Wednesday, October 6, 2010

11 comments Mike Vick Can Rest Easy, Bill Simmons Has Forgiven Him

Before I start talking about the Simmons column, I wanted to get my MLB playoffs picks on record:

American League

New York Yankees 3-1 over Minnesota Twins
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 over Texas Rangers

New York Yankees 4-2 over Tampa Bay Rays

National League

Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 over Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves 3-2 over San Francisco Giants

Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 over Atlanta Braves

World Series

Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 over New York Yankees

When I write a Bill Simmons-related post I usually get some Bill Simmons-defenders in the comment section, which is absolutely fine. They are stronger in defending him than the fans of any other writer I cover here and I can appreciate their enjoyment of his writing. I don't cover Bill every week because I don't always hate what he writes. I think if I could describe the one thing that annoys me the most about him is his hubris. He has a certain confident quality about him to where he believes his (and his friends) opinions are the correct opinions. While he is talented, the "I am relatable and just like you" vibe he tries to give off doesn't work as well since he isn't relatable and like us.

I also feel like he is not a very good persuasive writer at times for a reason I can't pinpoint, but it feels like it is mostly because he isn't very self-aware. He breaks his own sports "rules" on a regular basis and can't seem to understand why an article about the 2010 Red Sox "being boring" when they just happen to also not be leading the division sounds exactly like an excuse a fair weather fan would make.

Enough introduction, today Bill explains why he has forgiven Mike Vick.

My wife overheard me talking about Michael Vick this week. I made the mistake of mentioning how much I enjoyed his recent resurgence. In retrospect, I should have just said that women shouldn't have the right to vote, or that men should be allowed to trade their wives in every six years like cars. She waited for me to hang up, then asked calmly, "What's going on with Michael Vick?"

This week Bill's wife represents the opposing view of the position Bill holds about Mike Vick. Naturally of course. Did you expect someone who has a in-depth knowledge of sports and this situation or someone outside Bill's family to give the opposing view? No way. Giving the opposing view from someone who could debate Bill more effectively on the issues concerning Mike Vick wouldn't make Bill look as good. There's no comments on Bill's articles so those who may disagree have to go other places to disagree. This coming from a sportswriter who is considered to be "fan-friendly" by many. Go figure.

My wife processed this information the same way you would absorb a bad diagnosis from a doctor. She shook her head.

"The Dooze would be rolling around in her grave if we didn't cremate her," she said coldly.


My wife hates Michael Vick for the same reason most people hate him:

He played for Virginia Tech, then played for the Falcons, flipped off his own home crowd, got caught with marijuana in a secret compartment in a water bottle but no charges were filed because what smelled like marijuana in a secret compartment in a water bottle turned out to not be, and he had the audacity to play well against the Panthers?

She loves dogs.

Oh. Well a lot of people love dogs and have forgiven Mike Vick. I will still hate him more for going to Virginia Tech and playing well for the Falcons.

"I can't believe you fell for that crap," she said. "He's just doing it for the PR and to save his career. Anyone who hurts animals like he did has a dark side to them. That side doesn't go away. He can say all he wants. I know what he did. You'd care if you still loved dogs."

I don't necessarily fall one way or another on Vick, but I do enjoy how those who defend Vick with the reasoning that he has lost a ton of money and currently is in debt always conveniently leave out the possibility that Vick knows he can be on his best behavior for a couple of years and sign a rather large contract and that will help him get out of debt. I'm not saying he isn't rehabilitated, but he has financial incentive to pretend to be rehabilitated even if he isn't necessarily. Of course, if he is acting the way society wants him to act I guess his real intent doesn't matter.

Total dig. And partially justified. You might remember cancer claimed our first dog, the Dooze, in January of 2009.

This is the part where Bill goes into a drawn-out story (and kills space to increase the word count as well) about how he doesn't love his new dogs as much as he loves his old dogs partially because the newest "new" dog is ugly. There is also this gem in here.

Maybe I shouldn't make fun of Olivia's looks so relentlessly that my wife is convinced that I'm giving her a complex. (In my defense, she's historically ugly. I don't even want to include her in our family Christmas photo because her pea head and bulbous body will distract people from seeing our kids.)

