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Vick claims he read dogs better than defenses, was a good liar

Michael Vick AP

Michael Vick’s doing a lot of selling these days.

The Eagles quarterback’s promising Super Bowls while protecting himself.

And from peddling T-shirts to a new book, there’s a lot of work going into reclaiming his image fter a 21-month prison stay for federal dogfighting charges.

Vick’s new autobiography, Finally Free, will go on sale Sept. 4. But he provided several excerpts to USA Today, in which he describes many of the events which led to his jail time.

Vick has vowed to turn things around, to become an advocate for animals instead of a killer of them.

“I’ve made peace with it, because I have no control over it. It’s not like I could do it all over again,” he said in the interview that accompanied the book excerpts. “But at the same time, I think I made a lot of changes for the better and I think in my quest to be an advocate against dogfighting and working with the Humane Society, I’ve helped more animals than I’ve hurt, and I continue to do that.”

Two things stood out among the brief portions of the book (which he said he began writing in prison) given to USA Today, the first an admission about how involved he was in dogfighting.

“Back when I was involved in those activities, I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons playbook. I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses. That’s just so sad to say right now, because I put more time and effort into trying to master that pursuit than my own profession . . .  which was my livelihood . . . which put food on the table for my family.”

He also talked about lying to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

“I knew how to lie with a straight face. Sad to say, Commissioner Goodell bought into what I was saying, and I think he truly believed me that I was telling the truth. I deeply regret not telling him the truth from the outset.

“It was a very nervous time for me. I knew I was going to try to lie my way through the whole dogfighting case and see if money, good lawyers, and manipulating the system could get me out of the position I was in — which was a terrible position.”

For what it’s worth, red flags go up for me when a guy selling a redemption story brags about what a good liar he is. But I’ve also talked to a number of people around the league who have worked closely with Vick who strongly vouch for his sincerity, and he was careful to surround himself with one of the league’s paragons of virtue (Tony Dungy).

Vick’s story is an appealing one, because falling down and getting back up is the central struggle every piece of literature needs.

At the same time, the nature of the crimes he committed and was punished for will keep a lot of people from ever buying what he’s selling.

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29 Responses to “Vick claims he read dogs better than defenses, was a good liar”
  1. 76erer says: Jul 17, 2012 8:14 AM

    The guy is not bragging about being a great liar, he is telling the public the honest truth no matter how bad it makes him look and sound.

  2. franklamar17 says: Jul 17, 2012 8:21 AM

    Mr Vick has turned a ugly event in his life into something postive,you cannot change the past but you can change the future…

  3. tinkletinkleonyourstar says: Jul 17, 2012 8:28 AM

    For what it’s worth, red flags go up for me when a guy selling a redemption story brags about what a good liar he is. But I’ve also talked to a number of people around the league who have worked closely with Vick who strongly vouch for his sincerity, and he was careful to surround himself with one of the league’s paragons of virtue (Tony Dungy).”

    in the first sentence you justifiably questions his sincerity and point out that he admitted he was a good liar, then you proceed to imply that because “a number of people around the league” have bought in, it must be real. silly.

    Dungy, “parogon of virtue”???
    Still waiting for Dungy’s book on how he failed as parent. I know florio has said he has meals with him frequently so you may not allow this post, but let’s not forget that while he was spending all his time trying to win, his son was no doubt in horrible pain to the point he killed himself.
    I would not call that a “paragon of virtue”.

  4. labratre says: Jul 17, 2012 8:47 AM

    He don’t have to really sell anything to anyone, to be totally honest with you. The crime in which he was committed, was convicted for, as well as paid the piper for was really punishment enough. He got what he had coming to him. Now, he’s free, and back to playing ball again, so, we all should move forward. The crimes in which he committed against those dogs were horrible. With that said, it is totally up to Mike Vick to show through his actions, good will, if he learned a lesson, and is a better person for it. It is not up to any of us to judge anyone. So, we shall see, if that lesson was learned, in due time. Until then, leave him be, to quarterbacking those Eagles from Philadelphia and enjoy his talents on the field. Thank you!

  5. dcsween says: Jul 17, 2012 8:57 AM

    I don’t have a red flag. There is a big difference between being a very good liar and a truly great liar. Most head coaches understand this.

  6. realitypolice says: Jul 17, 2012 9:00 AM

    I sincerely doubt that “he’s helped more animals than he’s hurt” by advocating against dog fighting.

    A good follow up question would have been- “if you had seen an athlete stand up and say dog fighting was bad when you were young, would it have stopped you?”

    Of course it wouldn’t have. Even after everything that has happened, there are still posters on this site who don’t think there is anything wrong with dogfighting.

    I’m sure we’ll hear from some of them.

  7. bigjdve says: Jul 17, 2012 9:05 AM

    I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of Mike Vick. I personally have felt that since the day that he started at VT he was an insufferable entitled prick.

