Eagles QB Michael Vick is participating in an eight-part documentary about himself for BET Networks, and here's how it came down:
After his release from Leavenworth, where he'd served 18 months for running dogfights, he saw an MTV documentary called T.I.'s Road to Redemption, which followed rapper T.I.'s year on probation before serving jail time.
He called Brian Sher, one of the series' executive producers. Sher flew to Virginia to meet Vick over Memorial Day weekend.
"I was blown away by his willingness to be honest about everything," Sher told me.
"We met, and I was very intrigued and compelled by his story, and I've grown to like him as a person," Sher said. "I believed he was sincere. If I thought he was anything other than that, I wouldn't have done it."
Sher cautions that the half-hour episodes are not reality TV, but a look at Vick from his early days to the present day.
Using the third person, Vick told The Inquirer's Bob Brookover: "People never had a chance to know Mike Vick outside of football. They know me from the case and football, and that's not fair to me, that's not fair to my family, or fair to my fans. I want people to see what I'm all about."
Vick said his focus was on football and not TV: "I think, as the season goes on, I won't have time for it, but, hopefully, some time in 2010 we can pick up where we left off."
Vick said his motivation was to teach kids. "I think it's important to show our youth and our kids . . . that you face adversity, but you're not responsible for falling - you're responsible for getting up," he said. "I'm very remorseful about what happened and what I did. I just don't want other people to go down that path, and I want to repair past damages."
Among his damages is bankruptcy. Under terms of Vick's settlement, he has to repay $20 million. During bankruptcy hearings this spring, before his release from prison, his lawyers mentioned that he had agreed to a "television documentary deal" worth $600,000.
BET and Sher did not disclose terms of the deal. An Eagles rep did not return messages seeking comment.
One sad aspect of Vick's past has received reality treatment: DogTown, a show on the National Geographic Channel, did an episode on the rehab of four of Vick's pit bulls.