I would pay $1,000 for a copy of the Simmons Christmas card...but only if the entire family was dressed in the exact same Christmas clothing as each other.

But I can't do it. And I can't do it for four reasons ...

A list! I didn't think I could survive a Bill Simmons column without a list.

1. Maybe I've seen too many sports movies. Maybe I'm a forgiving person. Maybe I like rooting for underdogs.

I am not sure exactly how Vick is the underdog here. He was the #1 pick in the 2001 draft, was the highest paid player in the NFL for a while as well as one of the NFL's largest marketing attractions and then he went to jail for a crime he admits he committed. It just doesn't feel like an underdog story to me.

I just know that I usually have trouble rooting against memorable athletes who hit rock bottom, regroup and bounce back ... unless that person plays for the Lakers or Yankees.

There is a middle ground. Don't root for or against Vick. That's my position.

I started rooting for Tiger again almost immediately after he crashed his Escalade. I love that Josh Hamilton is leading the American League in hitting.

I am not sure I see the symmetry in these two situations. Josh Hamilton wasn't a memorable athlete at all before he had his drug problem. Hamilton was a #1 overall pick. It's just he was seen as a #1 overall pick bust, so he wasn't on top of the world like Vick and Tiger were. Hamilton beat drugs and alcohol and turned his life around, then made an impact in sports. Hamilton had to really rise AFTER he fell, while Vick and Tiger had risen, fell and are trying to rise again.

Every prison sentence has four goals: remove a lawbreaking person from society; assess an appropriate penalty; incarcerate the individual as a deterrence from ever breaking the law again; and hopefully, rehabilitate him or her to become a contributing and upstanding member of society. With Vick, the first three goals were accomplished. The fourth goal seems to have been accomplished. What more do you want? Deny him a chance to make a living? Under what constitutional umbrella? The man paid his price.

No one is talking about not letting Vick make a living. That's not the issue. The issue is whether a person should actively root for Vick or not. It has nothing to do with him earning a living. You could use the same justification for a CEO who has embezzled millions of dollars from stockholders for his company (or whoever) and goes to jail for this. When he gets out, would it make sense to actively root for him to pay off the money he owed in damages and talk about how he should get a job as a CEO again because he has paid his price and has the right to earn a living? I am not sure it would. No one would cheer for this person. It's not about Vick earning a living, it is about actively rooting for him to succeed again. There is a difference in letting a person have the opportunity to earn money again and actively rooting for this person to succeed.

But dogfighting isn't much more abhorrent than some of the other ways we abuse animals. Ever watch what happens when a deer gets shot by a hunter but doesn't die right away?

The only way a deer who has been shot, but doesn't die immediately, that then gets killed by a hunter would be the same as dogfighting is if the hunter had the deer fight another deer and then shot the deer at non-lethal places on his body when that deer didn't fight well over a period of several fights. Then when the fight was over and the deer lost, he killed the deer in a manner that is painful for the deer, but is not very quick. In the realm of these things, a bullet to the brain is probably the most humane way to kill an animal. I'm not taking a moral stand on hunting, just saying it is a quick death, unlike what Vick did to his dogs.

Ever watch a group of turkeys get slaughtered for Thanksgiving?

I mean really? When I am saying Bill isn't good at persuading, this is what I mean. Bill is comparing the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner to the physical, mental, and emotional torture of animals. Clearly, he doesn't get it. Sure, the idea may be that both animals die, but it is the manner of death that makes a difference.

Let me give you a (extreme, I admit) scenario and I will let you (the reader) decide which act is more humane:

1. Criminal X walks up to a 12 year old girl at a park, shoots her in the back of the head, and buries her in the woods.

2. Criminal X walks up to a 12 year old girl at a park, kidnaps her to somewhere more private, rapes her, physically beats her after this act, leaves her tied up for a few hours, comes back to ask her if she wants to live or die, then shoots her and buries her in the woods.

Neither acts are really humane. Both acts end up the same way with a girl's death, but during the act there are other crimes and more extenuating circumstances that make up a difference in how the girl died and what she experienced during that time. That's an extreme example, but that is the difference in the examples Bill gives regarding Thanksgiving dinner and the crimes Vick committed against the dogs used to fight.

