Vick has no one to blame but himself - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

By Tom Curran

Vick has no one to blame but himself

In a minor upset, the Atlanta Falcons got it mostly right Tuesday night.

When the club put a statement up on its team Web site about the indictment of franchise hood ornament Michael Vick, phrases like "due process", "presumed innocent" and "upstanding young man" were wonderfully missing.

The Falcons instead said, "This situation has been troubling to many people, including our fans, during the last few months. With today's news, our club and team will continue to be tested as Michael works through the legal process toward a conclusion."

Let the courts worry about whether or not Mike Vick and his lowlife buddies get due process in federal court. Let them have the presumption of innocence and let justice be blind for them as they fight to save their skins.

But there's no denying that really depraved things went on regularly at Vick's house in Surry County, Virginia. And the court of public opinion can come back with its verdict now. Vick is either a moron of monumental proportions for not knowing what was going on (highly unlikely) or a scumbag who was up to his eyes in the bloodsport of organized dogfighting.

Vick will play in the NFL again. He'll probably play this year - under indictment. But his reputation is as stained and nasty as the dirt those dogs fought to their deaths on. There's no coming back from that.

It will be interesting to see how hot a seller those No. 7 Vick jerseys are now. How much Vick-endorsed product does Nike expect to move when his name is now synonymous with dogfighting not electrifying athleticism? What looks better on an orange prison jumpsuit - a white swoosh or a black one?

Ask yourself this: will you be able to see Vick's face fill up your TV screen, look into his sleepy eyes and not think to yourself, "Those eyes have (allegedly) watched dogs tear each other apart and fight to the death and those eyes have enjoyed it."

But I mentioned that the Falcons only got it mostly right. What'd they get wrong?

This: "We are disappointed that one of our players - and therefore the Falcons - is being presented to the public in a negative way, and we apologize to our fans and the community for that."

What the hell does "being presented to the public in a negative way" mean?

Who's doing the presenting? The media? The investigators? The NFL?

Say it, Falcons. Don't come up to the line and back off. Say it. "We are disappointed that one of our players has presented himself to the public in a negative way, and we apologize to our fans and the community for that."

Even if it took a couple of months and a few exhumations to strip away the veneer, this is what Michael Vick has chosen to present himself as.

Michael Vick isn't under indictment because of where he grew up, who he grew up with, the legions of enablers and apologists that let phenomenal athletes play by their own rules, willful investigators or a Falcons team that must have had its head buried in the sand - or somewhere else - to not know what a guy contracted to make more than $100 million was up to in his spare time.

Blame Michael Vick. Apparently, he was up to his neck in it. And no matter how fast and elusive Vick is on a football field, his reputation took a lethal hit Tuesday.

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