Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has had a rough couple of weeks. First, he sustained a concussion in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and then he nearly broke his hand in another loss to the New York Giants.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he made extra headlines by calling out the referees, claiming that they don’t call late hits on him as often as they do for other quarterbacks.
Perhaps he was just frustrated after another loss that put the Eagles at 1-2 to start the season. Perhaps the “Dream Team” hype and his new contract have him feeling added pressure.
Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: Michael Vick’s honeymoon with the NFL and its fans is over. He is the last man on this planet who should be complaining about anything, having been given the most amazing of second chances but, after only three games into the season, has opened up against the referees for giving other quarterbacks supposed preferential treatment.
Whether or not he has a point isn’t important here – what’s important is that a little adversity has caused Vick to lapse, to forget how much the public has been willing to forgive and look past in his case. Fans are generally welcoming of a player who speaks his mind, but Vick is walking on thin ice with fans and the rest of the league more so than others. Sooner or later, he might realize that people can turn on him just as fast as they accepted him back into the league.
Naturally, he backtracked on his comments on Monday, having this to say:
“Maybe I shouldn’t have approached it in that fashion because the truth of the matter is, we can’t control the situation,” he said. “The refs have to do their job, and they have tons of things to look over, so I think I was kind of out of character and being too candid in that aspect. But, ultimately, I respect the referees and their decision to make calls and that’s the way to be and you won’t hear me complaining about it any more.”
Vick might have realized what he said after the fact, taken a step back and thought about how far he’s come from only a few years ago. Hopefully that’s the case, because Vick is a talented quarterback on a talented team. He’s taking a lot of hits, but that frustration might be better focused on his offensive line rather than on the officials.
There certainly is a lot of pressure on Vick, and there’s no telling what kind of added pressures he has to put up with on a weekly basis simply for being him. While he brought it on himself, we’ve allowed ourselves to look past it for the good of the game, because we know how special he is on the field. While no one (well, most people) wishes him physical harm, general patience for Vick’s frustrations and subsequent lashing-out episodes at press conferences won’t last long.