Commentary By: Marc Farzetta
Often we, as the “regular” people, look at millionaire athletes and wonder “What the hell were they thinking” when they are in a seemingly obvious situation and choose the wrong path. Michael Vick’s most recent controversy certainly invokes this thought process.
I do not think there is anything wrong with Michael Vick celebrating his birthday. I’m not naive enough to think after all his horrid crimes and actions surrounding his dog fighting conspiracy, that he would think to himself, “I don’t deserve a party.” Although that may be appropriate, I can’t remember a time in our judicial system’s history where a judge handed down a verdict saying “ok, 23 months in jail aaaannnnd no more birthdays………ever!”
But what the hell was Vick thinking when he thought it was a good idea to throw a massive, attention-getting birthday bash and have it opened to the public. What was he thinking when just months ago he was granted the chance to earn a living in his most desired fashion, playing football in the NFL after bankrolling a dog fighting operation, reportedly killed dogs himself, and lying about the whole thing to the commissioner of the league in which he wanted to be reinstated. You would think a person would stop counting their lucky stars there, but noooope, instead Vick decided it would be ok to throw a birthday party where he did not have full control over who was going to show up and have the party set in a place that was near where all his aforementioned troubles originated.
I understand that he may have been trying to help his brother, Marcus make some money by putting his name on the party, but if you were just coming off the SECOND CHANCE of a lifetime, wouldn’t you close the party to the public, only allowing pre-paid clientele in or at least be in an area during the party where you were isolated from the public that paid their way in? That’s where the opportunity knocked for Quanis Phillips, the man who was shot at the Virginia Beach Night Club that hosted Vick’s party and Vick’s co-defendant in the dog fighting scandal. By not being isolated from the public, Phillips was able to get close enough to Vick to splatter cake on his face and cause a scene. Vick basically gave the chance to anyone angry at him to pay $30 for a ticket, not to party, but to make public their anger towards him. I know of some callers to WIP that would have paid more than 30 bucks to throw some birthday cake in Vick’s face. Damn! They could have made so much more money.
Did Phillips pay his way into the Birthday Bash? I don’t know about that, but according to the USA Today, Vick’s attorney, Lawrence Woodward, did tell Virginia Beach officials that Phillips was not an “invited guest.” This does not mean he paid, he could have weaseled his way into the party because he probably knew other people there and that were on the guest list.
If it is proven that Vick invited Phillips or that the two caught-up on old times at the party, than that would make Vick in violation of his parole as Vick is not permitted to associate with Phillips, his former co-defendant. So far all accounts I have read have Vick in a good light saying, once Vick saw Phillips was present, there was a verbal altercation, Phillips was told to get lost, some innocent-delicious cake was wasted on Vick face and Vick left his party to avoid any further confrontation.
I do believe in second chances, because I believe in our judicial system, although flawed at times, it is how we as Americans chose to govern our social violations. Vick paid his debt to society and was given that second chance. Now that second chance is on very thin ice. If any proof is presented of Phillips being an invited guest or conversing with Vick in a non-confrontational manner and that SECOND chance of a lifetime will be a thing of the past and Michael Vick could find himself working construction……again.
I understand why the league wanted Vick reinstated. The league gets him back, they get a “human highlight reel” back. The Eagles get him, they get a veteran back-up and try their hand at the Wildcat. As well as look like the Second Chance Givers. The league gets him on the Eagles last season, they get the satisfaction of knowing Vick wouldn’t be the focal point of an offense as he was sitting behind the NFL’s Pro Bowl, goodie-goodie Quarterback in Donovan McNabb. It’s like when you were in school; when you were bad, the teacher never sat you with other bad kids to conspire, they sat you next to the nerd that knew how to behave.
What I don’t understand is why Vick is still on the Eagles roster. Right now he’s nothing more to me than a $5.2 million back up quarterback. Barring a Kevin Kolb melt-down, Vick will step on the field in “Wildcat” formations only about 8 plays a game. Why not involve him in a trade for a center or safety that could help on every play of the game. Make sense?
After speaking to Vick last season, I do believe that the remorse he shows for his actions is sincere. I know, as an animal lover, I never thought I’d say that. If it does turn out that he is still friends with and being cordial to the same scum that he was involved with when he was committing such heinous and awful acts, then he should be thrown out of the league for good. That shouldn’t even have to come down to an Eagles decision. That should be a “Roger Goodell decision.” However, if it is proven that a co-defendant of Vick’s was invited to the party and while there exchanged pleasantries with Vick and the league does anything less than ban him, the Eagles should still release Vick based on Jeffrey Lurie’s decree of “Zero Tolerance” during his August 14th 2009 press conference where he spoke about what a hard, soul-searching experience it was to sign Mike Vick.
Vick could very well be innocent of any wrong doing in this instance. This could be what it appears at the surface, someone trying to bring more negative attention on Michael Vick, as if he needed help with that. So far Michael Vick is still in good standing with the league since his reinstatement. So far he has been the player and person the Eagles have asked him to be. So far he is in the clear. We’ll see what the coming weeks unveil.