    However, I do believe that he paid his debt and also that he did what it took to be allowed back into the league. So let him play, and give him a chance to show that 1 mistake doesn’t make a man.

    I would like to believe what he is saying now. If it is true, then he is a step ahead of alot of other professional athletes, politicians, and celebrities. He has admitted that he was wrong and that he was at fault.

    Only time will tell if he really means what he says, but it is nice to at least see him attempting to make the change. Admitting wrong doing and taking responsibility is a good first step.

    Bravo!

  8. latchbeam says: Jul 17, 2012 9:30 AM

    If he wasn’t an NFL star, he would still be in prison… That being said, it looks like he sincerely has turned his life around, which is awesome.

  9. phillyphan72 says: Jul 17, 2012 9:30 AM

    He still has trouble reading defenses and may never be able to.Its evident by the turnovers he commits or when he just drops back and takes off because of phantom pressure…Please get Colt McCoy

  10. lostsok says: Jul 17, 2012 9:32 AM

    Vick could have glossed over a lot of stuff. It sounds like he is being brutally honest. And, to truly change as a person, he has to be.

    I hope he lives up to his word, and does enough good in the world to offset the bad. I wish him the best.

  11. cardiovascularendurance says: Jul 17, 2012 9:32 AM

    The most interesting thing about this story is that it shows a picture of Vick just barely nosing out a bunch of 11 year olds in the height department.

  12. godofwine330 says: Jul 17, 2012 9:33 AM

    I know saying that you are a good liar may come off as bad, but we all I have done it and the truth is we aren’t as good as we think we are at it and eventually they catch up with us. I did it for years and in March I had my entire life turned upside down and finally had to face the liar in the mirror – myself. I continued to lie at first, then blame others until I finally faced the person I really was and that brought on the change and the much better person that I am today.

    Michael Vick no doubt went through the same process. Beginning with the lying, then blaming the people who ratted on him and eventually facing the truth that it was his actions that got him into this and only accepting this would get him out of the situation, not more lies. I believe like me he is a better person for it. Unfortunately, unlike him I was not able to get back what I’d lost after the realization of who I really was.

  13. monkeyhateclean says: Jul 17, 2012 9:35 AM

    He admitted he was wrong after he got caught.

    He took great pains to conceal his dog fighting activities all those years because he knew it was illicit. That makes his contrition hard to swallow.

    Of course he should get to resume making a living after he did his time, and were he a baker, or a shoe salesman, he’d quietly slip back into society. But he’s an NFL football player. His salary depends on his marketability, and he’s not marketable unless he shows this contrition, genuine or not.

  14. tcmiller30 says: Jul 17, 2012 9:42 AM

    Nothing Vick does seems sincere to me with regards to the dog fighting incident. It all just seems that he’s using his celebrity status to make a public reclamation of his image. Do I think he’ll host dog fights anymore? No. Do I think he feels genuinely sorry for commiting such a heinous act against animals? No.

    He’s more concerned with improving how the public feels about him than he does about the prevalence of dog fighting, and better yet, he’s gonna be getting paid to do it with book royalties. He should donate 100% of the proceeds of that book to anti dog fighting organizations or animal shelters. He does not need to make any more money from his dig fighting experience.

  15. raiderluv says: Jul 17, 2012 9:49 AM

    He belongs in prison. I couldn’t care less how much he apologizes. He is a terrible human being and does not belong in the NFL. How this guy gets a 2nd shot in the nfl after that and a huge contract is beyond my comprehension. The only redeeming thing about this story for me is knowing that once his nfl career is over he will be broke and wanting pity from everyone.

  16. touchdownroddywhite says: Jul 17, 2012 9:53 AM

    Vick was saying how good of a liar he WAS, not IS. Lying, like everything else, is something that needs to be constantly practiced to maintain.

    As a a guy who got into a lot of trouble as a minor and has made an effort to do right as a grown man, I can tell you I’m not even half the liar I was 15 years ago, and can’t even convince my fiance that I didn’t drink out of the milk carton these days.

  17. OchentaYcinco says: Jul 17, 2012 9:56 AM

    latchbeam says:
    Jul 17, 2012 9:30 AM
    If he wasn’t an NFL star, he would still be in prison…

    Thing is, though, that the opposite is the truth. It was pretty clear at the time that Vick was made an example of, and I believe he actually received one of, if not the harshest, penalties anyone had for the crimes he committed.

    This isn’t to say he didn’t deserve it. He deserved everything he got. Obviously it’ll never be enough for some people, and that’s understandable. I’m an Eagles fan and I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about the guy. But he’s continuing to do charity work, and he’s owning up to all the awful things he did before without downplaying any of it. There’s something respectable about that, at least.

  18. bowmanj35 says: Jul 17, 2012 10:00 AM

    I can’t wait until this guy retires. please let him fade away so I don’t have to keep reading redemption stories. I believe he’s changed about as much as I believe I can fly. if he really wanted to get past all his garbage he’d probably stop talking and writing books about it, but see thru the glass here and realize its just another payday from a publisher. with the financial penalties he paid any chance he gets to make cash he will take, hopefully he sticks to the legal methods this time.