Hell, I plowed through a veal chop at dinner a few weeks ago. It was delicious. Does that mean I condone the creepy veal industry? Implicitly, yeah, it kinda does. Why didn't it bother me as I was putting salt on my chop and oooohing and ahhhhing about how tender the meat was? I don't know. I wish I knew. More of us are hypocrites about this stuff than we realize.

Did Bill torture the veal before it died? No? Then it isn't the same thing in the minds of people. Humans tend to look at the circumstances around a situation when judging whether it is right/wrong. Sure, we are hypocrites, but the fact 95% of the population are hypocrites about eating meat doesn't mean I am hypocrite for enjoying my chicken dinner and not actively cheering for Mike Vick. Refusing to actively cheer for Mike Vick doesn't mean I should be a vegetarian and actively cheering for Mike Vick doesn't mean I condone animal torture. Missing the difference in these two positions is misunderstanding the entire issue.

2. Generations of people grew up with dogfighting in the South (especially in poorer regions), and it's like anything else: Sometimes you don't fully realize something is wrong if you never knew anything else.

Vick didn't know what he was doing was wrong? Despite the fact his mom tried to persuade him to stop dogfighting? Why would she do that if she, and he, weren't aware it was wrong? Why did Mike Vick and the others who participate in dogfighting not do it in broad daylight where everyone can see what they are doing? Why did Mike Vick lie about his involvement initially and had a special place away from the road where he could fight the dogs? He had no idea what he was doing was wrong so much he actively attempted to hide his dogfighting operation involvement.

We cannot ignore the cultural elements here. Not everyone likes dogs or sees them as companions, guardians or family members. I have friends who regard dogs warily and act rattled around them.

Do these friends attempt to drown dogs and electrocute them in their spare time? No, then this is a terrible example. A person who is afraid of dogs isn't going to want to be around dogs, not use them as a way of gambling and building an entire dogfighting-ring empire around being around these dogs. Normal people who hate something don't want to be around that something.

I dined with "30 for 30" filmmaker Steve James (a Virginia native like Vick), who wondered if Vick's saga was more racially driven than anyone realized. James grew up with African-Americans who were terrified of dogs because of what happened in the 1960s and earlier, when police frequently used attack dogs to "quell" racial protests.

AFRAID of dogs is what these people are. They are terrified of dogs because of how they were used to quell racial protests. Hence, I would doubt these people who are afraid of dogs would be willing to be so close to dogs as to have the dog bite them and then provoke the dog through torture to even be more willing to bite them. It doesn't make sense.

Can I blame him for organizing an illegal underground gambling ring, breaking the law and surrounding himself with the wrong people? Of course. Do I think he should have paid a price? Yes. And he did.

Bill blames him, but also seems to indicate Vick was afraid of the dogs and didn't know what he was doing was wrong. Yet, he made it a point to be around dogs and hid his dogfighting operation. So Vick obviously wasn't afraid of the dogs and he knew it was wrong. Perhaps I grew up being taught that women were nothing but pieces of meat that could be slapped around when they didn't behave. People around me know I do it and tell me it is wrong. Does that make the beating of my wife more understandable to some people? I wouldn't think so. Yes, how you grow up has something to do with it, but at some point a person has to take ownership of his own thoughts and actions.

Again, I am not against Mike Vick playing in the NFL, I just am not in the business of making excuses for his actions like Bill seems to want to do. Vick paid his price and he got to come back. He is making the most of it, so good for him. It doesn't give me a reason to actively cheer for him.

3. Much like how O.J. Simpson raised awareness about domestic abuse, Vick did the same for animal abuse. Both men did it unwittingly and disgraced themselves in the process, but there's a crucial difference: By continuing his football career, becoming an animal rights activist and repeatedly acknowledging his mistakes, Vick will do more good than harm.

See, Vick did all of this and actually did a good thing for dogs. He brought awareness to the issue. This is another reason Bill can't hate Mike Vick, because in the end he did a good thing, by doing a bad thing. Maybe this whole situation ended up being a good thing in awareness, but that's not a reason for a person to actively cheer for Mike Vick. If he brought the awareness to light without committing the crime, then I could see how he is to be credited with raising awareness.

