There are a lot of Atlanta Falcons fans who still love Michael Vick(notes), and will always love Michael Vick. Why this is so, I'm not entirely sure, because it seems like with each passing day, Michael Vick makes a new effort to let the people at Atlanta know that he played them for chumps, every single step of the way.
First, while he was supposed to be saving the franchise and leading them to the promised land, he was also busy unleashing a holy war on the puppies of the area.
That's a crime, of course, and it cost him a good portion of his football career and ended his stay with the Falcons. If you want to stick by Vick's side through that, that's fine. I get it. He's a man, he made a mistake, and he deserves forgiveness. As long as he's dedicated to the home team, we can forgive a human foible and move on, right?
Well, what if, at the same time, he didn't give a damn about the home team, either?
Vick told 790 AM The Zone in Atlanta that while he played for the Falcons, he wasn't giving 100%. Now, I'm sure a lot of people already had a hunch that Vick didn't get the most out of his abilities, but hearing him admit is another thing. Vick openly admits that he wasn't anywhere near the quarterback he should have been. From AJC.com:
"There was a lot more I could have done off the field and in the film room that could have elevated my game to a different level," Vick said. "I was complacent at the time, somewhat lazy, and I settled for mediocrity. I thought what I was doing was enough."
"Just imagine what I could have been doing if I really would have been applying myself. That's a regret I have."
Now, there are a real crimes, and there are crimes against sports. Obviously, real crimes are worse.
But crimes against sports can be funny things. In a way, they're a bigger betrayal, because when we care so much and invest so much energy in our favorite players in teams, it can hurt to know that they didn't care even as much as you did.
Take Pete Rose, for example. His major offense in life was a crime against sports. He bet on baseball. Yet, he's barred from the game, he's become a joke and he's basically a sports pariah. And yet, how many wife beaters and guys with multiple DUIs -- real crimes that are clearly worse -- take the field with no real consequences, day in and day out?
This newest Vick crime, the one against sports, is a serious one, because he's gotten some insane amounts of unconditional love from the people of Atlanta, and what did he give them in return? Was he a model citizen and pillar of the community? No. Did he bust his hump to help the Falcons and work hard to be the best player he could be? Nope. He just admitted as much.
It seems like the love in that relationship has only gone one way. They loved Vick, and in return, he took their money, he took their cheers on Sunday, and he spit in their faces. Not just by his off-field activities, but by not caring about the game, either.