Dec 8, 2010

You ain't no nice guy

More and more lately, I've been thinking about the Michael Vick situation.  Musician Nils Lofgren recently wrote an open letter to the sports reporting community about their abject praise for the man and his career turnaround as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  While his views on the subject might seem a bit one-sided against Vick, I tend to agree with him on most of his points.  He said to the press what most of us caring human beings feel about the situation.

Basically his argument came down to this:
In Vick's case, I believe his second chance should certainly allow him to be free and to love and raise his family. [break] However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential bounty it offers.
I absolutely agree with that sentiment, and the fact that it has happened so successfully sickens me.

Now, despite being a New Yorker all my life I've also been a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan.  Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I think it came from gifts from an aunt who lived in the Philadelphia are as a child.  Eagles hats, jerseys, sweatshirts and what not.  They became my favorite NFL team by default.  Like how Notre Dame became my favorite college football team.  I was raised Irish Catholic in Long Island and we have no good football schools for miles and miles.  Bam...Fighting Irish fan.  And believe me, we are legion in this area.

But Michael Vick has soured my relationship with the Eagles.  I was upset when they signed him last year, but I was at least was happy to see him ride the bench for most of it.  Then they lose McNabb and presto...Michael Vick is the starting quarterback.  And he is a candidate for the league MVP.  And he is leading my formerly beloved Eagles to the playoffs.  Yeah...I said formerly.  I just can't watch them anymore.  And NFL football as a whole, actually.  He's ruined my enjoyment of the game.  You see, Michael Vick is a bad guy.  And I just can't get past that.

I think about the Kobe Bryant rape trial a few years back.  He admitted to having sex with the woman who filed the complaint, but he denied any sexual assault.  The case was eventually dropped when the woman was paid, refused to testify at the trial.  Yeah, that's what I meant.  But there were these throngs of women outside the courthouse with "I love you, Kobe!" and "We believe you, Kobe!" signs.  I just didn't understand that.  At the very least, Kobe Bryant admitted to cheating on his wife with this woman AND he possibly got away with a sexual assault because of his money and cachet.  Why would women support him for any reason?  You see, Kobe Bryant is a bad guy.  And I just can't get past that.

I could go on and on.  You've got Ben Roethlisberger who now has two sexual assault allegations to his name to go with his two Super Bowl rings.  The first one sounded like bullshit, but I don't know about the second one.  No charges were filed for lack of evidence, but it SEEMS like he keeps putting himself in these situations where he is a bad guy when women are involved.  Yet Steelers' fans, even the ladies, love him.  Must be those rings, eh?  Then there is Ray Lewis' involvement in a murder case, Adam "Pacman" Jones' off-field activities, all the MLB steroid gobblers, the NHL's Sean Avery and his misogynistic attitudes...all bad guys, in my opinion.  And I just can't get past that.

Then you have the guys who have outwardly done nothing wrong, but who seem to be in it for the money alone.  I wouldn't have put Derek Jeter in that category before this off-season, and I'm sure he's going to say all the right things about accepting "only" $18 million a year from the Yankees.  And the pragmatist in me knows that if Jeter doesn't get that extra money from the Yankees, it's only going to go into the pockets of the Steinbrenners.  The fans certainly aren't going to get a break either way.  So the guy who has said and done all the right things in his career, seemed to hold out for more money even after his worst season ever at an age when ballplayer's skills begin a rapid decline.  His agent will say that he is still taking a pay cut from what he had been making, and that's true.  Jeter has already made a huge pile of money with the Yankees, and he earned just about every penny of it.  Except he feels he deserves more.  Or his agent feels that way.  It's just so sickening.

I don't think there will ever be a time when I will NOT be a huge baseball fan.  It's my favorite sport. I even somehow managed to get past the Steroid Era, and I'm still a huge fan.  And I'm not just a Yankee fan.  I love the game itself.  I only root for the Yankees, but if nothing is on and I find a Royals/Indians game on somewhere?  I'm happier than a pig in shit just watching the game. 

