By now everyone; sports fans, non-sports fans, animal lovers, children and teenagers alike know about the fall of former Atlanta Flacons Quarterback Michael Vick. The sheer magnitude of the money he’s going to lose as well as the Atlanta franchise and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, is close to unbelievable. Personally Vick is going to be out a rumored 150 Million dollars based on lost endorsements, contractual bonus, performance money and a variety of other incomplete contractual obligations.
Don’t expect much sympathy for Vick, the crime which he committed and is now spending time behind bars for is reprehensible, disgusting and sicking. His case was a “perfect storm”; a crime that people especially in America abhor; a federal agency looking into gambling and animal trafficking and finding it, and then major animal rights groups protesting it, causing all of them to converge on a person who was nationally known and very high profile. Once the scent of guilt was there they pounced. Arrests and indictments were swiftly implemented and the media reverberated with the story in full detail. Again it is an almost unbelievable drama played out right before our eyes with famous person finally going to jail.
However, there can be a silver lining to this sad commentary. First of all his crime sadly to say, wasn’t an isolated incident. Throughout this country it has been going on for years. Occasionally it will surface when a celebrity is involved, but there never has been such an awareness of how bad it is until now. Now everyone with a television knows what a fighting dog’s home looks like, the way they meet their demise, and the inhumane life they’ve been put into. Today anyone remotely connected to dog fighting is either changing their ways or laying so low that even other dog fighters can’t find them. To get busted for that now is not healthy and not a good way to pick up extra money. Don’t grow up to be a dog fighter!
There is another positive to this and its value is long term as well. When young athletes first begin to complete in organized sports they see that there are certain players that will often get preferential treatment. These would be the naturals, the athletically gifted, probably the best player on the team. There is no negative there because on the amateur level every team wants someone really good on it; to win as a team covers up a lot of petty differences. However as the athlete continues on into high school, college and hopefully professional there are instances when due to the value of having a winning program coaches sometimes loose the ability to discipline the star should the star turn selfish and do things detrimental to the team as a whole.
There is so much emphasis on winning especially at the college and professional level due to the revenue involved that looking the other way or sweeping the bad under the carpet enables some good athletes make a mockery of what the rest of us view as the rules of society. But thanks to Vick I think coaches now can put the hammer down on offenders regardless of their stature as a player. Michael Vick was arguably one of the most talented professional football players and had the best contract of a professional football player of our time but now he’s in jail. The Atlanta franchise is in shambles, the coach resigned, and people lost hope. So the next time a high school or college player violates team policy the coach merely has to remind them Vick was a superstar and they didn’t put up with him at the highest level. If the player has any dreams of going professional they can’t screw up regardless of the level they are at currently. The professional leagues certainly aren’t going to be interested; Vick just made sure of that and if you want to get to the pros you’d better knuckle down and toe the line, they aren’t looking for any more disruptive stars.
To reach Rick Schultze email firstname.lastname@example.org