Shutdown Corner - NFL

Michael Vick(notes) can't even cancel an event appearance without getting ragged on by the press.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was lambasted in a Philadelphia Inquirer column on Tuesday morning for bailing on an event for at-risk young adults at the city's Franklin Institute. Columnist Ashley Fox said Vick's cancellation "adds doubt that he can handle his new station in life" and theorizes that such actions suggest Vick will revert to his old ways once he pays off his creditors. The thing is, Vick's people canceled his appearance well in advance and the event's organizer said he was aware of the quarterback's plans.

Anthony Martin, who put on the event for 200 boys at risk of dropping out of school, was quoted in the second-to-last paragraph of the column:

"I'm hearing [Vick] had some type of emergency, so I really don't know what's going on. [...] I knew about it a couple of days ago. They called and said he had some type of problem where he's got to go back to Virginia. I know Vick pretty well. If that's the case, something happened, otherwise I know he would be here for sure."

Where's the problem? Vick isn't allowed to cancel scheduled appearances anymore? If he had stood everyone up or canceled at the last minute, there would be a definite reason to criticize him. But if the event's organizer says he knew about it days in advance, then this is a lot of smoke for absolutely no fire.

Michael Vick doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, but he also doesn't deserve to be treated with skepticism every time something doesn't go smoothly. If he screws up, it's open season on questions about whether he's really changed. Until then, cut the guy at least a little slack.

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