Michael Vick's 60 Minutes
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Eagles
Michael Vick's 60 Minutes
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
If you haven't seen Michael Vick's "60 Minutes" interview, here it is.
I missed tonight's original airing, but recorded the segment conducted by "60 Minutes" contributor, James Brown. (I can't imagine Andy Rooney greeting Brown in the CBS corridors with a, "What's up, JB!"). The interview was the first Vick gave upon his release from prison three months ago for organizing and running a dogfighting operation.
Apparently, all those old fogies at "60 Minutes" haven't figured out today's 24-hour, up-to-the-second news cycle. They should have posted it on their Web site immediately. The media-savvy Eagles trumped the news show by signing Vick last week and the quarterback's first public mea culpa post-incarceration was on Friday. It was up on philadelphiaeagles.com (at least you got the plug!) in a matter of minutes. (Mike Wallace vs. Dave Spadaro? A toss-up in my book).
Nevertheless, the segment was thoroughly done. Vick came off a little more human than he did at the NovaCare complex. It may have had something to do with there being just one interviewer and one camera as opposed to the tens of each at the Eagles' home base.
I've now seen Vick apologize for his heinous acts twice (once in person), and I can say -- taking off my reporter's cap -- that I don't believe a single word he has said.
"The first day I walked into prison, and he slammed that door, I knew the magnitude of the decision that I made, and the poor judgment, and what I allowed to happen to the animals," Vick said on "60". "And, you know, it's no way of explaining the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective."
There could have been plenty of other moments that made Vick realize how colossal his errors were -- when losing dogs were electrocuted, when someone suggested, "Hey, let's have a rape stand!", when he was charged with a host of barbaric crimes, when he lost millions of dollars, when he was convicted, when the NFL suspended him, when ...
But, no, it took that prison door hitting his tail (no pun) that finally made him see the light. Talk about denial.
Brown reeled off the laundry list of crimes: "And the operation, Michael, that you pleaded guilty to bankrolling, to being a part of, engaged in barbarous treatment of the animals - beating them, shooting them, electrocuting them, drowning them. Horrific things, Michael."
"It's wrong, man," said Vick, who looked down as Brown rattled off his sins. "I don't know how many times I gotta tell, I gotta say it."
How about one time for every dollar you lost?
"I feel tremendous hurt behind what happened. And, you know, I should’ve took the initiative to stop it all. And I didn't. And I feel so bad about that now. And I know that I didn't I didn't step up. I wasn't a leader."
Apparently, Vick wasn't just a horrible leader in the huddle.
"I was lazy," Vick said about his well-earned reputation. "You know, I was the last guy in the building, first guy out. I know that. You know, I hear everything that people say. And that hurt me when I heard that, but I know it was true."
"I think everyone looked at it that way. Tremendous athlete. Tremendous talent. Very, very gifted guy, who relies on his natural ability," Vick sponsor Tony Dungy said. "He was exciting and probably didn't scratch the surface of his potential. And he and I talked about that for along time in Leavenworth. He talked about not working out, not training, not studying. You know, kind of taking things for granted. Gifts that the Lord had given him."
Why is it that people at their lowest say they only found salvation through God?
"It's the only way I made it through prison," Vick said. "It's the only way I could live life is having faith and believing in the higher power, believing in God."
You may say that I'm just cherry picking through Vick's comments. That may be true. He may be sincerely contrite for his crimes. He may end up turning into a Dr. Doolittle.
But it's hard to not be cynical when you see the team that was put together to coax, guide and rehearse Vick through his return to the Vick that made he and lots of other people rich. Brown and "60 Minutes" are to be commended for pointing this out. The collection of agents, lawyers and advisors were out in full force on Friday. Vick also now has the Eagles' strong arm of a PR staff working on his behalf. How can he fail?
"Mike, just keep saying your sorry. Make a few public appearances. Let a few dogs lick your face, pee on your shoes and you're back in the public's good graces, out of bankruptcy and we're one step closer to completely selling our souls out for a Super Bowl."
To reference "The Simpsons" episode when Bart sold his soul to Millhouse -- Eagles fans praising Vick's coming to Philly are Millhouse and the Eagles are Bart.
Millhouse: A pleasure doing business with you.
Bart: Anytime, chummm ... p.
Of course, Bart spent the rest of episode trying to get his soul back. Luckily, he was able to. I'm not so sure about the Eagles.