By Kyle Scott
Excuse me. I just injured myself when I slapped my face with a firm, open palm.
I’m the last person who should be criticizing someone for criticizing distracted athletes. I believe that far too few of us – as fans, bloggers, and writers – hold athletes accountable for their actions off the field. Athletes are humans, too. And the same way you or I would be held accountable for staying out too late, drinking too much, or calling out sick, is the same way athletes should be taken to task for doing those same things. After all, it’s their on-field performance that makes most of their off-field lives so glorious. If some of those activities interfere with their play, then they’re fair game for those of us who are emotionally (or professionally) invested in team. I’m all for that.
Heck, I’m the same guy who wrote about Jayson Werth’s trip to a St. Louis casino (at 4 A.M.) during the midst of a woeful slump, and Ryan Howard’s casted adventure at Dorney Park– both stories that were picked up by a number of local media outlets, much to the chagrin of the Phillies. I also routinely poke fun at Jeff Carter’s summer partying and DeSean Jackson’s ridiculous self aggrandizing. I’ve built a whole site around stuff like that, actually.
I love that gossip. I think it’s fair game. But then I read this piece, which written by Garry Cobb on Tuesday. It’s awful.
Just like athletes shouldn’t be above criticism, writers, who have the ability to influence the masses, shouldn’t be excluded from scrutiny if they put out baseless and nonsensical stories.
I like G Cobb. I don’t know him personally, but I think his site, GCobb.com, is actually very good. It somehow avoids screaming “I was a former football player and am trying to figure out this internet thing,” and, as best as I can tell, is visited by many people. However, the piece Cobb wrote yesterday was way off-base. Heres the gist: Michael Vick shouldn’t sign endorsement deals, rather, he should be watching game film- all offseason long.
Huh? This one simple article represents what’s wrong with a generation’s worth of sports columns in this city: Give me more, athlete.
I know it’s cool to hop on the “hate everything Michael Vick does bandwagon.” Tickets are cheap, food is plentiful, and the stops are frequent. The Vick machine is run like a political campaign by, as I’ve been told, a bunch of amateurish PR folks. If Vick truly had planned to throw Super Bowl parties in Dallas, a notion that is in dispute, he deserved to be called out. Not because he can’t have a life outside of football, but because he’s on probation and the last time he threw a public party someone got shot. Those are facts.
He also shouldn’t be buying his girlfriend Porsches, seeing as though he owes creditors millions of dollars.
But, as ridiculous and hoaxy as the product is, there’s nothing wrong with the endorsement deal he just signed with Core Synergy. Man needs to get paid, yo.
Here’s what Cobb, who wants Vick to stay focused on football, had to say about it:
“This is a very important time for Vick and the Eagles. It’s extremely important that he stays on a program of football every day. He should be working out and watching tape. He’s not a spring chicken so he could lose that difference-making speed, if he doesn’t maintain it with works out.”
That’s when my palm hit my face.
There may not be football for a while and Vick has no idea when he may see his next pay check. Are we really going to fault a guy for signing an endorsement deal which will actually help pay back the buckets of money he owes? At least he’s not dancing at Carnival like certain other quarterbacks…
But am I a hypocrite? After all, I killed Werth and Howard for their harmless off-field endeavors.
Each situation has its own set of circumstances.
Without going into too much detail, I felt that a late night outing to a casino, sandwiched in between back-to-back games, probably wasn’t the best way for Werth, who was in the midst of a contract year, to snap out of a slump. I also felt that Howard, whose ankle still isn’t at 100%, shouldn’t have been walking around an amusement park on an air cast. How do you treat a recently sprained ankle? You rest it. Howard had only eight home runs in 176 at bats after his return from the DL, no RBIs in the postseason, and says his ankle still isn’t at 100%. Yeah, questioning that trip to Dorney was justified.
Vick, on the other hand, is in the midst of what is likely to be a long offseason. Are we really going to nitpick him for signing an endorsement deal? Should he really lock his doors and turn his phone off, because they’re blitzing errybody out there?
More from Cobb:
“I hope he and the Eagles have a program for him in place. Vick should stay hungry for finding ways to take his game to the next level. I don’t like the fact that he’s not sitting in a film room every day with Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg or Doug Pederson looking at blitzes that were used against them in the second half of the season.”
I spent a full five minutes making sure this wasn’t some sort of satire. If it is, the joke’s on me. But I’m fairly certain it’s not.
Garry, you do realize that Vick is not allowed to have contact with coaches, right? The players…. they are locked out. Plus, wouldn’t being in a film room all of the time begin to hurt his eyes? You know, those same ones he uses, or doesn’t use to pick up the blitz. Amirite? Amirite?
Let’s get off his case and reserve judgment for a time when he actually does deserve to be called out, which I’m fairly confident won’t be too far off.
This article reflects the opinion of Kyle Scott. Kyle Scott is the founder and editor of CrossingBroad.com, one of Philly’s top sports blogs, known for its sarcastic and irreverent take on the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and Eagles.