Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Michael Vick and Jim Mora are absolutely fascinating....

Michael Vick/ Courtesy: beat.bodoglife.com
Yes, I can't believe that I am saying this either. Sure, it's a couple days after this absolutely riveting interview took place, but it's the first chance that I've had to actually see it.

Why is it amazing? Because I was there, I covered these guys with the Falcons. Both of them. I interviewed these guys, quite frequently from 2004-2006. I spent time with them and have a pretty good feel for both of them. To say that this interview was utterly fascinating, would be a huge understatement.

First, let's provide a link (since we can't embed NFL.com stuff), to the two parts of this interview. I highly recommend you watch both. After the links, I will analyze them, because my perspective probably will be a little different than yours.

Follow the link to Part One of the Interview
Follow the link to Part Two of the Interview

Let me start by saying this. It was obviously a cleansing of the soul...for both of these guys to talk. It was a bit robotic, Mora isn't exactly a "TV" guy, at the beginning...by the time it ended they forgot the camera's were there and couldn't have been more honest an open about things.

They touched on some issues that not everyone knew. As to the "Rolex" incident and the "Water Bottle" incident they mentioned. The "Water Bottle"--Vick getting in trouble for having a hollowed out water bottle taken from him at Miami International Airport and being suspected of holding his marijuana. There were never charges filed, but it was suspected that the whole thing was swept away.

Mora with Falcons/Courtesy: upi.com
The "Rolex" incident refers to an incident where one of Vick's "Boys" was accused of taking a man's Rolex at Atlanta's airport after walking through a security gate. It made the paper in Atlanta but that was it. It was widely believed that Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, who was more or less in charge of cleaning up after Falcons players at the time, arranged for the incident to be "taken care of".

Both of these people, Vick and Mora, were the face...and behind the scenes, the issue with the Falcons at that time. The Vick...lack of work ethic question...was widely known in Atlanta. We knew he didn't spend any time more than he had to at work. He never put in the time in Atlanta. Players would whisper it and tell you off record, but it was never reported.

Vick, for his part, never even tried to associate with most of the guys on the team at the time. Now we know why. We all knew he had a huge entourage around him and they were trouble. He also got a "Free Pass" from the Falcons. They never held him to a standard. Any standard. Most of us who covered the team talked about this...a lot.

True story: My Sports Director and I came up to Flowery Branch on a game week in 2005. We had set up a sit down interview with Vick and were told he'd be made available around 11am. 11am came and no Vick. We were told he had to go to a meeting and we could have him after the meeting. At 1pm. Still no Vick. Said the Falcons PR "We're trying to find him...sit tight". At 3pm from Falcons PR "We think he left campus for a couple minutes, he'll be right back". Finally, we left at 5pm, 6-hours later, no Vick, no interview and had to drive 40 minutes back to the station and put together our Sportscast. Come to find out,  he apparently left around 12:30, after practice and went wherever he went and never came back, never checked in...we never got an apology.

Having interviewed Vick myself, several times, I always found him to be a somewhat shy person. Not as dumb as he seemed to be, but somewhat quiet. I think he nailed it when he said that "I wasn't a man at that point in my life". He was a topic of conversation. A lot. There was the camp that "He's a Hoodlum" and the "No, he's just listening to the wrong people". Both...and neither were true.

It was a shocker when the dogfighting stuff came up. It's safe to say, nobody saw that one coming. It was ugly to cover and we did cover it. Protests and insincere apologies, we heard it all. I was there, right in front of him, at an offseason camp after the initial allegations when he was placed on a bleacher, spit back a prepared statement and then walked away, ESPN pointlessly chasing after him.

Anyway, the interview was fascinating. I give Mora credit for actually talking about some of the stuff he did. That perhaps was the biggest surprise. Hearing what Vick said impressed me. He sounded more like the guy that I thought he could be. He sounded like a grown up who realizes what he did and that it was wrong.

There is a certain segment of the population that will never forgive him, no matter what he does. That's life. I'm not sure I totally do either. But, I respect him for admitting he made a mistake. For at least trying to say the right things and not having it sound forced. I really think that he believes what he said in this interview and quite honestly, that is a really, really good thing.

Can't say that I ever saw this Nike commericial...interesting though. Courtesy: YouTube:

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