We've written a lot in the last couple of days about the Will Leitch-penned GQ article about Michael Vick, and it was our pleasure to speak with Will Friday morning to get a better sense of a piece that went in-depth with the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback about his dogfighting past, and the circumstances surrounding his reinstatement into the league.
Of primary issue from the article: First, the fact that Vick seemed to be backtracking and rationalizing certain aspects of the dogfighting operation he helped run and finance. Second, the possibility that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL representatives "steered" Vick toward the Philadelphia Eagles, and away from the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, as a possible condition of his reinstatement.
We wanted to get the story from the man himself, and Will was kind enough to indulge our line of questioning for over 25 minutes on Friday morning. In addition to his fine work with GQ, Will also built Deadspin up from the ground, writes for New York Magazine, and co-runs Yahoo's movie blog, The Projector. He's a pretty big deal these days.
We have quotes from the interview below the jump, and the podcast below for you to check out.
On how sorry Vick should be, and for how long — is he deflecting responsibility now? "I think he's done some really terrible things, and I think this is something that he was less involved in than some of the other people who were involved.
"And that's not excusing it at all, but I do believe that Vick thinks that … this is something that he grew up with, and so few people have gone to jail as a result of this. I'm not saying it's OK, and I don't think Vick's saying that it's OK. But I do think that it's a lot more complicated in Vick's mind than it's made out to be.
"There's a difference between how we want Vick to be from now on, and the way that he is, and the way he would realistically be expected to be."
On the idea that the NFL "steered" him to Philadelphia as a condition of his reinstatement: "I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is what my conversation with Vick was, and what's in the story is there. Certainly it's clear that Vick was not saying, 'I wanted to go [to some other team]', and Roger Goodell said, 'No — you're going here.' I think it's a reasonable question to ask, having read that section of the story, and having listened to Vick's quotes.
"And for the record, in his clarification, Vick never says that Goodell had nothing to do with this. He said that he had a lot of advisors during that time."
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