I have scientific news today that will SHOCK and AWE you. It seems that a professional athlete can commit horrible crimes and still manage to get back into the public’s good graces simply by performing well on the field.
I know! I can’t believe it either!
The Daily News has released a new study of fans and how they feel about Eagles QB Michael Vick. The study has pie charts and everything. Anyway, the main takeaway is that 60 percent of respondents say they have a more favorable opinion of Vick due to his “performance on and off the field” since his incarceration. In addition, 85 percent of Eagles fans said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with Vick’s play on the field.
Thirteen percent said they were “neutral” about it. And I have to say to those 13 percent: Man, are you hard to please. What else does the guy have to do on the field to make you happy? Fire sweatshirts into the crowd? These are the kind of people who say “meh” after walking out of a Radiohead concert. Why can’t you people FEEL?!
The linked article from the Inquirer also includes individual testimonials from Eagles fans across the area, and most of them share the same sentiment: skeptical of Vick at first, then gradually won over by both his sincerity and his dazzling play.
Vick isn’t the first athlete to repair his image with his play. Kobe Bryant did it. Latrell Sprewell did it in 1999 when he took the Knicks to the Finals. The difference is that perhaps no athlete has fallen farther than Vick only to turn around and climb back up so high. It’s the extremes of his story that make it so compelling, and more and more people around town are getting drawn in every day. Whether or not Vick keeps their good will is up to him.