Quarterback Marcus Vick Cut by Virginia Tech Hokies
The Virginia Tech Hokies have dismissed criminal quarterback Marcus Vick after yet another incident.
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick was dismissed from the team Friday, the result of numerous legal transgressions and his unsportsmanlike conduct in the Toyota Gator Bowl. University president Charles Steger announced the dismissal on the same day that coach Frank Beamer met with Vick and his mother in their Hampton Roads home, the school said. Beamer informed them of the decision during the meeting.
Vick, the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, was suspended from school last year for several legal problems. The junior came under new and intense scrutiny this week after replays showed he stomped on the left calf of Louisville All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the Jan. 2 bowl. No penalty was called on the play and Vick claimed its was accidental. He further hurt his cause by claiming to have apologized to Dumervil, but the Louisville player said no such apology was ever offered.
On Friday, it was revealed that Vick had been stopped for speeding and driving with a revoked or suspended license in Hampton on Dec. 17. Vick’s license had been taken away last year when he was cited for reckless driving and marijuana possession in New Kent County.
Steger suspended Vick from school at that time, and warned that any additional problems would effectively end his time as a member of the Hokies’ football team.
One hopes the last two paragraphs are poor writing resultant from the inverse pyramid writing style taught in J-school. Otherwise, the school’s rationale for the move–Vick is an embarassment to a fine institution of higher learning–is rather obviated by allowing him to represent the school in a bowl game before cutting ties with him.
Correction: The headline and first sentence originally referred to the criminal quarterback as “Michael Vick” who is, of course, Marcus Vick’s much better adjusted older brother.
Update: AP offers an instructive Marcus Vick Timeline:
- Sept. 2, 2003: Suspended for one game by coach Frank Beamer for undisclosed reason.
- Feb. 17, 2004: Arrested without incident and charged with four misdemeanors — three for allegedly allowing underage girls to have alcohol and one for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old at a January party. Released on $2,500 bond.
- May 14, 2004: Convicted of three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $2,250. Found not guilty of having sex with the 15-year-old.
- July 3, 2004: Charged with reckless driving and possession of marijuana after a traffic stop about 25 miles east of Richmond, Va. at 2:30 a.m. Police said he was clocked at 86 mph, 21 mph above the speed limit, and that the vehicle smelled of marijuana.
- July 6, 2004: Indefinitely suspended from football team for off-field problems.
- Aug. 3, 2004: Suspended from the university for the 2004 season on same day he pleads guilty to reckless driving and no contest to marijuana possession in New Kent, Va. Is fined $300, has driver’s license suspended for 60 days and is placed in a first offender program on the marijuana charge, requiring that he perform 24 hours of community service, undergo drug counseling and random drug tests, and give up his driver’s license for six months.
- Sept. 13, 2004: In plea deal, pleads no contest to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Receives 30-day suspended jail sentence, is fined $100, ordered to perform 24 hours of community service and stay away from the teenage girls.
- Jan. 17, 2005: Cleared to rejoin football team and re-enroll at Virginia Tech.
- Oct. 1, 2005: Leads No. 3 Hokies to 34-20 victory at West Virginia, and makes obscene gesture to fans who have been calling him names related to past problems throughout the game. He apologized a day later.
- Dec. 17, 2005: Pulled over by police in Hampton, Va. for driving 38 mph in a 25 mph zone and driving with a suspended license.
- Jan. 2, 2006: Leads Virginia Tech to a 35-24 win over Louisville in Gator Bowl. In the game, he stomped on the left calf of Cardinals All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil, the NCAA sacks leader. Claims the incident was accidental and that he apologized to Dumervil, who denies ever receiving apology.
- Jan 6, 2006: Is kicked off team at Virginia Tech for legal trouble and unsportsmanlike conduct in Gator Bowl.
It was high time they cut ties. Of course, “Vick told The Virginian-Pilot that he would enter the NFL draft on Friday, hours after he was dismissed from the team as a result of numerous legal transgressions and his unsportsmanlike conduct in the Toyota Gator Bowl.” While his draft status has been hurt by his behavior, he’ll certainly be a millionaire come April. If you’re going to be an undisciplined thug, there’s no better thing to be than a great athlete.
Update (1/11): John Feinstein has a similar take on this one.
His story reflects a much larger problem at all levels of sports: the existence of a place that we might call, for want of a better term, “The Land of Never Wrong.”
This is where truly gifted athletes live. They are given second, third, fourth and 15th chances solely because of their talent. That’s why so many of them come to believe that rules and laws, even rules of decent behavior, don’t apply to them.
Throughout Vick’s time at Virginia Tech, football coach Frank Beamer has maintained that he is “a good kid.” They’re always good kids when they can play. What Beamer should have done — long ago — and what other coaches with talented but troublesome players should do is stop making excuses for such “good kids.” If Beamer had suspended Vick when he first began to get in trouble, and told him that next time he’d be gone, Vick might have gotten a different message.
But it’s not fair to single out Virginia Tech — what goes on there isn’t unusual. Look at the University of Colorado, where Gary Barnett was kept on as head football coach even after his players were accused of sexually harassing women and hiring prostitutes during recruiting parties. It was only after his team lost its final three games this season, badly, that Barnett was fired. When a University of Virginia player was involved in an incident at Boston College this season that was just as ugly as Vick-Dumervil, it wasn’t the school that suspended him for one game but the Atlantic Coast Conference. When Virginia coach Al Groh was asked if he felt badly that his player hadn’t called the player he had injured (after the whistle), he was baffled the question was even asked.
The list goes on. And not just in football. Sixteen years ago, John McEnroe, the brilliant but hot-tempered tennis superstar, was thrown out of a match during the Australian Open after he directed a series of profanities at a chair umpire and his supervisor. McEnroe was 30 at the time. A couple of months later, reflecting on his punishment, he said: “If someone had done that to me when I was 18, I honestly think a lot of things would have been different. The message I got early on was that I could get away with just about anything on the court. No one wanted me defaulted. The tournament director didn’t want me defaulted; neither did the TV people. But if someone had nailed me, cost me a big tournament, the chances are I would have learned my lesson and not done it again. I mean, I’m not stupid. Tell me where the line is and I won’t cross it. The message I got until Australia was that there was no line.”
That’s the message most star athletes get. If Marcus Vick wished to remain in college, you can bet that even now there would be schools that would take him in a second. Until the people around star athletes stop telling them — and us — that they’re “good kids,” when they’re actually behaving very badly, nothing is going to change in The Land of Never Wrong.