Vick makes appearance for kids, stays away from nightclub scene

Michael Vick warned kids not to make 'real bad decisions.'
Michael Vick warned kids not to make 'real bad decisions.'
Posted: February 05, 2011

FRISCO, Texas - There was no sign of gunplay or a SWAT team as Michael Vick moved through the crowd of 100 or so kids and at least that many accompanying adults in the rec room of the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County last night. There was a scary bang when someone stepped on a balloon.

Vick's appearance was the part of his evening that didn't get canceled. Damien Butler, an NFL agent, Frisco-area resident and longtime Vick friend, had envisioned Vick talking to the kids and then heading back to Dallas for a check presentation at an event that would raise money for the Boys & Girls Club. The way Butler tells it, the Eagles quarterback was supposed to put in an appearance, but was never supposed to stay for the party at the Deux Lounge.

Somehow, a report indicated the club was hinting at high-rolling Vickcentric revelry, boasting of security provided by off-duty SWAT team members. Given the shooting last summer in Virginia at Vick's 30th birthday party, this raised eyebrows and generated headlines. The Eagles ended up declaring that Vick would not attend the party.

"It turned into a lot more than it was," Butler said yesterday. "All he wanted to do was help the kids out."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in his annual Super Bowl Friday news conference, largely given to labor issues, was obliged to explain that Vick had told him people used his name without his permission for events. (This was not the case with the Deux Lounge event, obviously, but Goodell seemed to be under that impression.)

Goodell mentioned he spoke with Vick about his Super Bowl social calendar three times in the last 2 weeks, which seemed like a lot for a commissioner whose league stands on the verge of a shutdown. An Eagles source confirmed that there have been quite a few discussions between Goodell and team security about keeping Vick out of questionable Super Bowl-week situations, as he anticipates receiving the league's Comeback Player of the Year award in Dallas tonight. The source emphasized the team's vigilance. Vick was driven to and from the Frisco appearance by an Eagles security official.

"I want to make sure that he doesn't put himself in a position where he's going to make bad decisions, or bad things are going to happen around him, and he takes that seriously," said Goodell, who also emphatically endorsed his high-profile reclamation project.

"I am extremely proud of what Michael has done," Goodell said. "He has taken his responsibility seriously. He has made a commitment to himself to make better decisions."

After his Boys & Girls Club speech, in which he emphasized taking school seriously and asked the youngsters to "choose your friends wisely - everybody doesn't have to be your friend," Vick said he was pleased by Goodell's news conference remarks.

Vick confirmed the three conversations in 2 weeks with Goodell about his Dallas plans. Wasn't that tiresome? Lots of players are in Dallas this weekend. Only one has to check in with the commish before going to a club.

"It isn't," Vick said. "Ninety-five percent of the players in the league haven't been through what I've been through. It's all self-inflicted. If that's what it's going to take to keep me on the right track and keep me in the NFL, then I'm not complaining. Not at all."

The party appearance, Vick said, "wasn't something we were trying to do outside of the norm, but the authority said no. Roger said no, we couldn't do it, and that's what it is."

Butler introduced Vick to the Boys & Girls Club crowd.

"Regardless of what you may hear," Butler said, "he is all about the kids."

Vick didn't mention dogfighting, the activity that landed him in federal prison, but he did refer to imprisonment for "real bad decisions." He spoke of a desire to become a coach someday, and to make the Hall of Fame.

"I believe in myself," Vick said. "And I believe in the people around me." *

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