This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
It was a mere three years ago that I promised myself I would never again be a Michael Vick fan, should he return to football after his prison sentence in Leavenworth. It was the reprehensible nature of his particular crime, killing innocent dogs with his bare hands. But I turned my back on the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback more due to his seeming lack of remorse than the crimes themselves. He said he was sorry he let his fans down, sorry he disappointed his coach, sorry he was going to spend his prime athlete years behind bars. But we the judging public never did hear his voice break with utter sorrow for what he had done.
So I said it. I said I would never watch the Virginia talent play the game, should he play again. Make no mistake. There are former fans who took a similar stand and have stayed true to their word. You can find NFL followers who remain disgusted by Vick's cruel acts and steadfastly refuse to tune into the current Philadelphia Eagles, now that Vick is under center in the city of Brotherly Love.
Yet there are plenty, Eagles fans and football fans in general, who are mesmerized by Vick's speed, his slithery moves most running backs would die for, his left-handed finesse at short, medium and long range. There are those already murmuring about naming Vick the greatest Eagles quarterback in history. That's putting him above Norm Van Brocklin, Ron "Jaws" Jawarski and Randall Cunningham. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who will go further than that. If this 30-year-old can stay injury-free for the next three or four years, I say he'll go down as the most exciting player to ever command the backfield.
Maybe I'm rationalizing, but to me this isn't the case of the valuable college player who is caught DUI on Thursday night but not yet processed so the coach plays him in the big rivalry game on Saturday…character, ethics, and team values be damned. This is a citizen who served the time for his crime. It's not personal. I'm not a personal fan. I don't follow his off-field life, his press conferences. But I will admit I search for the Eagles games on Sunday because this guy is electric just about every time he touches the football.
Vick says his time in prison was the best thing that ever happened to him. He found an appreciation for life. He grew up and learned to look at freedom and football as privilege. So who am I to discern the depth or even the nature of his contrition?
I'm curious what you guys think? Have you slammed the door air-tight on this guy or have you given him a second chance?
Weigh in at KCRW.com/TheScore.
And one other quarterback comment. Brett Favre. The pundits have been harsh. They say he's selfish. He should take himself out when he's hobbling on a broken ankle. He should show up at training camp, give his teammates a chance to gel. He's lost more than a step and should hang it up, get back to the good life down South in Hattiesberg, give the Vikings a go at their next incarnation. But the pundits keep overlooking the intangible that makes a winner. Like Elway before him, Favre comes out gun-slinging when the game is over, lost, impossible.
And there the outlaw was last Sunday, firing, charging, putting up a win when merely talented, fast, strong, young quarterbacks would have already been sagging on the bench, hanging their heads in defeat.
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
Banner image: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. he Eagles defeated the Colts 26-24. Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images