I’m sure “60 Minutes” wasn’t thrilled with Michael Vick pre-empting himself and holding an introductory briefing two days before his taped interview with James Brown was scheduled to air. But the press conference in Philadelphia was a press conference, which serves a different purpose than the sitdown interview. And Vick was impressive in former, even more so in the latter.
I watched the interview in the press lounge at Turner Field, and there were the usual “Yeah, rights,” from a few of the skeptics behind me. But I felt no skepticism. I felt I was watching a humbled man admit to having been a fool and an ingrate and an all-around bad buy.
And let me ask this: When last did you own up to so many sins and failings? In the confessional box? Ever? And when last did you do it before an audience of millions?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: I’ve always liked the guy, and I felt almost personally disappointed when I read the indictment against him. I can only imagine how Arthur Blank felt, and that to me was the heart of Vick’s “60 Minutes” appearance — the self-disgust he felt at having let Blank down.
Vick: “I can’t, you know, describe the feeling. You know, the hurt deep inside, hurt that I never felt before, knowing that I disappointed him, knowing that he’d given me every opportunity to come to him and reach out whenever I needed him. And he cared about me and I took it all for granted.”
It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I let my fans down.” It’s altogether different to put a human face on that failure. That Vick seems to realize what he did to the man who trusted him most gives me hope, not for the first time, that Michael Vick is indeed a changed and wiser man.
I know, I know. There are those among who will take the “Yeah, right” route, who will believe Vick’s only remorse is over having been caught. I believe otherwise. I believe he means what he says, and on “60 Minutes” he said exactly what he needed to say. And he said it well.