By John E. Carey
July 27, 2007
In keeping with great “street names,” often earned, like “Snoop Dog,” some are now calling Mister Michael Vick “Vick-Dog.”
The Virginia Tech and Atlanta Falcons great is now the brunt of pooch nicknames and was loudly booed and jeered as he entered the courtroom this week.
Millions of kids idolize sports stars. I grew up watching Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown before the Super Bowl was even invented: only to see him accused of various forms of mischief and mayhem off the field later on.
What I took away from that Jim Brown experience was this: these sports starts are just guys.
But unfortunately, part of what makes some of these super-athletes tick is a testosterone fueled anger, maybe even rage, that often translates not just into terrific performance on the field but often becomes some really ugly performance (or performances) elsewhere.
Mister Michael Vick is the latest example. Despite millions of dollars in pay and endorsements, an entire city waiting for him to deliver the Super Bowl to Atlanta, a Mother with the highest expectations imaginable, and teammates relying on his cool and skills; he threw it all away pursuing something that any towel boy could have told him would enrage more than nine-tenths of the American public against him.
Today Nike suspended its lucrative contract with Michael Vick. The other shoe fell, as it were. Nike is suspending Vick’s endorsement deal without pay. Michael will no longer be paid as a Nike endorser because his contract has a clause requiring a certain decorum of behavior. Any towel boy probably knew that too.
Vick’s likeness is also being pulled from a trading card company’s line, which will cost him some more money. And Reebok took the unprecedented step of stopping sales of his No. 7 jersey.
“Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent,” Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said in a statement.
Mister Vick, and three friends, were accused in federal court yesterday of sponsoring a gruesome operation that often shot, hanged, drowned or electrocuted losing dogs.
Mister Vick pleaded not guilty yesterday. But the secrecy of his dogfighting operation and his bald-faced lie when first confronted with the facts by a TV news crew (“The only dog I own is a poodle.”) tells us this: he knew what the towel boy knew. More than nine-tenths of mankind would condemn his conduct and his endorsement deals would be flushed, by his own hand, down the toilet.
Despite the lack of a trial or conviction, Mister Vick is now “persona non grata” in the NFL and in many other venues: including the corporate offices of Nike, Reebok and a certain trading card company.
Mister Vick is now the poster child of stupidity, grossly malicious and inhumane behavior and shame.
Tell your kid who idolizes sports stars.
This is what happens when you head the wrong way out the locker room door. Sometimes you can never get back into the locker room again.