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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There was outrage yesterday regarding Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick. Or as I like to refer to it, Wednesday.
Michael Vick tweeted a photo that had a box of Milk Bones in it, suggesting that he probably has a dog, which he said he’d one day like to do, and is permitted to. Michael Vick then deleted the photo, and replaced it with one without the box of dog treats, presumably because he didn’t feel like dealing with its reprecussions.
Vick was asked about the photo by Eagles reporters, to which he replied “I’m here to strictly talk about football. What goes on in my personal life is not to be talked about. What’s most important right now is the Philadelphia Eagles and getting a win this Sunday.”
Now, to the outrage. The outrage was not that Michael Vick has a dog. The outrage, most of it, was that Michael Vick said his personal life was not to to be talked about. Thereby putting a wall in between us and fulfilling our insatiable need to know everything about everyone, just because we want to.
The argument is, because of Vick’s crimes, as well as his decision to write a book about his personal life, and do interviews about his personal life, that he has no right to decide now that he doesn’t want to talk about it.
That because Michael Vick sometimes to make his personal life public, that he must always give us access to everything.
Except that he doesn’t.
Michael Vick is a football player, and a very famous one. But the only things we have a right (for lack of a better word) to know about, involve football, and whether or not he’s doing something illegal. Just because we want him to talk about something, does not mean he is bound to do so.
When Vick addressed his dog fighting past in his book, he said he did so “because I’m never answering these questions again. You know, if I’m in the locker room and somebody asked me about my past, I’m just going to say ‘I wrote about it.’”
We have decided in this country, and in this instance in this city, that celebrities have “signed up for” this, and on some level this is true. But this is why Michael Vick should not be surprised that we’re interested, not why he must tell us.
I’ve also heard that he gave up his right to privacy when he was convicted for his crimes. He did give up his right to privacy, and most of his money as well, as he sat in jail for a couple of years. He’s out now.
It’s beside the point that there is no answer Vick could have given that wouldn’t have led to another question, and another, and another, and another. Beside the point that there was probably a better time and place to answer the question. Both beside the point, but both true.
This is why celebrities have secret weddings in foreign countries. Because we can’t help ourselves. It’s also why Sean Penn punched a photographer.
Vick didn’t damn the reporter for answering the question, nor did he damn the public for wanting to know the answer. He decided it was something about his personal life that he’d rather not answer, and for us to be outraged that he did so says more about us than it does about him.
One can’t help but wonder if the Eagles were 5-0, and Michael Vick hadn’t fumbled twice in last game, if we would have accepted his decision to not answer. If perhaps our angst regarding turnovers is spilling over into our angst about this.
If he’s guilty of anything, it’s being careless on Twitter, and if this was a punishable offense, most of us would be in jail.