On Monday afternoon, as part of his I Need to Stay in the NFL Because I Owe $20 Million Tour, quarterback/dogfighter Michael Vick showed up at the Overtown Youth Center to thoroughly confuse a gymnasium full of little kids. Who is this dead-eyed man, and are we supposed to emulate him, or run away?
Vick, in town for the Super Bowl festivities and accompanied by a Humane Society representative, didn't seem too sure himself. He began by relating to the Overtown kids that he had grown up in Newport News, Virginia, which is "pretty much a bad city", but "sacrificed a lot" to accomplish his dream of making it to the NFL. But (spoiler alert!) "I kept a dark secret. Everything I worked on in life I threw out the window... I had to go to prison because I was consumed and involved in dog-fighting. For the life of me, I don't know why. I don't know what happened, but what I can say is that it was because I grew up in an environment that was crime-infested."
Inspiring! Vick lacked the will to get into the ugly nitty-gritty component that's the most important part of every scared-straight speech, barely touching on what's wrong with dogfighting besides, you know, getting caught. "It's a form of violence I really didn't know was wrong at the time," he said. "I didn't know how many people I was affecting, and didn't realize I was hurting myself. Don't waste your life on things that don't make sense."
A few members of the audience shot up tiny hands when he was done with the twenty-minute speech, but Vick didn't do any question and answer with the kids. "That's it?" said one little girl seated behind Riptide.
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Vick muttered a couple of answers in front of news cameras -- no, this isn't just a task he feels he is obliged to do, and you can expect him to be making these painful appearance for ten years, apparently -- before joining his entourage in a Chevy SUV and Chrysler Sebring, both stuffed with baggage, and heading directly to the airport.