Vick, T.O. and Roger
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This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
Let's start with Michael Vick. Vick is coming to the end of his prison term at Leavenworth. He may leave his Kansas cell and be granted strict house arrest for his last two months of confinement. He may wind up in an NFL uniform again. But his heinously cruel crimes against innocent animals have cost him dearly---not only two years of his young athlete's life, but also the lion's share of the multiple millions he made with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick, now bankrupt, is up to the neck of his orange jumpsuit in debt. He was forced this week to put his 8-bedroom, 11-bath Atlanta suburban mansion on the auction block. A normally highly desirable property, only two individuals appeared at the sale, neither with the mandatory opening bid of $160,000 toward a minimum sale price of $3.2 million. The house hasn't brought a penny so far and you get the sense the down economy isn't so much behind the Vick real estate failure. After nearly two years behind bars, the former dazzling quarterback talent has not uttered a word of remorse about his despicable acts of making dogs suffer with his bare hands. The Vick mansion isn't selling because of the abysmal market. Perhaps Vick's torture of animals is so repugnant to potential buyers that they easily take a pass at inhabiting the place where he evidently used to sleep with an untroubled conscience.
Michael Vick's criminal behavior certainly puts another NFL star into perspective. That's Terrell Owens. T.O. has been reviled as a team pariah throughout his career, at the very same time he has leaped to nab impossible catches and scored crucial touchdowns. He was trouble…and gold…in San Francisco. Same in Philly. Again in Dallas. And now that he has been traded to Buffalo, the outcry is loud and clear. His reputation precedes him. T. O. is a menace. He's disruptive. He's a negative force that tears up locker rooms and causes dissension on the sidelines, in the local press.
Yes, guilty as charged. T. O is immature. He's self-centered. He's classless. But at the heart of all that boorish chest thumping is an athlete with a fierce desire to win. Buffalo will no doubt be the last NFL team T.O. will suit up for. He may now be half a step slower than the days he strutted his big-mouth stuff for the Eagles, but I'm going to root for him to finish his career lighting up the Bills' scoreboard. Maybe, just maybe, he'll have gained a smattering of wisdom by this point and he'll be content to quietly pull in his trademark acrobatic catches and to elegantly lead his new team to a Super Bowl.
Who am I kidding? T.O. will be a gigantic jerk. A leopard doesn't change his spots. But even a jerk is just a jerk. T.O. is no Michael Vick and I still hope he lights up the scoreboard up in Buffalo.
That brings us to Roger Clemens. Who among you has believed Roger Clemens as he has for years now arrogantly and indignantly denied ever, ever using anything other than vitamin B-12? So this week, his old trainer, Brian McNamee, has revealed that he happened to keep one of the dirty syringes with which he shot steroids into Clemens' backside. The syringe has now gone through lab analysis and, no surprise to any of us, Clemens' DNA has been identified by the blood on that needle. These days in the ongoing revelations of drug use in the baseball world, at least to my mind, it's not a matter of who used because, at least to my mind, the majority of them did. It's who can be man enough to help us understand what an integral part of the sport drugs were for a certain time. Clemens' petulance has been all the more unappealing because we've known all along that he would have better served his fans and his game by being humble and remorseful. The jig's up, Roger.
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
Banner image: Terrell Owens autographing for fans at training camp in Oxnard, California. Photo: Tammy Ferrufino