But if you believe in redemption, how can you not admire the way Vick humbly reinvented himself, dumped every negative influence in his life, surrounded himself with the right voices, picked an NFL franchise that was devoted to making him a better person, quickly won over his teammates and coaches, gracefully handled every interview (and a few biting questions), stayed out of trouble, waited patiently for a chance to shine, then crushed that chance when he got it?

Because it could be easy to say that Vick did all of this to get out of the mountain of debt he was in when he gets a new contract next year. Of course, there is no proof Vick is doing this, but when a person lives 20-something years of his life one way, it can be hard to believe the 2+ years he is living a different way is how he truly has become.

4. Selfishly, I missed watching the dude play.

This is easy to say coming from a guy who never had to watch his team play Mike Vick twice a year. It is also easy to say when Bill's team (until they hit a losing streak and then they are "boring") have had the great quarterback in the division and has watched the rest of the division struggle to find a long-term competent quarterback.

Great athletes resonate for one or more of the following reasons ...

They are original prototypes.
They are breathtaking to watch.
They are impossibly consistent.
They get better when it matters.
They are transcendently great.

That's really it. Those five things.

Bill Simmons sets the rules in sports. A great athlete can never resonate with you if they don't fit into these five reasons that Bill just took two minutes to think of. If you like an athlete for another reason, perhaps that athlete isn't great.

I forgot how much I missed his patented, "You think you have me sacked ... only NO! Now it looks like I'm gonna run, only NO!" double move that always ends with him taking two steps backward, setting his feet and zipping a frozen rope for a first down.

Again, this is easy to say when Vick hasn't done this to your team on a repeating basis. I missed that move like I am going to miss Dwayne Jarrett driving drunk around Charlotte and taking up a valuable roster spot.

Sure, the schedule broke perfectly for him: two garbage-time quarters against Green Bay, then gimme games against Jacksonville and Detroit (two of the league's worst teams). We haven't seen him face an aggressive, hungry defense yet.

"Sure, Vick has played some bad defenses, but it's better to ignore that and immediately begin to try and put him in the discussion of the great quarterbacks in the NFL."

But anyone who says Vick didn't distinguish himself these first three weeks is lying. There's no quarterback quite like him; not now, not five years ago, not five years from now. He's an original prototype

So if Mike Vick tortured dogs and then led the exact same life he is leading now, but stunk at football, Bill Simmons wouldn't be so quick to forgive him? It's good to see Bill's ambiguity on enjoying teams/people only when they are playing well, like the Red Sox, extends to other parts of his life as well. He partially forgives Vick more because Vick plays well at sports.

During his occasionally electric Jacksonville performance, Vick made one play that instantly made me picture my friend Whitlock

"My friend Whitlock." This is the type of thing a four year old says. A four year old never says a person's name, but will begin it with "my friend" and then the person's name. Bill Simmons, who is not a four year old, does the same thing.

Also, we all fucking know who Whitlock is. It is Jason Whitlock. If someone knows who Bill Simmons is, they probably know who Jason Whitlock is, so trying to make it seem like it is just a guy named Whitlock and not putting "Jason" in front of his name is just weird.

giggling on his sofa and typing a "Michael Vick is doing his damned thang!" tweet. Sure enough, the tweet popped up on my feed a few seconds later. How many football players resonate quite like that?

Uh-oh. Vick passed "the Whitlock Test" which means if an athlete can make Jason Whitlock giggle and write tweets about him, then he is definitely transcendent. This is some elite company that can do this to Jason Whitlock and includes NFL stars like Nate Davis.

