And now we know why the Eagles didn’t want Mike Vick to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.
In an interview with Will Leitch and published by GQ, Vick said that he wanted to sign in 2009 with the Bills or the Bengals, and that he was steered by the league to Philadelphia.
Here’s the key passage from the article: “‘I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth,’ Vick tells me. . . . “I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.’ Those two teams wanted him and would’ve allowed him to start, but after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convinced — and granted league approval — to sign with Philly. ‘And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation.'”
Though Vick isn’t directly quoted as saying that Commissioner Roger Goodell or anyone else with the league recommended, suggested, and/or ordered that Vick go to the Eagles, the narrative information provided by Leitch makes it clear that Vick said something along those lines.
So what is Vick saying now? Like the league has done, Vick has denied that he was steered to Philly.
Here’s the full statement that he has released, through the Eagles: “I felt it was necessary to put out a statement today clarifying the article in GQ Magazine. I did speak with many people, but the decision to sign in Philadelphia was based on my discussions with my agent, my family and with Coach Reid. And after those discussions, it became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to play and resume my NFL career. The Commissioner never told me to sign or not sign with particular teams. Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a decision I made and, as I have said numerous times before, I’m very happy with the way it has worked out for me and my family.”
Read the statement carefully. Does he say he didn’t get advice from Goodell or from any other league officials? Nope.
And who’s the “they” to whom Vick is referring when he says “they” put him “in the right situation”? His agent? His family? Coach Reid? Or the league?
The fact that it was a print interview gives Vick the ability to say that he didn’t say what he said (of course, audiotapes of the interview possibly exist — we’ve contacted Leitch with that very question) makes a print interview far less risky than a televised Q&A. If Vick had said what he said (or what he now claims he didn’t say) while sitting on the remnants of Tom Cruise’s size sixes, Vick would have zero wiggle room. [Editor’s note: We are not claiming as a matter of fact that Tom Cruise wears size six shoes. We also are making no other comments or reports regarding any other aspect of Cruise’s shoes, boots, and/or loafers.]
Look for the Eagles to put the clamps on Vick, who has been increasingly available and chatty, over the next few weeks and possibly beyond. And whoever suggested that it made sense for Vick to do the GQ interview can look forward to some sort of a finger wagging from someone with the team.