Branch Rickey