Now comes the time when Bill starts having cause and effect problems:

Check out his numbers from 2002 to 2006, when Atlanta won 37 of the 64 games he started:

2002 (15 games): 2,936 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 81.6 rating, 777 rushing yards (8 TDs)

2003 (4 games): 585 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 69.0 rating, 255 rushing yards (1 TD)

2004 (15 games): 2,313 yards, 14 TDs, 12 INTs, 78.1 rating, 902 rushing yards (3 TDs)

2005 (15 games): 2,412 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs, 73.1 rating, 597 rushing yards (6 TDs)
2006 (16 games): 2,474 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 75.7 rating, 1,039 rushing yards (2 TDs)

Not great, right? You could make a pretty strong "over ... rated [clap clap clap-clap-clap]" case

Vick was not overrated. He just wasn't a strong passer. It wasn't his strong suit. Just like Peyton Manning isn't a good runner, Vick isn't a great passer, but it is not like he can't pass the ball at all.

-- until you look at his receivers. Much like Tracy McGrady during his Orlando apex, Vick's supporting cast was significantly worse than we realized at the time. These were the six best seasons by any Atlanta receiver during that 2002-2006 stretch:

Doesn't the ability of a quarterback to pass the ball and his receiver's statistics sort of go hand-in-hand with each other? Is Steve Smith a terrible receiver because he doesn't have a quarterback who can get him the ball? How good is Dwayne Bowe? We don't know for sure because there hasn't been a quarterback in Kansas City yet that can get him the ball on a consistent basis. There's a reason Tony Gonzalez wanted to be traded to Atlanta. Wide receivers (and tight ends) are often dependent on their quarterback getting them the ball to put up great numbers. That may be why they are so loud and diva-like (random speculation coming). They subconsciously need attention to remind everyone they have to be noticed to put up great statistics...because they need the football and have to get enough attention to get the ball passed to them. Perhaps Vick brought the Atlanta receivers down and not the other way around.

So the Atlanta receivers may have put up bad numbers because Vick wasn't a great passer. Of course Bill doesn't see it this way and blames the receivers bad numbers on their talent.

Alge Crumpler ('05): 877 yards, 65 catches, 5 TDs
Brian Finneran ('02): 838 yards, 56 catches, 6 TDs
Peerless Price ('03): 838 yards, 64 catches, 3 TDs
Alge Crumpler ('06): 780 yards, 56 catches, 7 TDs
Alge Crumpler ('04): 774 yards, 48 catches, 8 TDs
Brian Finneran ('05): 611 yards, 50 catches, 2 TDs

Bill probably doesn't know this, since he most likely assumes Alge Crumpler never played in the NFL until he was signed by New England, but Alge Crumpler was one of the top 3 tight ends in football the entire time that Mike Vick played for the Falcons.

In 2005 when Vick had Crumpler, Finneran, Roddy White and Michael Jenkins he did not improve his passing an incredible amount. The next year he wasn't much better with Crumpler, White and Jenkins AND he a great running game with Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood (Vick went over 1,000 rushing as well). Vick's poor passing isn't because of the receivers, but because Vick wasn't a great passer.

With the shit sandwich combo of Joey Harrington, Chris Redman, and Byron Leftwich throwing the ball to them, both Michael Jenkins and Roddy White set career highs in receiving yards in 2007. Call me crazy, but those three guys aren't necessarily seen as great passing quarterbacks.

Then in 2008 with a rookie quarterback, both Jenkins and White surpassed their career highs from the previous year. The next year, in 2009, when Ryan had some injury problems their numbers went back down. It seems to me like the Falcons receivers were hurt more by Vick than Vick was hurt by the Falcons receivers, especially since two Falcons receivers (White and Jenkins) began to thrive after Vick left the team.

Are you kidding me???? Vick's best targets in 2002 were Finneran and Crumpler (455 yards, 2 TDs). Yikes.

The wide receivers were not impressive but Crumpler was a great tight end that year.

They spent first-rounders on Michael Jenkins in 2004 (in 2005-06: 75 catches, 954 yards, 10 TDs) and Roddy White in 2005 (2005-06: 59 catches, 952 yards, 3 TDs);

Bill is in the process of making a terrible argument. He shows how bad Jenkins and White were when Vick was the quarterback and doesn't even stop to think that maybe that was as a result of Vick's average passing skills. Showing how bad these two receivers were with Vick throwing them the ball is doing the opposite of convincing me Bill has a point about Vick not being the source of the problem.

by the time White's career belatedly bloomed, Vick was gone.

