An interview with Michael Vick in GQ is set to hit the Internet on Thursday morning, and you can guarantee that after reading some of the quotes, it's sure to cause a bit of a publicity firestorm.
Well, that's based on some limited quotes, via Deadspin, that Vick gave to Will Leitch (of New York mag and Deadspin fame) anyway.
"Yeah, you got the family dog and the white picket fence, and you just think that's all there is," Vick said about the background involved in people hearing his story. "Some of us had to grow up in poverty-stricken urban neighborhoods, and we just had to adapt to our environment. I know that it's wrong. But people act like it's some crazy thing they never heard of. They don't know."
This is true, I think. I've argued as much, but whenever you play the "byproduct of culture or society" angle to anyone, they immediately put any number of examples that refute that back in your face. That's cool. It's their prerogative, and it's why there's not a singular opinion about Vick in our society.
Whatever you think about that subject, though, it probably is going to involve some discussion of race. Vick, based on his quotes, is fine with obliging that line of thinking.
"I think that's accurate," Vick tells Leitch when asked if white people don't get how dogfighting plays out in black culture. "I mean, I was just one of the ones who got exposed, and because of the position I was in, where I was in my life, it went mainstream. A lot of people got out of it after my situation, not because I went to prison but because it was sad for them to see me go through something that was so pointless, that could have been avoided."
Hoo boy. Not to make comparisons with football players who have been to prison and then returned to the game, but these sort of quotes kind of sound awfully familiar, yes?
Look, we don't yet know the context of the full discussion between Leitch and Vick. But it's pretty hard to fathom that such quotes are taken out of context to the point that they seem somewhat inflammatory here but not within the scope of the full interview.
What's even harder to fathom is that Vick would actually break character and say anything remotely controversial. To this point, he's been picture perfect when it comes to rehabilitating his image. The comments above are the antithesis of that.
A.J. Daulerio at Deadspin makes a good point though -- from a sports perspective, the most controversial comments that Vick makes might have to do with his decision about where to stage his comeback.
Originally, Vick didn't want to go to Philadelphia. He felt like joining the Bills or Bengals (!) were better options.
"I think I can say this now, because it's not going to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's the truth... I didn't want to come to Philadelphia," Vick says. "Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options."
Leitch then points out that Vick met with Roger Goodell and the NFL and was steered towards Philly -- "I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation" -- which could seriously fire up those two fanbases, given that having Michael Vick on their respective rosters would certainly change things.
Oh, and the fact that the league steered one of the (now) most dynamic players in the league to a particular situation. That should go over really well with the media in the coming days.
Despite the potential firestorm that could come on that front, though, it's hard to really fault anyone for pushing Vick a certain way -- no one thought he would end up playing as well as he did in 2010.
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