I always want athletes to succeed. I am not one of those type of journalists that get a thrill out of a athlete’s downfall.
I have been covering Michael Vick for a very long time. I’ve known people in his inner and outer circle throughout the years. I knew he was dog fighting way before Roger Goodell.
His reputation as someone who was more interested in the VIP than learning about he zone blitz was well known during his time with the Falcons, but largely ignored because he was so talented.
At his core, Vick is the type of guy that is loyal to a fault even if that means surrounding himself with people who can only drag him down.
It doesn’t happen often that someone goes from megastar, to pariah, then back to megastar. Vick is in that process and I hope he understands how fragile his situation truly is.
He was only one witness statement away this summer from being banned from the NFL permanently. He has zero margin for error and the spotlight is brighter than ever.
People build you up to tear you down— the same demons that were out there before that lead to Vick going to jail, will come back and tempt him.
On the field,Vick has proven he is back and maybe better than ever. Off the field, he has to be as strong, if not stronger.
When you look at the Sports Illustrated cover, there is a lot of ways to interpret it, but what I feel when I look at it:
If Vick fails for the second time, it won’t just have an effect on him, it will have an effect on the perception of a generation of players that come after him.
That is a brutal burden to bear.
I hope his shoulders are strong enough to hold it.