Weird how that happened the very year after Vick left with Leftwich, Redman, and Harrington throwing him the ball. I like how Bill says White's career "belatedly bloomed," like White suddenly became a great receiver for no reason. The only variable that no longer was in place, other than one more year of experience, is a new quarterback throwing White the ball.

I can buy Vick didn't have targets early in his career, but he still had Crumpler, and he had guys to throw to later in his career. Bill's argument here is a fail.

It's possible that Vick never had a fair chance to thrive in Atlanta, and that a half-decent coach/receiving crew of Andy Reid, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek might be a career-altering upgrade over anything he's ever had.

Bill would not know this either, since he only follows the Patriots, but the Falcons designed the entire offense around Mike Vick. They worked with him a ton and hired people to work with him. Vick had a fair chance to succeed in Atlanta, that was pretty much the entire foundation the organization was built upon...making sure Vick succeeded.

Fair enough. But I believe in second chances for anyone who screwed up because they were immature, came from a poor background or were surrounded by unseemly influences ... as long as that person makes amends.

And as long as that person doesn't play for a team Bill has an obvious bias against.

The difference between Vick and LeBron James -- another superstar who hailed from a rough background and tarnished his image, only unlike Vick, he did so without intentionally hurting anyone or breaking the law -- is that LeBron steadfastly refuses to admit his "Decision" was ruinously handled from start to finish. If he had a do-over, he would ram that butcher's knife into Cleveland's back all over again.

The biggest difference in Vick and James is that Vick has had multiple years to think about what he did wrong (which was a crime by the way) and LeBron James has only had a couple of months to think about how he would handle his move to the Heat in a way that satisfied the public more.

How do I know this? Because LeBron never jettisoned the sycophants and opportunists who walked him into July's public relations disaster. And because he still doesn't seem to comprehend why so many found "The Decision" so revolting, as evidenced by LeBron playing the race card this week.

I am sure Vick wouldn't have made the necessary changes to his life three months after the incident he was involved in either. This is a bad comparison. Bill is acting like LeBron James has had as much time as Vick had to re-think how he would redo parts of his life. It's not true. He's had a couple of months and really hasn't had a reason to question how the move to the Heat was handled. Plus, you know, LeBron James didn't go to jail or commit a crime.

LeBron "never" jettisoned the sycophants and opportunists because only a few months have gone by since LeBron made "The Decision."

For a variety of reasons, LeBron lived his first 25 years without ever finding such a person. Sometimes you can't shape your life; sometimes your life shapes you. Nobody knows this better than Michael Vick.

Because a person with a $100 million contract and hangers-on who listen to his every word have absolutely no control over the direction his/her life takes. Vick's life shaped him in some ways, but he had a chance to change this and he didn't do it.

In "Shawshank," there's that wonderful scene near the end when the parole board asks if Red has been rehabilitated.

Fucking "Shawshank." No one cares.

I believe Michael Vick talked some sense into himself. Just in time. I like to believe it, anyway. That's why I root for him every Sunday. And if he doesn't truly feel he's changed, then I can only tell you this: He snookered me good.

And nobody snookers Bill Simmons. Except maybe Hench and House. Let him tell you a story about this one time in Vegas when Hench got drunk and played craps until the early morning. It was hilarious...


Matt said...

so Bill roots for Vick but against Peyton Manning. hmmm.

one wonders if there was a Michael Vick "I just got caught with my hand on the rape stand" face whether Bill would still be rooting for Vick.

Bengoodfella said...

Matt, yes. Bill can actively cheer for Vick but not Peyton Manning. He must really hate the Colts.

I love the name of that face! I think if Vick had that face then Bill would cheer for him even harder.

Martin said...

I liked the sports Gal even more after this column. I can totally get into the "Got caught, did his time, let the man move on" since I think everybody has a friend or family member who has ended up on the wrong end of the law in some fashion. I can also get her "I'll always hate him for what he did to dogs, and I think he's a liar" position. Fair enough. At least she has a position. Bill just likes watching Vick play, so he's looking for reasons to forgive him.

