To cover all her grounds (and avoid being called out on the article’s racially charged undertones), Macur made sure to mention Vick’s teammate Riley Cooper, who was in deep shit after making some serious racial remarks about his teammates, as another example of an NFL bad boy who organizations should overlook if they publicly mess up. What she failed to mention, was that Vick was the first one to openly forgive Cooper and even broke up in-house fights between the wide receiver and other teammates when things got heated in practice. Had it not been for Vick’s leadership, the Eagles easily could have been a team that watched the Wild Card game from home, much like the controversy plagued Miami Dolphins.
Macur also made it a point to detail Vick’s financial earnings after his return to the NFL, highlighting his $100 million contract he earned by 2011. However, she left out the fact that despite incarceration, Vick came back as a better player who helped revitalize the Eagles franchise. She also neglected to mention that not only did Vick have to file for bankruptcy in 2008, but he lost most of his endorsement deals (Nike would eventually re-sign him as an athlete). So much of that money he earned, was used to restart his career earnings.
Vick has been as much of a model citizen as he can be. He’s donated money to the local Boys & Girls club of Philadelphia, $200,000 to renovate a football field for a local youth football team and even works with the Humane Society of the United States as an activist against animal cruelty, primarily dog fighting but that’s not enough for Ms. Macur. We have to ask ourselves why would the very people who should still use Vick as an example of evil forgive him, but not her?
Perhaps this was all a ploy. Macur has a book coming out in 2014 about Lance Armstrong, which she claims definitively profiles Armstrong’s rise and fall. Cycling enthusiasts know that, but others in the sport community might not. What’s the easiest way to create a buzz for yourself? Latch on to the hottest sport of the moment: football. The BCS Championship was last night and the NFL playoffs will be the most talked about thing for the next month until the Super Bowl.
Macur’s story was the second most emailed story in the NYT’s sports section today (it was posted yesterday), has 310 comments and, most importantly for her, has introduced her to a broader audience. Whether the public agrees or disagrees with her take on Vick is of no importance, it’s simply that they now know who she is. To close out her piece, after forcibly rushing in little points about Vick’s charitable works, she says that the Eagles should make it easy for their fans by replacing Vick “with someone devoid of a dark past.” Well, I think the Times owes its audience a similar standard: offering unbiased sports coverage from a journalist with integrity, instead of one with a personal financial agenda.