By Mark Bradley | Thursday, August 16, 2007, 10:40 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
I want to be clear about something: I take no pleasure from Michael Vickâ€™s legal difficulties. I like Michael Vick. Iâ€™ve never had a cross word with him. Iâ€™ve been around him for six years, and Iâ€™ve seen him handle himself with surpassing grace in some difficult situations. Iâ€™ve always thought â€” indeed, Iâ€™ve written â€” that the Falcons were lucky to have a nice guy as their superstar.
I have never believed that, as a player, he was anything but a first-rate quarterback. And yes, I said a quarterback, as opposed to a glorified running back. Iâ€™ve seen him throw the ball too well too often to buy into that canard. Iâ€™ve seen him win too many games â€” as an NFL starter, last season was his first with a losing record, and I believe that was a function of lousy coaching â€” to consider himself anything but an on-field asset.
I continue to believe in his right to due process. But I also believe he has, no matter the disposition of his court case, let an awful lot of people down. Whether we like it or not, athletes are seen as heroes and role models. Whether we like it or not, athletes touch the masses in a way that, say, a poet or a physics instructor or a patrolman never can. I believe Vickâ€™s descent from star player to celebrity defendant has diminished us all.
I get paid not to root for teams or players, but Iâ€™m a human being. And I can only imagine what Michael Vick, a human being himself, is going through right now. That was the genesis of the column I wrote Tuesday afternoon. I kept asking how it must feel to be Michael Vick not because I was trying to be funny but because I have no idea how it feels.
I know only how I feel about this whole thing. I feel really sad.
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.
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