Mike Vick to me is a lot like Martha Stewart in that yes there are other people doing the same thing, maybe even on larger scale, who aren't being punished or prosecuted to this extreme. That doesn't mean that those other people shouldn't be! Lesser guilty is still guilty, and I'm pissed that other inside traders and dog fighting ring leaders aren't in jail and having their savings stripped from them, but it doesn't mean we let the famous but less guilty ones slide.

This just in, Roy Halladay is a bad ass.

Bengoodfella said...

I personally think Vick has done his time and we should all move now. That being said ("Curb" reference anyone?), I am not going to actively cheer for Vick. Bill's column wasn't even about forgiving Vick, but actively cheering for him b/c I haven't ever really liked him.

I can see the Martha Stewart comparison. I think Vick did bring some awareness to the issue of dogfighting but I am not going to give him credit for it. He shouldn't have gotten to slide and he did his time.

Roy Halladay is a badass and ridiculous. What a well-pitched game.

Matt said...

that was ridiculous last night. i know railing on bad sportswriting is your thing (and i love it), but if you get a chance check out some of Jason Stark's work at he really shines this time of year. poetic, almost.

Bengoodfella said...

Matt, it's not just my thing. Anyone can learn to be as picky and useless as I am about complaining about bad sportswriting. I will check out Stark's work though.

Justin said...

"No one is talking about not letting Vick make a living. That's not the issue. The issue is whether a person should actively root for Vick or not."
Yeah, on the other hand - this.

Bill is comparing the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner to the physical, mental, and emotional torture of animals.
Umm, so, have you seen how animals live and die in our industrialized food supply system? To get into the details of that, I think you'd be hard pressed to defend the position that it does not constitute physical, mental and emotional torture of animals.

Other than that, I agree with you about Simmons. That writing is pretty shitty, and when he starts comparing Vick's situation to other athletes, most especially Lebron, he sounds like an idiot.

your favourite sun said...

Clearly Simmons doesn't realize there's a difference between "correction" and "redemption." Vick corrected his behavior; redemption ain't so easy. That would be a long discussion that Simmons wouldn't be qualified to handle so he's better off not trying. I won't try, either.

Also who knew that he only played "two garbage-time quarters" against the Packers? They were only down 7 when he stepped in(for good, he had been used for a few wildcat plays in the first half), but it was still early and if not for a Eldra Buckley fumble, the Eagles probably end up tying that game. They had a drive with four minutes left in the game where they were only down 7. A case can be made that the Packers didn't base their game strategy on stopping Vick and were perhaps underprepared for the QB change, but Bill's implying that the Packers had their scrubs in 'cause it was "garbage-time." I'd like to hear his reasoning why Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson played every second of this "garbage-time" against Vick.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, that is a good point. I shouldn't have said "no one" was talking about that. I should have said I am not talking about that. Most of those main hits a year old now, but your point stands. I take it back...I am not talking about taking away Vick's right to earn a living. Other people are, but I am not.

I am somewhat aware of the way our food supply is fed and killed. Like I said, we are hypocrites about stuff like that, but possibly part of my hypocrisy is I find it different what Vick did with dogfighting and how our food supply is treated. I think possibly I look at it differently because it is food that I eat, which really isn't a good excuse. Still, I don't know if I can buy the comparison to Thanksgiving dinner. I see how others could though.

I didn't get the part that went on about LeBron James either. I thought it was a weak comparison. Vick has had more time to re-think his actions. I feel like Bill is arguing a point and can't support it too well.

Sun, I see the difference. Vick has corrected his behavior, I don't know if he is redeemed yet. What got me about this article was that Bill was trying to convince everyone to openly cheer for him, which I am not sure I can find justification for. Yeah, he is a better person now, but I don't have to cheer him because of this.

There was no garbage time in that game. Clay Matthews and Woodson played all game and I know this b/c I got some crazy fantasy stats from Matthews. I have a feeling Bill may not have seen the game. Vick was in the game just after halftime if I remember correctly.

anti-simmons avenger said...

bill simmons is an arrogant tool

Bengoodfella said...

Nice blog. I checked it out. Good luck with the Bill Simmons hating. It can get pretty rough sometimes.