The story of Mike Vick has been well chronicled – 2001 number one draft pick; a constant stream of sensational highlights; a 23 month jail sentence stemming from his involvement in dog fighting and illegal gambling; an indefinite suspension which lasted through two seasons; a shot at redemption with the Philadelphia Eagles.
All of the above makes Vick a perfect candidate to speak on the pitfalls of not appreciating the gifts and opportunities that comes along with being a celebrity/star athlete.
On Monday, Vick addressed the incoming rookies at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium. During a seminar titled “Are You Bigger Than the Game?“, Vick spoke at length on his past experiences and the things rookies should avoid in order to ensure their success in the league. Some of the highlights include:
- “As I sat in a prison cell, I understood why I was in there. That’s bad. You don’t want to end up that way. True story: I could see it all coming. I could see it happening. I thought about it. I asked myself, ‘Should I stop doing what I was doing?’ And I didn’t stop. That’s having no discipline.”
- “The game is going to go along, with or without you,” Vick said. “You control your destiny. You dictate how long you’re going to play in the league. It’s all up to you. It’s about commitment, dedication, preparation. “I flew home every week when I should have been in the film room getting better,” he said
- “Sometimes you think you know it all,” Vick said. “You’ve got a lot of learning to do, a lot of life to live, people you’re going to come in contact with. You’ve got to make a decision: Should I trust this person or that person? It’s going to be difficult. You’ve got to lean on certain people. Find that one person. One or two people who can steer you in that right direction.”
- “The best thing for me to do was going to prison, being able to separate myself. I wasn’t strong enough to get away from them. I wasn’t strong enough to say, ‘We’re not going this direction. I ain’t living like this no more. We can’t condone this type of activity.’ I wasn’t strong enough. I needed the legal system to say, ‘You all can’t be around each other anymore.’ That’s the situation I created.”
Vick was the perfect person to give a speech on this subject. Let’s hope these incoming rookies take heed of his word.