Michael Vick has a problem with commitment.
Just over two weeks ago, he cited personal and professional reasons after abruptly pulling out of an interview with Oprah. Then earlier this week he was a no-show during a planned public appearance in Philadelphia where he was set to speak in front of 200 high school students.
Today, Vick was once again missing in action, but this time it was due to the influence of a higher power. The resurgent quarterback was slated to be on First Take during ESPN’s week of fun and fanfare down at Disney World in Orlando. Evidently the Eagles didn’t like the idea, and yanked him with little warning.
Dana Jacobson informed the crowd gathered at Disney World, an announcement immediately met with a chorus of boos. Mickey Mouse quickly grabbed that magical wand he uses that shoots lightning bolts and went in search of Vick, but Goofy was relieved.
“We were supposed to have an interview with Michael Vick, we’ve been telling you about it, and sadly the Eagles actually pulled the interview, is what I’m being told,” Jacobson said to the crowd. “In all honesty, we were looking forward to talking to Michael about what has been a turnaround season for him and what has been a rough few years and getting to some other stuff.”
Vick will receive the usual barbs thrown his way from the animal activists, and a shield to protect him from those barbs will quickly be erected by those who staunchly defend his actions. They’ll use words like “redemption,” and cite the right to have a second chance.
They’re all missing the point.
If the Eagles did indeed yank Vick as Jacobson says, we’re now looking at a franchise attempting to coddle a player who’s far more than just their star and the centrepiece of their offence. He’s a highly polarizing public figure.
Vick is 30 years old, and capable of making his own decisions regarding where he’d like to appear publicly, and what appearances he wants to stay away from. He’s also more than capable of accepting the potential backlash of turning down an appearance.
But it’s virtually impossible to put a positive spin on an organization hovering over its marquee name so intensely. That especially applies to this instance given the massive financial partnership between the NFL and ESPN.
UPDATE: The Eagles have denied pulling Vick, calling ESPN’s claims an “outright lie.” Derek Boyko, Philadelphia’s director of media relations, said an interview was confirmed on Vick’s behalf, but Vick was never informed of it directly. The Facebook page for First Take makes it clear that ESPN’s understanding is that Vick was pulled. The show apologized to its fans, saying they now have something in common with Oprah.