I wonder if that would change if the Yankees had signed a guy like Michael Vick to play center field.


badgerdaddy said...

I feel exactly the same way about football. In fact, I took all my shirts down to a charity shop before the season started and I have not seen a single game this season, not even an international match. Screw them all, they are all arseholes and I'm not going to be a party to funding that any more.

RW said...

56 fantasy points cuts through a lot of outrage.

But seriously, I've held my nose about sports for years now, I think since the year a labor dispute canceled the World Series. I now root for the idea instead of the components. Plus my financial contribution is very very small. One or two baseball games a year, sometimes none at all. A Bear game once every few years. I'm sure my non-participation will just destroy them, or make them see the light.

I don't know. I think I've stopped being interested in the personalities, tantrums, foibles, squabbles and meanderings for pro sports personalities. I never liked or got along with jocks in school - they were usually assholes. Now it's just assholes magnified. They're still jocks.

My old timer Strat-o cards never take me to arbitration...

Slyde said...

Vick is an asshole.

i'm sorry, but its not the kind of thing you can apologize or atone for. He didnt have an accident, or a lapse in judgement. He tortured and killed animals for fun, over YEARS....

I'd torture HIM in a heartbeat.

See, now youve got me all riled up on a wed morning.

Now i'll need to go jack off to calm down.

Heff said...

America is too forgiving ?

Verdant Earl said...

badger - Was it a single player/incident that led up to this, or was it a series of culminating events?

RW - The "joke" about the fantasy points is truer than most people realize. Fantasy football is a huge factor in both fan enjoyment and media portrayal. And I still haven't been to the new Yankee Stadium as a sort of mini-protest against the prices. $280 for 2 tickets to a baseball game? It's a baseball game, fer crissakes! Gimme an $8 ticket for a minor-league game anyday, and I'll enjoy it more.

Slyde - We were envisioning a scenario the other week where he suffers a compound fracture. Bone through the skin, blood everywhere. Then as he is getting from the stretcher to the ambulance, he is dropped by the paramedics. Then out of nowhere, a band of wild dogs come running out and, fueled by the scent of blood in the air, they rip him apart. Yeah...I'd maybe watch THAT Eagles game.

Heff - Waaaaaay too forgiving. For our sports "heroes" at least.

RW said...

Yeah. However in my case the fantasy football joke is leading me to my first championship in years. In both leagues.

What can I say... I'm a jerk... :-)

badgerdaddy said...

It was the last World Cup and England's absolute non-performance. It just killed it all for me. I was so disgusted, so utterly disappointed. I'm an England supporter, I'm used to losing - but I am not used to losing without a fight. That's just not... English. There was no fight in them, no pride, and very little else. Such a massive disappointment, that I evaluated how I feel about the whole thing afterward. And I realised, maybe three professionals in the Premiership are good role models. No exaggeration. In fact I'm trying to think right now, and I can only come up with two. Hang on, worked on it for a minute, and now I have four.
They're just a bunch of arseholes. No morals, no grip on reality, largely no education and no humility whatsoever.
My sporting heroes are those that get to the top without massive funding or pay - Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, Eleanor Simmonds, Dame Kelly Holmes. The people that do it because they want to be the very best, and to push and push themselves beyond what they think are their limits.
NOT a bunch of giant twats.

Sorry, I'm ranting. It still upsets me. But I do not miss football one bit.

sybil law said...

