Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mike Vick & Co-Defendant Friends Come Full Circle

The International Herald Tribune published an article a couple of days ago titled Vantage Point: Vick and the vicious circle, a tale of survival and betrayal. To read the story, click on this link. (Article also available in NY Times to Times Select subscribers, under the title Vick is trapped in His Circle of Friends.) The Washington Post today published an article titled Playing to Wrong Crowd: Longtime Loyalties Are Seen as Culprits in Vick's Undoing. To read the Post story, click on this link.

What's interesting about the articles, besides cursory looks at Vick's co-defendant friends, is that it gives pause to examine the relationship of pro athletes and their pre-celeb friends from childhood. (And, to a lesser degree, the friendships that all of us, as adults, maintain from childhood.)

By Vick and his pals ignoring the accountability, trustworthiness, and legal liability that comes with adulthood, they set themselves up for the big fall.

A good number of people have very close friends from childhood. To "watch each other's back" decades into adulthood is a great security and a comfort, and certainly not a fault. What is a fault is to not recognize your coming of age or, perhaps worse, to think that you can cheat it. To say Mr. Vick's legal problems arose because he was hanging out with the 'wrong' crowd is to diminish his responsibility for his adult life, and denigrates his friends while making him look less culpable. Indeed, by funding Bad Newz Kennels, Vick enabled his friends to pursue both violent and illegal behavior; perhaps Vick's co-defendants were hanging out with the wrong guy. They were each so busy watching each other's backs that they didn't pay attention to what was going on in front of them.

Whatever the case, it was indeed a dangerous intertwined dependence for each of the defendants, a "circle of friends."

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