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The Odd, Symbiotic Relationship of Mike Vick and Tony Dungy

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The Odd, Symbiotic Relationship of Mike Vick and Tony Dungy

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Tony Dungy with Michael Vick at the 2009 press conference where the Eagles announced why they were signing second-chance Vick.

Tony Dungy has sold himself plenty of books in his time, and he’s just released a brand new book on mentoring called “The Mentor Leader” which is all but certain to show up on bestseller lists. And who would happen to show up in Dungy’s new book but the Eagles backup QB himself, Mr, Michael Vick. Dungy talked to the AP about Vick’s appearance in the book and the shooting incident Vick deftly avoided earlier this year.

Dungy says even if Vick isn't doing something illegal, he still can make better decisions to stay out of harm's way…

"The first thing people have to realize is that probation officers detail everything, and if he is off track even a little, they're going to come down," Dungy said…

"Tony Dungy can go somewhere and if something happens, I'm not going to get singled out," Dungy said. "Michael Vick goes some place and the same thing happens, and you're the center of attention. You're the focus. Now is it fair? Who knows?…

"He didn't do anything other than maybe put himself in a place where he shouldn't have been," Dungy said. "But people will look at that one incident and forget about the other 364 days and a lot of the good things that have gone on."

I think Dungy’s comments on Vick reiterate why so many people were annoyed with him for that shooting incident. He shouldn’t need to be told this anymore. This is something he should have learned ages ago. When you go to jail for dogfighting, you then forfeit your right to hold parties at shady nightclubs. It’s just common sense, even though Vick did nothing wrong.

Dungy is an admirable fellow, but there’s a feeling here that the former coach is leveraging Vick’s notoriety to help draw attention to his book and his mentoring abilities. It’s symbiosis. With Dungy’s support, Vick has more credibility as a player. With Vick as his attention-grabbing pupil, Dungy has more credibility as a leader of men. It’s easy to show up when Vick gets out of prison and help him sign with a club. It’s easy to write about “helping” Vick and then doling out advice to the lightning rod while out on a book tour. But at the end of it all, Vick is still a thickheaded guy who takes ages to learn what he ought to be able to figure out within seven seconds. Knowing that, is Tony Dungy as good of a mentor as he makes himself out to be?

Related Topics michael vick, tony dungy
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