I was encouraged to hear that Michael Vick, in advance of his reality show that debuts Tuesday on BET , is saying he led “a double life,” and I use the word “encouraged” advisedly. Because you don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself and asked people who worked inside the building at 4400 Falcon Parkway if I/they had any hint — any hint — of what was to come.
And I did not. Which might make me the world’s worst reporter, except that I’ve not yet found anyone within the compound who saw it coming, either.
I know, I know. People on the outside will harrumph and say they knew it all along because he wore his hair in corn rows and dressed in a manner different from, say, Peyton Manning. But I grew up in the ’60s and have had some fairly extravagant hairdos myself, and I attended my high school graduation wearing platform shoes with four-inch heels. Me, I stopped judging on appearances long ago.
And even if you believed Vick mightn’t have been a model citizen, you knew this … how? Before the Ron Mexico civil action was filed in 2005, there wasn’t a hint of misdoings, and he’d been a Falcon since April 2001. In hindsight, the weird part wasn’t that we “knew all about” the most famous person in Atlanta but that we knew, as in really knowing, hardly anything.
That’s why I’m intrigued by “The Michael Vick Project”, and what it might reveal. I thought I knew him. Turns out I only knew what I was allowed to see. I’m intrigued to see how he kept his lives compartmentalized. I’m intrigued, as the spies in John le Carre’s fictional Circus would say, by the tradecraft.
On whether or not people ever saw the best that he could’ve been:
“No. Not at all. I think if I woulda applied myself, there was a lot more I could have done off the field and also in the film room that could have elevated my game to a totally different level. I was complacent at the time, somewhat lazy, and I kinda settled for mediocrity. I thought what I was doing was enough. I thought that would suffice and I didn’t have to do anything else. I thought as my career went on I would continue to play at a high level. Everything that I was doing off the field, in regards to the marijuana and everything else, it didn’t slow me down, but it definitely slowed my developmental process because it made me lazy in a sense and I wasn’t really focused and didn’t take things seriously. Now, I want to make the most out of the next couple of years out of my career. I want to play my best football up until the age of 34 or 35, so that’s my plan. I’m gonna put everything into it. Put my all into it.”
On the fact that he still had success even when he didn’t dedicate himself completely:
“Just imagine what I could’ve been doing if I really would have been applying myself. That’s a regret that I have. I’m just glad that I have an opportunity to make amends for what I didn’t do and try to recap that. That’s what I wanted to show in my documentary because people didn’t know that. I wanted a clean slate, I wanted to put all of that out there so that once this documentary aired and the series is over, then I can move on with my life and I don’t have to answer a lot of questions. I can just answer them through my actions.”
Judging by the above paragraphs only, it sounds like he’s growing up.