Michael Vick, Nils Lofgren, and God

Yeah, it’s another post about Michael Vick – apologies to those who’ve moved on. For me, as long as folks keep equating winning at football to succeeding in life, I have to respond (at least every so often). It’s either that or an ulcer — I just can’t turn a mute tongue to the absurdity.

Last Friday, Reuben Frank asserted in a csnphilly.com editorial that “Vick has become a true leader” to his fellow teammates. Maybe I’ve set my standards too high, but when I think of a true leader, I think of a decent human being, not someone who can simply keep his temper in check during a football game.

This guy gets paid an enormous amount of money to do his job (I’m pretty sure there are other perks as well), and you call him a leader for not “complaining”? He goes on to label Vick’s actions “heroic” — again, these are actions performed while playing football. I guess Frank and I aren’t using the same dictionary.

That same day, Richard J. Carey wrote in to Courant.com.  He argues that “Michael Vick is a changed man” from the dog-fighting villain he was. He based this on the notion that Vick “gave a contrite apology and exhibited a humble demeanor through the entire court process. He served his jail time.”

Even if that were true, a humble court demeanor makes one a changed man? Not breaking out of prison means you’ve reformed? (The fact is, Vick’s “contrite” apology letter to the judge sounded anything but contrite: He begged for lenience and bemoaned the loss of his freedom.)

Perhaps Vick himself is the only one who sees clearly his path of the last two years, as he explained to a group of schoolchildren:

“I think I am being used by God… All the laws have changed since my incident.”

Couple of things there, Mr. Vick: First, it’s not like dog fighting was legal before your “incident” — the sadistic practice is as illegal as it ever was. You brought awareness to the subject – I’ll give you that. But you could also have brought awareness without killing, maiming, and torture, so excuse me if I’m not dripping with gratitude.

Second, by that logic, it sounds like God used Hitler to show that mass genocide is wrong. Did God also dream up 9/11 to let TSA know we need better airport screening? If God makes horrible things happen to illustrate that horrible things are wrong, maybe God’s the one who should’ve gone to prison.

I never thought I’d say this, but is Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren the only person with his head not up his claven? In a restrained and well-written letter to espn.com, the E Street band member (and football aficianado) points out the disgrace of letting exceptional passing skills negate heinous barbarism.

Lofgren questions how we can justify to our children that “this kind of evil behavior, for some, is only a big bump on the road to fame, fortune and glory?”

I just might have to check out the Boss’s latest album. I might even have to buy one. Or several.