Like RW said - they were jocks throughout school, and they're still jocks. A bunch of spoiled, half brain dead douchebags. That's pretty much the whole Bengals team!
I kinda feel bad for the Eagles fans, though. I mean, YAY TEAM! But ohhh... shit - that guy's a dick.
Clearly, I never went for jocks - I always liked the skinny musician guys. I do NOT understand women who fall for those men and flaunt themselves. Ick.
Plain and simple, in my mind, if you're a fucking miserable person and you do what Michael Vick did, you shouldn't be playing the sport and making millions. Period. It would be different, maybe, if he's seen the error of his ways and stopped doing it on his own, and maybe brought it up in some article that he used to fight dogs. Then, if people were outraged, well hey - they guy realized how disgusting and vile it was and stopped, right? But no - he got CAUGHT. I refuse to believe he even sees how sick it was, and the only reason he stopped is because he got caught.
I am not making sense.
Anyway, I agree with you.

Bruce Johnson said...

Always going to be a hot button issue with Vick. He may be a nice enough fellow, that just never grew up due to the constant pressure of sports and agents and money. Giving some dude millions of dollars at the age of 21 just because of their athletic ability, tends to dumb them down pretty badly. They stop maturing, because they get paid boatloads for playing a 'game'.

I doubt that Vick was 'always' fascinated with dog fighting and wanted to own pitbulls since he was 10. Some entrourage member probably turned him onto it as something really 'cool' that other dudes were doing and he should do it to. He was disconnected, and didn't see the perceptions of others as a factor.

Should be be punnished for that. Yes.....for how long....bah, the American justice system and ethic is so screwed up, I don't know if it cares. I would not be surprised to see John Edwards running for national political office again now that his wife is dead.

As a culture, we don't have a very long memory demonstrated by Mr. Vick's current success.

Verdant Earl said...

RW - Oddly, I don't have a problem with that. I fill my fantasy baseball team with players that I hate for one reason or another. Even if I'm actively rooting against them when they play against the Yanks. Or anyone really. Yes...I had Barry Bonds on my squad in 2001.

badger - I kinda figured it had to do with the World Cup. Odd to Americans how much that affects y'all. We don't give a crap how our international teams do in the Olympics or the World Cups. As long as our local teams beat their rivals.

Sybil - you made perfect sense to me.

Bruce - Oh, Edwards will run again. Count on it. He may even cry a bit over his dead wife. Dick!

Mrs. Hall said...

In my women's bible study group, we've been studying up on forgiveness. Working through steps to forgive those have trespassed against us as it were.

God calls us to forgive. And with prayer and willingness to hand myself over to Him and I do just that.

I can even do it for Vick.

so that's my little two cents.


Verdant Earl said...

Holly - See, that's where religion and faith might actually work for me. Since I'm an agnostic, I'll just have to keep on hating. ;)

Avitable said...

This is why living vicariously through potential felons chasing each other around a field for a ball is stupid.

RW said...

living vicariously through anything is stupid.

Avitable said...

I think people should just start drinking vicariously through things instead.

Verdant Earl said...

Avitable/RW - Start? I've been vicariously drinking through things all my life! Wait...does that mean I haven't been really drinking, but I've been doing it through everyone else who is drinking? Then no. I don't like that.

Besides, I take a bit of offense to Adam's first comment that it's stupid. I disagree. You may not understand or like it, but to harshly state that it's stupid. Being a fan is something that can never be understood by someone who isn't.

Avitable said...

I knew that would get your goat. :)

Verdant Earl said...

Adam - My goat is a fan of you, in particular. He is stupid, of course. ;)

badgerdaddy said...

I don't suppose the sports that are big worldwide are popular in the US really, are they? But any country where football is popular there are fans that feel the same as I do. And in England, there are fans that feel EXACTLY the same.
There is a player in the UK - not a top striker, not a creative midfielder or the world's greatest goalkeeper - he's a defensive midfielder. And it is claimed he earns around £220,000 per week. A defensive midfielder. And not even the best in his position, either.

The game has lost all tough with reality, so I have lost all touch with the game. I cannot feel any empathy or connection with the players any more.

badgerdaddy said...

Just a thought - every time I read the title of this post, I get the line in my head "This ain't no country club either..."
Thought I would share.