Did I believe disgraced football player Michael Vick‘s pre-scripted apology on 60 Minutes last night for running a sadistic dog-fight operation that landed him in jail and all but destroyed his career? Nobody did. The guy can’t act. Plus he never talked about his deep-down attitudes and feelings about dogs and how he could see them not as super-loyal friends to love and care for but as snarling gladiators good at killing and being killed. On top of which 60 Minutes interviewer James Brown was too scared to touch on the real cultural “why.”
Dog-fight culture is an ugly thing that stems, I believe, from a predatory, inner-city, watch-your-back vibe that its fans initially encountered in their growing-up neighborhoods. But Vick and Brown never even glanced at, much less alluded to, this. Because that would take them into the machismo thing that has obviously influenced African-American and Hispanic guys of a certain economic strata and their seeming preference (based on years of my own first-hand observation) for fearsome attack dogs. Too close to the bone so they dodged it entirely.
Vick revealed his true self with three lines. The first came when he began one his unconvincing run-on apologies with “whatever the reasons I did this.” (translation: “I probably know why but I sure as shit ain’t gettin’ into it on nationwide TV”). The second came when he said “I don’t know how many times I gotta say [I’m sorry].” (translation: “I’m gettin’ a little sick of apologizin’ over and over for this shit”). The third was his admission that “the first day I walked into that prison and he slammed that door…I knew the magnitude [and] the poor judgment that I allowed to happen to those animals” (translation: “Damn…gettin’ caught and being punished sucks!”)
“It’s wrong, man, ” Vick said. “I don’t know how many times I gotta say it. I feel tremendous hurt about what happened. I deserve to lose the $135 million [contract]. I feel disgusted because of what I allowed to happen to those animals. The first day I walked into that prison and he slammed that door…I knew the magnitude and the poor judgment that I allowed to happen to those animals…I cried over what I did, being away from my family, letting so many people down, letting myself down….being in a prison bed, in a prison bunk…that wasn’t my life, that wasn’t the way things were supposed to be…[and all] because of the so-called culture I thought was right and cool…I thought it was fun and exciting at the time.”