Michael Vick made an appearance at a Humane Society event yesterday, but don't expect to hear an inspiring message of redemption. Don't expect to hear it at all. Vick's talk wasn't for the community: it was for his own gain.
The future UFL star popped in to a community center in suburban Atlanta as part of his image rehabilitation tour. But it's tough to convince people you're a changed man when no one gets to hear what you have to say. Only 55 people and zero media members were allowed in to hear his 12-minute speech.
Well some media. A "60 Minutes" crew accompanied Vick, as they will for future appearances. They've got the exclusive rights to an upcoming interview, and are making sure no one else gets Vick until they air their piece. That includes most of the public.
Though this visit wasn't announced in advance, police still had to turn away hundreds of people. Media was kicked off the propery, and the windows were barred to prevent anyone from even catching a glimpse. This was part of his agreement, a non-negotiable condition for his presence. The president of the Humane Society sounded none too pleased at the restrictions.
We're giving him an opportunity to plug into our community-based forums," [Wayne] Pacelle said. "But he obviously has his own set of individuals who are working with him and want to present things in the way they want."
You can't fault Vick for wanting to present his own message. And you can't fault "60 Minutes" for protecting their exclusive; this is quite the get for them, and more power to them since they don't pay for interviews like many other outlets. But it sucks for those who came hoping to hear him speak, for whom his story might make a difference. Like one man who brought his own pit bull, only to be barred because Vick's probation prevents him from being in the same room as dogs.
In the end, there's no one to blame because this is the nature of the media beast. For all the access we get from Twitter, everything's still in the hands of the athlete. If Michael Vick doesn't want you to hear him say he's sorry, you're not going to hear it.