Does Vick pass Ring of Honor test – whatever that is?

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank honors former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (right) and wide receiver Roddy White as they officially retire from the NFL on Monday. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Nine men strong, the Falcons Ring of Honor is not necessarily the repository of angels – although the majority of these all-timers are fine, productive citizens. A member of the inaugural class in 2004, running back William Andrews, had his legal issues, including a child support entanglement that caused him to miss his own induction ceremony.

Nor is the honor of being immortalized limited to those who, like linebacker Jessie Tuggle and offensive linemen Jeff Van Note and Mike Kenn endured long, often losing Falcons careers with great dignity. Deion Sanders is up there, and he spent nearly twice as many years in the company of other franchises as he did the Falcons (five seasons). And, his career sabotaged by a knee injury, Williams had but five productive years.

So, there are no hard and fast guidelines for when the team adds to its honor roll in the new stadium.

Which makes the whole is-Mike-Vick-Ring-of-Honor-worthy question more complicated – isn’t everything with him a barefoot walk through a briar patch?

The subject arose Monday. Mind you, there is no action on any of this yet, just talk.

Team owner Arthur Blank, who maintained a warm heart for Vick even as the quarterback’s 2007 dog-fighting conviction laid waste to his franchise, paid homage then to Vick and the team’s all-time leading receiver Roddy White. And when asked if these were Ring of Honor possibilities, he said, “both, given their records as Falcons players and their careers, they would certainly be considered for that.”

White undoubtedly belongs up there, even as Julio Jones continues the chore of whittling away at his records.

Vick’s legacy, though, is maddeningly two-sided. Heads it’s all the eye candy his six seasons here provided, along with a big playoff win at Lambeau and one NFC Championship game. Tails it’s squandered talent and dog fighting. This town has been flipping that coin for better than a decade.

I happened to be talking to one former Falcon, of 1970s vintage, Tuesday and, unprovoked, he made a passing/sneering reference to the thought of Vick being honored. That idea undoubtedly is going to sit uneasily in many bellies of a certain age.

A sportswriter with a similar born-on date will tell you now that, no, the sound of “Michael Vick/Ring of Honor”, isn’t accompanied by the kind of deafening peals of glory that such tributes usually inspire. His ledger of highlights and heartbreaks is just too complicated.

True, if not for Vick’s epic fall, the Falcons wouldn’t now have Matt Ryan, MVP. But that hardly seems like an endorsement for a permanent position overhead at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

I wouldn’t put the name of the Falcons third-best all-time quarterback up in the rafters. Of course, no one will consult me. And, as has been demonstrated, there are no hard and fast standards for this sort of thing – so, really, it’s a matter I’ll happily leave to better connected subjective opinion.

I’m sure there are plenty of dissenting views out there. As always with the most polarizing athlete this town will ever know.

 

 

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27 comments
BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

Michael Vick was a gifted athlete who was not a good QB, in spite of occasional flashes of brilliance. He left the pocket too soon, fumbled a lot, had a strong arm but no touch on the ball, got hurt a lot due to his propensity to start running, did not read defenses well, and on and on and on. He got by on God-given athletic ability alone. I rate the three best QBs in Falcon history as being, in this order, Matt Ryan, Steve Bartkowski, and Chris Chandler.

Given his dog-fighting and his desire to run with his childhood posse of thugs, Vick did not deserve any type of honor from the Falcons. His behavior left the Falcons high and dry, or could have. I am surprised that Arthur Blank gave in by honoring him in any capacity.

Not hatin', just sayin'.

gt51
gt51

"paid his debt to society"? everyone who has ever gone to prison, at some point has paid their debt. that doesn't mean they deserve forgiveness. its a meaningless phrase.  murderers have gone to jail for less than 5 years.  are the families victims obligated to forgive becuase that murder has gone to jail for his sentence. of course not.  I'm a fan of players who play hard, work hard, and leave it all on the field.  I'm not a fan of vick for those reasons. it has nothing to do with the dog fighting. vick had lost my support about a year or more before the dog fighting. it was obvious he didnt care and wasnt trying. he even admitted as such.

gt51
gt51

its called a ring of honor, not a ring of great athletes. hes a great athlete. he hasn't always been honorable. anyone that admits that he didn't try while he was on your team should not be considered for one moment for a ring of honor. pat him on the back and send him on his way

Tobias10
Tobias10

I'm glad he's in. I don't have to justify my opinion to any of you all.

ATL89
ATL89

Vick deserves to be in the ring of honor. He's paid his debt to society, more so than some people who actually killed people, not to minimize what he did, but he paid for it, and continues work with animal rights group til this day.....

