By Jeff Schultz | Friday, August 24, 2007, 06:03 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A coward to the end.
He wonâ€™t directly say he killed dogs. He will admit to heading a group of degenerates when dogs were killed. Does somebody award points for semantics? â€œOokieâ€ tells â€œTâ€ or â€œQâ€ or â€œP-Funkâ€ to â€œDrown the dog,â€ but he keeps his hands in his pocket. Is this the Vito Corleone defense?
A coward to the end.
He wonâ€™t admit to gambling on dogfights. But heâ€™ll admit to funding an illegal business enterprise that gambles. Well, that should appease NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Because Iâ€™m sure if â€œBad Newz Kennelsâ€ ever accumulated significant gambling debts, a bookie would pressure â€œTâ€ or â€œQâ€ or â€œP Funkâ€ â€” not the NFL player with the $130 million contract who gave the money to â€œTâ€ or â€œQâ€ or â€œP-Funk.â€
How does this happen? How can somebody we admire for his courage on the field turn into such an invertebrate off of it?
He runs in games. Did he have to run in the real world? Is it that difficult to admit guilt and say, â€œItâ€™s my fault. Everything.â€
We are, by nature, forgiving. We embrace the comeback. We want people to overcome obstacles, shed their baggage, become whole again.
This we shouldnâ€™t forgive. First, we need to see remorse. Michael Vick hides behind attorneys like an offensive line. If only he had hid that well as a Falcons quarterback, he never wouldâ€™ve been sacked.
He doesnâ€™t care about the truth. He cares about exact wording in legal PDFs.
He doesnâ€™t care about accepting responsibility. He cares about limiting blame.
If he feels anything, he doesnâ€™t show it. Itâ€™s only obvious that heâ€™s sorry he got caught. That doesnâ€™t count. Thatâ€™s pathetic. Heâ€™s pathetic. Vick doesnâ€™t need a 12-step program for healing. He needs a conscience.
When will he realize that he did something wrong? When heâ€™s laying in a cell, wide awake at 2 a.m.? When heâ€™s scrubbing a floor or washing dishes for 12 cents an hour? Maybe while heâ€™s under house arrest, walking around with an ankle bracelet?
Try avoiding the rush with that, big guy. Thereâ€™s your new Michael Vick Experience.
This is not how people with character defects should begin rehabilitation. This is not how to repair an image or damaged career aspirations.
Come clean on everything. Express sorrow, contrition â€” then weâ€™ll talk.
Vick did what cowards do. He not only hid behind some legalese, he agreed to cooperate with the government in turning in others. Maybe you view that as being a team player. But thereâ€™s another view: There goes the street cred.
Page 5 of the plea agreement reads: â€œThe defendant agrees to cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States, and provide all information known to the defendant regarding any criminal activity as requested by the government.â€ It states this includes testimony at grand juries and trials. Vick also must submit to a polygraph test at the whim of the government.
Nobody agrees to such mandates unless theyâ€™re backed to the edge of a cliff, with the cavalry approaching. So why not just come completely clean? At least he would look like he cared?
I canâ€™t imagine the hundreds of thousand of dollars Vick will have paid attorneys when this is over. I hope the verbiage was worth it.
We knew he struggled to read defenses. Turns out he canâ€™t read an offense, either. The story broke in April in Surry County, Va. Vickâ€™s reaction: â€œIâ€™m never at the house. I left the house with my family members and my cousin. They just havenâ€™t been doing the right thing. â€¦ Itâ€™s unfortunate I have to take the heat behind it.â€
He thought it would go away, of course, like a disappearing water bottle incident. He goofed. Had he settled things with Virginia authorities, maybe the â€œUnited States vs. Michael Vick, a/k/a â€˜Ookie,â€™â€ never happens.
Then officials dug up the yard at 1915 Moonlight Road. They found dog corpses. Vick still thought, â€œI canâ€™t be tied to this.â€ The lying continued. Vickâ€™s fan base screamed racism or warnings about the Duke case revisited.
Then it fell apart. â€œTâ€ and â€œQâ€ and â€œP-Funkâ€ rolled on him. Suddenly, Vick was the last man standing. The last coward standing.
Maybe one day heâ€™ll step to a microphone and express remorse. But weâ€™re past the point of trust. Repentance needs to be wired to a polygraph.
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