Michael Vick Pays The Price

16 Nov

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Here’s the latest on Michael Vick — what a waste of talent.

Hope he can straighten himself out and make something positive of his life.

Michael Vick lives in a prison in Kansas, making 12 cents an hour while plotting his return to the NFL. His houses and farms will soon be gone, the two yachts are history, and he’s down to his last couple of Range Rovers.

A race horse he bought for $60,000 died of colic, the Atlanta Falcons are still trying to hit him up for millions they paid him, and the IRS and the state of Georgia want nearly $1 million in back taxes.

In 2006 he made nearly $15 million. Recently he reported total income of $12.89 for an entire month.

That’s $12.89 as in 12 dollars and 89 cents. This from someone who, before things went terribly bad, categorized a $1,000 check to his mother as “chump change.”

The numbers are cold, but they have to warm the heart of any animal lover sickened by what once went on at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. To many, seeing Vick stripped of the material things he and his fellow millionaire athletes like to enjoy is almost as good as watching him go to prison in the first place. 

Best of all, the dogs who survived the terror of Vick’s dogfighting ring are having the last laugh.

They’re the stars of a recent National Geographic Channel television special. They live in comfort in a Utah ranch, thanks to $928,000 Vick agreed to contribute to finance their care.

And now they have their own wine.

Yes, there’s Meryl, looking anything but ferocious on a bottle of Syrah. And there’s Lewis, peeking out from the front of another Vicktory Dog bottle.

Maybe Vick can pick up a $40 bottle when he gets out of prison next July, assuming things go as planned. If he’s careful about not spending his prison earnings in the commissary, he could be paroled with enough to buy a couple of them.

He shouldn’t drink too much, though. Because he’s still got some football to play.

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This is the famous Vick chew toy

Buried in the hundreds of pages of paper detailing Vick’s financial woes the other day in federal bankruptcy court was the declaration that not only does Vick expect to be reinstated in the NFL upon his release but also believes he will “be able to earn a substantial living” playing quarterback once again.

Good luck with that.

Just what team he believes will employ him to do so wasn’t mentioned, but the Falcons are surely out. They severed their ties with the quarterback they once were sure would lead them to a Super Bowl and are now being led by a quarterback who has been so good in his rookie season that he just might.

Vick is supposed to be released July 20, so he could be out just in time for the opening of preseason camps. But how many teams are so desperate for a quarterback that they would risk the ire of PETA-types and other animal activists to sign an ex-con who admitted to doing some heinous things?

The other question is how much would they risk for a quarterback who has a career passing rating of 75.7, fumbles the ball once every 10 times he carries it, and hasn’t played a down in two years. Quarterbacks who could run were once the rage in the NFL, but most teams today look for the traditional pocket passer.

If a team did take a chance on Vick, it would likely be for little or no guaranteed money with incentives kicking in only if he produces—something that can never be certain in the NFL, where injuries and age can quickly take their toll. Even then, Vick won’t keep all his salary because under his bankruptcy plan he must pay part of any future earnings to creditors.

Indeed, Vick’s financial mess is as much a cautionary tale to his fellow athletes as his criminal woes are.

He has assets of $16 million but owes creditors $20.3 million. His attorneys had to hire forensic accountants to find out where the money went, $18 million of it over the last two years alone as Vick bounced from one business deal to another and seemed to hire financial advisers he met standing in line at the supermarket.

Flush with bonus money from the Falcons, Vick bought houses by the handful, invested in a rental car franchise in Atlanta and poured money into a liquor store and restaurant. He hired friends, gave away money and cars, and could never say no to his mother, who got $700 for an Easter Egg hunt one year and $317,000 for a new church building the next.

Now he sits in a prison in Kansas after a staggering and quick fall from the top. Once a favorite of fans who couldn’t buy enough of his No. 7 jerseys he’s now vilified and hated by millions who will never forgive the despicable things he and his buddies did to their dogs.

A comeback is still possible, but my guess is that this story will not end well. Upon his release from prison, the odds are Vick will spend more time dodging creditors than defensive linemen.

The dogs are a different story. Those that survived will live in comfort the rest of their lives.

And for that, we should all raise a glass of Lewis red in celebration.

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