The-Truth
The-Truth

"Team owner Arthur Blank, who maintained a warm heart for Vick even as the quarterback’s 2007 dog-fighting conviction laid waste to his franchise"

A waste to his franchise? Really? Seriously? Still casting stones with overly negative exaggerated claims? Why? Remember this: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone" "The people crowded around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed" [John 8:7]. You self-righteous sports writers "real" issue with Vick had nothing to do with dog fighting if "The Truth" was told. The contempt for him [by many] started when he was drafted as the franchise quarter back in the ATL.From that point, Vick was "dogged out" by the local media years before he started victimizing dogs. This ESPN 2007 media clip reflecting back to 2003 season sums it up:

"In the din and blur surrounding the Michael Vick saga, I can't help but return over and over again to one scene from a few years back. It was the opening weekend of the 2003 NFL season, and the Falcons were in Texas Stadium, preparing to meet the Cowboys without their Pro Bowl quarterback. Vick had snapped his right fibula during a preseason game three weeks earlier, and he was still wearing a black nylon-and-Velcro walking cast. Instead of making his way to the sideline on crutches, though, Vick emerged from the visitors' tunnel in a wheelchair pushed by a man with a tailored suit, gold cufflinks and what can only be described as an inappropriately giddy expression.

It was Falcons owner Arthur Blank. And the only thing odder than his expression was the fact that Vick had the exact same look on his face. Despite the injury, both men still felt the NFL was theirs for the taking. Neither seemed to recognize that, somewhere on the sideline that day in Dallas, they rolled over a line, blurring the boundary between owner and player. Blank and Vick looked far more like business partners and close friends" 

http://www.espn.com/espnmag/story?id=3620009

Blank relations with Vick only added insult to injury to many local pundits looking for anything to pounce on him. The Dog fighting incident became a blessing for them.

Now the incident has become a smoke screen to mask the real agenda, which is to marginalize and de-value his accomplishments consistent with the man made-up stereotypes.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@The-Truth Really? Are people marginalizing his accomplishments? Two winning seasons out of six. Publicly trashing Dan Reeves in 03. The water bottle. Ron Mexico. Admitting that he didn't really care at the end of the 05 season. "Coach killer." Flicking off fans after his last game as a Falcon in the Georgia Dome. Oh, and that small mistake that started before he was even drafted.


He was exciting to watch when he put the effort forward. He was capable of many great things. He was also a constant saboteur. This rewriting of his Falcons history is absurd. "Man made-up steroetypes?" What the hell are you talking about.

The-Truth
The-Truth

@FineousMcDirtyBird  You said a mouth full here "Two winning seasons out of six" Last I check, football isn't a one-on-one sport. So Vick gets blame for all aspects of the game including defense, offensive line, special team, team talent level, coaching, etc.SMH. "Publicly trashing Dan Reeves in 03" These are Dan Reeves own words regarding Vick in 2011:

“When Mike really needed them they turned their back on him in my opinion,” said Reeves, via Tim McManus of PhiladelphiaSportsDaily.com.  “They could have been a big supporter and they let him go.  I think it could have been handled differently.

“I wasn’t there so I don’t know the organization’s standpoint, but I thought they could have been more supportive and instead they severed ties with him.”

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/09/17/reeves-says-falcons-turned-their-backs-on-vick/

Doesn't sound like Reeves had issues with Vick. He sounds supportive. So who's really "re-writing" history? "Ron Mexico"? Who said Vick was perfect? Haters anonymously throwing stone is easy to do. "Coach killer.?" LoL, so tell us, which of the 4 coaches Vick had as a Falcon do you missed the must? "He was also a constant saboteur"?  What the hell are you talking about?

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

Adding Vick to this so-called "Ring of Honor" devalues it. To me, the phrase means someone who excelled on the field for the Falcons for a long time (I'd say at least 8 years), was a team leader, and a good citizen of Atlanta. Vick was only one of these. Deion was maybe 1 and a half. Roddy was all of them.

If Blank puts Vick in the ROH, to me it will go from being a sort of Hall of Falcons Fame to just a grouping of former Falcons who made headlines.

Race Burly
Race Burly

He flipped off the Atlanta fans.  Hell no.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I have forgiven him and appreciate the great memories but I would imagine Vick himself doesn't picture himself on the ring of Honor. I wish him well but No to the Ring.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Nah, not worthy. A Super Bowl Champ? Ya, probably


Retire #7? Nah.


After paying his debt, fondly remembered? Yep. 

shameful
shameful

Retire his number...........not no but hell no!

mgunter
mgunter

More so than White, Vick commented a crime and paid his deat .White got all mouthy on social issues that he didn't know the facts about

RonHughes
RonHughes

Hell no! Only if they put a dead pit bull in the ring along with him.

Blank is the biggest "jock sniffer" ever.

HawksFalconsBraves
HawksFalconsBraves

I truly feel as though, they both Vick/ White are deserving of the Ring of Honor

willardkovacs
willardkovacs

Why not split the difference and hang his name up there on a jersey with his prisoner number?

PS We paid all of these animals millions of dollars and blew them througout their careers. At what point can we stop worshiping them?

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Maybe you can tell one of those "animals" to his face, unless you wouldn't feel safe out from behind your computer. Good luck with that.

GT71
GT71

@HawksFalconsBraves Arthur, we know it's you.  Put that card back in the deck.  He meant the players and you know it.  And he's right.  Except Vick was less than the average NFL animal.  Much less.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@GT71 Tell Vick in person.  I'm sure he'd appreciate hearing it from you face to face, although you'd be crapping your panties.