The Fillies In Philly Are Not Happy About The Eagles Signing
by Jimmy Shapiro
I had my dad from Philadelphia in town with me last night (I now live in Seattle). We were barbecuing when a text came across my blackberry saying “Do you hate it?” I had no idea what Lance (who writes for this site) was talking about it. It was my daughter’s third birthday and I was taking a rare break from the world of sports. He said the Eagles just signed Michael Vick. Like every other Eagles fan, my jaw dropped. No one saw this coming. I told my dad about it and he was even more shocked than I was. I always try to refrain from immediately passing judgment on a breaking development. I instead prefer allowing stories to sink in a bit before formulating an opinion. Unfortunately, such measured reflection wasn’t possible last night. My mother in-law and my wife both thought Vick should never be able to play in the NFL again. I disagreed, feeling that everyone deserves a second chance. Vick paid his debt to society and deserves a chance to earn a living. Not only did he serve jail time, but for the rest of his life he will be picketed and looked upon viciously, no matter what city he travels to.
From a purely football respective – and mind you, one of a lifelong Eagle’s fan’s – the move makes very little sense to me. Like many analysts, I do believe the Eagles are a stable environment for Vick. That’s not enough of a reason to sign a player. You sign a player because he will help you win football games. I’m just not sure the ends will justify the means here. Yes, Vick has a plethora of skills for Andy Reid to utilize while drawing up 3-5 daring plays a game. Yes, he may be able to be the difference in one or two games this year. Ultimately though, the traveling circus of media, paparazzi, and protesters will make the whole T.O. second year soap opera seem like a romantic comedy compared to the horror show the Eagles players are about to witness. 70% of the questions asked to the players over at least the next 6-8 weeks will be about Michael Vick. And this is a guy who may play in less than fifty plays for the entire season. This signing just reeks of desperation to me. Desperation to finally win that elusive Super Bowl. As a long suffering Eagles fan, if they win the Super Bowl, it will be worth it. I just think it will have an adverse effect on the team.
This Michael Vick story is in my mind without a doubt the most far reaching story in sports in my 39 years of life. There have been much bigger sports stories that just catch the eye of sports fans, but never has there been a story that is covered like this by every facet of the media. Sports, news, entertainment, business, etc have all been captivated by and weighed in on Vick’s situation when it came to light in 2006. The only other comparable event that to comes to mind is when Magic Johnson announced he had been diagnosed with HIV. In talking to family, friends, and many of the radio hosts I’ve know for years in Philadelphia, the consensus seems to be that the Vick signing is unpopular in Philadelphia. To play devil’s advocate for a brief moment, the people that write comments online and the people that call radio stations generally are writing or calling from a negative perspective. Getting back to the title of this post, by far the most vitriolic responses are coming from women.
I awoke with this email from my cousin Ali:
How do I get in touch with Jeff Lurie or the Eagles? I am writing a letter and maybe, if nothing else, I can get Michael Vick (that asshole) to get people to donate towels and blankets to the shelters. We can set up collections at the stadiums (all stadiums they play) for all local shelters to benefit from PEACE for PUPPIES in honor of Lizzie’s (her 9 yr old daughter) cause. My cousin Ali is tame compared to some of the women in Philadelphia. Check out these three female callers from Howard Eskin’s show on WIP in Philadelphia. The venom from these women’s voices is scary. One women wishes Vick dead, another calls Andy Reid’s sons two losers, and a third used SAT words in a very eloquent soliloquy on Michael Vick.
Female caller Andrea:
“I want him hanged, I want him electrocuted, I want him drowned, I want him out of town. This guy does not deserve to play in the NFL. People who bounce checks have a hard time getting a job, but this guy who did this deplorable act to helpless, defenseless animals gets 1.6 million. Come on now, what is wrong with this society that allows this. I’m really struggling with this.” “I can’t not watch this team. They’re too much a part of my life for me to turn them off, but at the same time how do I root for a team that signed this piece of crap!”
Female caller Donna:
“Michael Vick is fundamentally an evil monster. He had absolutely no choice but to go to jail. People are saying “oh, he paid his dues”, but guess what, had he not been caught he’d still be perpetrating evil, barbaric, inhumane, unspeakable cruelty to those dogs.” “He’s right up there with a pedophile and some things are unforgivable. I am in no way convinced that Michael Vick is a quote ‘changed human being’. He’s up there saying all the things he needs to say…saying probably what he’s been told to say to justify the fact that’s he’s been picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles. I am outraged! I am outraged!” “They (the players) should all have been made to sit down and look at the photographs of the helpless dogs who had no voice in this, look at the footage at what he did and then look up at him and look that monster in the face and say “do I want him to put the same uniform on as me.” “This second chance nonsense…I’ve heard one commentator say”oh Andy Reid, you know second chances”, well his kids are two losers! Carrying weapons, smoking dope, but they didn’t hurt animals.”
Female caller Sarah:
“All morning I’ve been listening to Lurie and Goodell and Reid talk about “well, you know he deserves a second chance”. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a second chance, but he should have a second chance to work at McDonald’s or be a paper pusher somewhere, but why does he deserve a second chance to play in the NFL.”
“All he could offer was that perfunctory spoon-fed apology to dog owners, to sport fans, and to the NFL. I can’t believe that people are buying into the transparency of this insipid gesture.”