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Vick’s Mistake: Having the Party

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Jordan Raanan, Comcast.net
Sun Jun 27, 3:44 PM UTC

Michael Vick was doing so well. Or so it seemed from the obstructed view inside the NovaCare Complex and on BET.

The embattled quarterback/convicted dog fighter was saying all the right things, doing everything that was asked, fighting the good fight, being a productive member of society, abetting the anti-dogfighting crusade and even starting to resemble the football player that used to do the impossible with unassuming ease.

And then he had to do this. He needed to have a promoted birthday party that was open to the public in Virginia Beach, just 40 miles and 50 minutes from Newport News, the old stomping grounds that to this day he apparently can’t extricate himself from completely.

The details are still muddy from what transpired Thursday night/Friday morning at Vick’s All White 30th Birthday Bash. The bottom line is that someone was shot. And that someone happened to be one of Vick’s co-defendants in his well-documented dogfighting case.

Terms of Vick’s probation dictate he’s not allowed in the same room as that someone who happens to be a fellow Newport News native and former high school football teammate. The two weren’t even supposed to be in the same building. Yet, they were, whether Vick wanted it that way or not.

Given the cloudy details, it’s premature to implicate Vick on any actual crime – except for his inexcusable ignorance. His fatal mistake wasn’t what he did at the party. It was being there in the first place.

Those are exactly the type of scenes a high-profile ex-convict is supposed to avoid. Especially someone who was given a second chance at a lucrative career – Vick is expected to make $5.2 million this year – as long as he steers clear of trouble.

But Vick (maybe to help his troubled brother Marcus, who promoted the party on Twitter and Facebook) was at the birthday party close to his former home where anyone with $30 in their pocket and some white clothes could cause trouble. Predictably, that’s what happened.

The shooting took place in the early morning. And let’s be honest, nothing good happens when you’re out at 2 a.m. – unless you’re young and single.

Vick is neither. He turns 30 today and at last check was engaged to the mother of his children. Let’s hope for Vick’s sake that his lawyer and friends were telling the truth when they said he was long gone by the time the shooting took place.

Still, in regards to football, it might not matter. Even the slightest of missteps might be reason enough for the Eagles and NFL to sever their relationships with the troubled quarterback. If he compounded a minor mistake with more egregious ones, football is not going to be the only privilege confiscated.

It’s disappointing to see it all come full circle. These were the kind of slip-ups Vick needed to avoid. These are the situations he wasn’t supposed to put himself in ever again after what seemed like a life lesson he would never forget. He was supposed to live happily ever after in relative obscurity. That doesn’t happen when you’re throwing yourself an open-invite birthday party with 300-plus attendees.

Vick apparently didn’t listen to one of his most recent mentors, Donovan McNabb. Even the electro-charged quarterback, who can never avoid sticking his foot in his mouth when it comes to football-related matters, does a magical job of disappearing from the public’s eye away from the field.

For me to be this harsh on Vick is saying something too. I’ve been one of the biggest Vick supporters since he came to town. He’s been a model citizen, and much more forthcoming and open that could have been expected from an individual who spent so much time in Leavenworth.

But this is indefensible. This is reason for the Eagles to say goodbye.

Vick put himself in a completely unnecessary dangerous situation. He’s not me or you. He’s not able to walk the streets with complete anonymity.

Vick has a cadre of detractors constantly looking over his shoulders. He has the whole world staring at his every move, waiting for that slightest of slip to send him back to the slammer.

Who knows, this could be that costly mistake – even if Vick wasn’t involved in the shooting, didn’t know his co-defendant was coming or even tried to slip out of there as if he were escaping a collapsing pocket. Just being in the same room as Quanis Phillips could cost Vick his freedom and career.

All this for a birthday party.

Jordan Raanan has covered the Eagles for Metro Newspapers and then CSNPhilly.com since 2005. You can follow him on Twitter @jraanan or email him at jraanan@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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