Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.-- George Santayana
I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who was a reformed child molester, a reformed politician or a reformed dog fighter. Only one of those groups has the unmitigated and total lack of shame as to be seen in public but politicians are like that. As it turns out, Mike Vick is like that too, and he’s getting more shameless every day.
A few years back Mike Vick, and then he was known as Ron Mexico and was sued by a woman because he gave her herpes, was one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. Fresh off a great but ultimately disappointing season, the Atlanta Falcons ponied up a bundle of cash, hired a new head coach, and awaited the magical season that was sure to follow. There was some grumblings, of course, because Vick had a habit of fumbling as he ran, and he threw interceptions when hurried. There were rumors of chronic marijuana use and the people Vick began to surround himself with looked like the class reunion of a federal prison.
Of course, Vick was busted for dog fighting, the new coach went on to hog calling, and the Atlanta Falcons were out money and coach, and the butt of a very bad joke.
Last year Vick played well but in a playoff game against the Packers, Vick was confused, lost, and at times, just like Mike Vick. He once lost a game to Tampa Bay 28-0 because they figured out what everyone else is now beginning to see; if you make Vick think you can make Vick blink. Michael Vick isn’t a quarterback who runs well, no, he’s a running back that throws poorly most of the time. When out in the open field Vick runs with the ball in his hand like it has a handle and more often than not he loses the ball. Last week against Atlanta he zigged when he should have zagged and a 360 pound defensive lineman lumbered down the field with the ball while Vick could only watch. Before the game was done, Mike Vick limped off the field once again, and just like the Mike Vick of old, interacted with the fans in a show of pure unadulterated lack of class.
I didn’t watch the game. Not one play, not one second, not one snap and not for a moment. Watching a game and hoping someone loses is still giving the advertisers my time. But mostly I didn’t watch because I was afraid Mike Vick would get injured, and he did, and I was afraid I would feel some sense of pleasure that he was hurt. I was afraid that in his agony, and the end of his career, I would find some joy. I was afraid by watching him get hurt I would wind up being more like Vick than his victims.
Vick isn’t a young man and getting hit hard is a young man’s game. At 31, he has four maybe five seasons left before age catches up with him in a big way. If this head injury proves to be serious then he’s out for this year and we all know having time off is a bad thing for a man who has too much money and nothing to do but kill dogs and smoke pot. Yet Vick is expected to play today and I doubt very much if he can appreciate the irony of a wounded man being sent into a very violent sport for the amusement of the fans. He will be less mobile, less agile, less able to escape the people sent to do him harm and even if by some chance he walks off the field at the end of the game I suspect more damage to his body will occur. There is a good chance, in desperation or bad judgment, Vick will zig when he should zag, and the neck injury will become a monster. A man with no social skills, a bad neck, a criminal record, a pot habit and poor judgment is going to burn through that money he just got just like he did last time, and this time there will be no coming back.
I can wait Mike Vick out. I can give up football until he’s gone. There just aren’t that many men playing football stupid enough to get into dog fighting and after what Vick has been through there will be fewer still. The sport of football has survived much worse monsters than Vick, sadly, and perhaps one day the industry will see alleged humans like Vick as the social lepers they are.
I’m not sure I can outlast that, however, because it looks to be a very long time coming.