  19. psousa1 says: Jul 17, 2012 11:04 AM

    I thought the Son of Sam Law prohibits you from profiting from your crimes – (book deals, etc.) unless any profits are going toward something: civil suits or in his case maybe the IRS. Wonder if anyone knows if this might be the case. Just wondering about the sincerity.

  20. CKL says: Jul 17, 2012 12:06 PM

    Whether one believes MV has redeemed himself or not, he never spent a single minute in jail for what he did to those animals. His jail time was due to interstate gambling. The state prosecutor declined to prosecute him for the torture he perpetrated on helpless animals. So NO, he has NOT “paid his debt” on that score….at all. And RG’s allowing an interstate gambler back into football is probably the most hypocritical thing he’s done to date vis a vis the NFL’s supposed abhorrence of gambling.

  21. saintsfan83 says: Jul 17, 2012 12:31 PM

    realiypolice: You are right Vick can advocate all he want i don’t think dogfighting is wrong but killin them the way he did is. Killing for sport of animals and not food or clothing is to i think. Also takin a animal from its original habitat and locking him up and feeding him when his instinct is to hunt and kill or whatever is kind of cruel to but i don’t see zoo’s geting crucified for it, Ijs.

  22. hatrhurter says: Jul 17, 2012 12:32 PM

    bigjdve- admitting wrong and taking responsibility for it IS a great first step. that’s not what he did first though, he plead not guilty and tried to lie his way through and said so himself. he only admitted what he did once it was obvious he was not going to get away with it. it’s not an admirable thing if you’re forced into it.

  23. badintent says: Jul 17, 2012 1:23 PM

    Goodell and the NFL did not go after Vick for the Dog killing issue ! They went after him for the Gambling issue. However , PETA went after Vick because he was black. PETA is a racist organization. I lived in Washington State for years and every month some puppy mill or horse ranch would be raided and dozens of staving horses or dead puppies would be shown on the TV news. But you Never saw PETA spokespeople or any demonstrations against the white owners. How come ? PETA never had a problem with hundreds of dead dogs starved by white folks but one black man kills 10 dogs and he’s the new Lord of Evil. I give the Humane Society credit for working with Vick. PETA is the new KKK Sucker MC

  24. mitchbergersayskissthering says: Jul 17, 2012 1:48 PM

    Sainsfan83: The fact that you see nothing wrong with deriving pleasure and money from another living creature’s pain and suffering is pretty disgusting. You can rationalize it all you want but forcing an animal to fight is a form of abuse and is undeniably wrong, no matter how you want to spin it. Next time you hear about a little kid getting torn up by a pitbull, think about the way that animal was raised. More often than not, when this happens, they are fighting dogs.

    And are you seriously comparing zoos to dogfighting? Zoos serve a purpose. They preserve endangered species and serve as a learning tool for the public. Not to mentioned they take care of the animals and don’t abuse the them like the dbags who think it’s cool to fight dogs.

    Anyone who fights dogs is a selfish lowlife who’s more concerned with looking hard than actually being a good, compassionate human being. But I guess the latter doesn’t earn you any street cred these days.

  25. dzor22 says: Jul 17, 2012 2:30 PM

    “Back when I was involved in those activities, I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons playbook”. Ya think!? Reason #3 to not like this SOB. That being said…I hope he is true to his word on his “new” life. GO FALCONS!

  26. mannyicey says: Jul 17, 2012 3:48 PM

    Nope. If he wasn’t a celebrity, he would have been in jail (not prison) for a maximum of 3 years (since it was a first-time offense, he may not have served that actual time; or maximum of 3 months)- no federal involvement at all.

  27. icdogg says: Jul 17, 2012 3:49 PM

    Dogs are the most forgiving, understanding animals in the world.

    They don’t hold forever-grudges against people for what they have done in the past.

    People do that.

    Maybe we ought to learn something from dogs.

  28. icdogg says: Jul 17, 2012 4:08 PM

    The ‘Son of Sam law’ was an interesting question.

    The wording of the federal statute would probably not apply to Vick, unless the phrase “resulting in physical harm to an individual” would be read to apply to a dog.

    I don’t think the state statues would apply because it was a federal felony.

    (There are other problems, too, with applying a ‘Son of Sam’ law, since Vick has already made court-ordered restitution regarding his offenses against dogs, and that might already be fully paid off).

  29. laserw says: Jul 18, 2012 7:49 PM

    The best thing that could happen with Mike Vick, the dog killer, is for him to completely disappear from public view and to be consumed by his hometown neighborhood. You can take the punk out of the hood, but you can’t make him into Mr. Rogers. I live in his hometown and this jerk is what he was and hasn’t changed a bit. It’s a nice “dog and pony show” contrived and made up to make him look rehabilitated. But, alas, it is a complete snow job.

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