Before he became the scum of the earth, Michael Vick was the strongest-armed, fastest-running quarterback on earth.
He mesmerized opponents. He could scramble and escape trouble, it seemed, at will. He’d make up things as he went along, think quickly on his feet and spring himself free.
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What worked so effectively for him on the field, however, couldn’t help him off the field. Vick couldn’t scramble out of trouble with the law. He made things up as he went along, all right, and lied, but he didn’t spring himself free at all.
He’s going to jail. His associates in a dogfighting ring — yech — spilled the beans to legal authorities about his participation in this nonsense and now he’s been sacked for the worst loss of his life.
He’s lost dignity. He’s lost millions and millions of dollars. He’s lost endorsements. And he’s likely lost his career.
Who’d want to give this sicko another chance?
I’m sure we agree by now that this is the most lamentable, most disgusting sports story of our lifetimes. We thought we saw it all before this — athletes’ careers being derailed by drugs, alcohol, gambling and even murder.
This officially is the most astounding, most unfathomable fall from grace in sports history.
At 27, with so much to look forward to, Vick just couldn’t obey the law. He couldn’t be humane. He couldn’t refrain from being a heartless criminal.
Vick is a (pick one of two profanities that rhyme here. Both are applicable).
• David Wells, at 44, has neither eaten nor pitched his way out of baseball just yet. The hefty lefty, released recently by the San Diego Padres, is talking to both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies about joining them for the stretch drive ... Rick Ankiel is baseball’s top story these days for working his way back to St. Louis as a power-hitting outfielder after struggling as a pitcher with the Cardinals years ago. Well, Lance Niekro has a similar strategy. After failing in San Francisco as a first baseman/outfielder, Niekro has begun to pitch in the minor leagues and hopes to return to MLB as a knuckleballer, as his father Joe and uncle Phil were ... Jesse Barfield and George Bell were bosom buddies as Blue Jay outfielders in the 1980s, but the two haven’t spoken to each other in more than a decade. “I don’t even know where George is,” Barfield said, sadly.
• And from Denny Creehan, defensive co-ordinator of the Calgary Stampeders, who’ve allowed the most points in the CFL: “We’re so stupid at times, it’s unbelievable.”