On Sunday afternoon, Michael Vick acted like a human being. Given the reaction that move got, I highly doubt we’ll ever see him act like one again.
After losing to the New York Giants, in a game in which Vick injured his right (non-throwing) hand and took multiple shots to the head, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback finally went on the offensive, and questioned whether he was getting the same protection afforded to other quarterbacks around the league.
This is what he said: “I just think more precautions should be taken when I’m inside the pocket. If you look at all the replays, I’m on the ground every time and it’s unfortunate for myself and it’s unfortunate for my team and I’ll be lying if I said I wasn’t, if I were to sit here and say I wasn’t frustrated right now because of that.”
Cry havoc and unleash the dogs of punditry. Trent Dilfer, an analyst on the network that also owns this website, was appalled that Vick had the temerity to complain. The former NFL V.P. of officiating, Mike Pereira, called Vick’s initial complaint and subsequent apology “a bunch of bull.” Despite a defense mounted on the Monday Night Football pregame show by Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, and Cris Carter, a lot of people, members of the media and fans alike, seemed to take issue with his complaining in the first place.
And why might that be? Maybe it’s because a lot of people just aren’t as comfortable with Vick as they pretend to be. They haven’t come to grips with what he’s done and they haven’t come to grips with the fact that he’s back in the NFL. And because of that, when things like this happen, cracks start to show.
For these critics, Michael Vick is not allowed to complain. Michael Vick is not allowed to make the totally reasonable statement that he needs to be protected “when he is inside the pocket” and that he was “frustrated.” Michael Vick should thank his lucky stars that he is even wearing an NFL uniform. What people want from Michael Vick is highlight films and sound-bite clichés. People don’t want to hear him be human, hurt, frustrated, or angry.
Nobody knows this as well as Michael Vick. “I was kind of out of character and being too candid in that aspect. Ultimately, I have respect for the referees and their decision to make calls. You won’t hear me complaining about it no more.” I don’t imagine we will.
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