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Nils Lofgren’s riff on Michael Vick

Perturbed by the praise Michael Vick has been receiving for his performance on the field, guitarist Nils Lofgren has written an open letter to sports reporters, arguing Vick doesn’t deserve all the cheerleading, an MVP award, or even a place in the NFL.

“I am so disheartened and disappointed by your collective, lopsided praise of Michael Vick due to his recent spectacular on-field performance,” Logfren, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, begins.

“I support his right to earn a living. But, while I can’t fault him for taking great advantage of the opportunities afforded him by playing in the NFL, I feel he does not deserve that lofty a place in our society and culture. However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential bounty it offers.

“Shame on the NFL for not banning him permanently.”

Apparently the letter was prompted by a comment made by Jemele Hill on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” that if Josh Hamilton could win one of baseball’s MVP awards after recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, why couldn’t Vick win the award in the NFL?

“Well, for one thing, Hamilton has neither tortured dozens of dogs nor murdered defenseless animals,” Lofgren wrote. ” … In Vick’s case, I believe his second chance should certainly allow him to be free and to love and raise his family. I think he should make speeches about the error of his ways and help animal groups. I understand that he is doing some of these things and I applaud that. He’s also admitted to being haunted by his dogfighting days. That growth is welcome and necessary, but comes too late for me and those dogs.

Vick, formerly quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was convicted on dogfighting charges and served nearly two years in prison. After his release he was signed last year by the Philadelphia Eagles.

“How can we justify this saga to our children?” Lofgren asked in the letter. ” …Well kids, although doing those things is wrong, two years after you admit to doing them the NFL will let you have a job that may lead to an MVP award and many millions of dollars in a new contract.

Lofgren added, “…(T)he cynic in me thinks maybe if Vick were a third-string lineman, the NFL would have set an example and banned him for life. Maybe many of the other significant charges Vick was facing wouldn’t have gone away if he didn’t have the prestige of being an NFL quarterback who can afford high-priced lawyers to wrangle pleas and deals.

“For the NFL to be that forgiving of evil, vicious behavior is a terribly inappropriate act of forgiveness and has brought a sick, sad, dirty feeling to many of us fans who have loved the game for so long.

“And to you reporters, whom I enjoy and respect, the sentiments in this letter are suspiciously absent in your hundreds of hours of Vick coverage … Just because the NFL lost its spine and common sense on this matter doesn’t mean you reporters have to get in line and go along.”


Comment from GinLA
Time December 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

Another column written by a HATER. Go save a cat on a tree.

Comment from julia
Time December 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

I would like to ask this person, if you stood before God who has forgiven Mike with your hateful heart and g
God gave you a choice to forgive Mike and go to heaven or continue to hate and go to hell what would be your decision? Hell or Heaven?

Comment from Thyrium
Time December 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

ESPN is using basic consumer advertising tactics to sugar coat Michael Vick’s horrendous crimes.

The BBB (build break build) tactic goes like this:
Michael Vick is playing great this season.
Though the thing he did was wrong,
He’s apologized, changed, payed his debt to society, etc…

When you hear twice as many praise as there are criticism, it’s called brainwashing the masses.
In fact, it was ESPN who started the whole: “Michael Vick payed his debt to society” campaign. The public wanted his head and newspapers hated him. Team Vick and ESPN found a way to cool them off by connecting with sports fans.

That DOES NOT mean he payed his debt to society or those dogs and that DOES NOT entitle him to return to the NFL.

Over a hundred of years of psychologists have concluded that sociopaths cannot easily revert, if they can even revert at all.

Comment from Black Cat
Time December 5, 2010 at 9:33 am

Still crying a river… Four years later and you creeps are still stalking his every move! Geez…you guys need to get a life!

Michael Vick is in the NFL and is there to stay, so drop the whole point about weather he deserved it or not.

Let he or she witout sin cast the first stone! Keep crying until your black and blue in the face, matter of fact, Vick says that it is the words of hate that motivates him to become a better person and player,so keep up the good work!

I know it hurts so bad that this guy is on pace to be the MVP this year, after all the talk about him being a back -up QB for the rest of his days in the NFL.

Don’t forget to tune in to Sunday Night Football next week! For a guy that is so hated, I can’t get why he is beating out TV shows like Dancing with the Stars with 23.3 millions veiwers!

I’m glad most of the country don’t think the way you unforgiving, jealous hearted creeps do.

Comment from Bradley
Time December 5, 2010 at 11:04 am

Pot smoking hippie…just drive it into the ground. How about you attack someone that actually harms people? Ehem..Donte Stallworth. No, you wait until Michael Vick gains popularity, and turns over a new lease on life. I could really get your point if it was made right after he was reinstated, but what I’m get is that it was ok to let him back in, but not for him to produce, do well and garner praise. Seems even musicians have jaded opinions…

Comment from Lisa
Time December 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

For the people apparently scouring the web to defend Michael Vick, read this. The whole thing. Pay particular attention to Donna Reynolds’ story.


There’s been a lot of whitewashing of what exactly Vick did–the worst of which he was never held accountable for, and has never expressed any real remorse for. I suspect that a lot of his current supporters aren’t really aware of how horrific and cruel his actions were.

If you can read those stories and still think that he ‘paid his debt to society’ (or to the dogs he tortured) or that it’s really not that big a deal and that his athletic prowess somehow mitigates what he did, fine. But at least have the decency and the integrity to read the stories first, and to get an understanding of exactly what and who it is that you’re defending when you defend Vick.

Comment from micar
Time December 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

we re-elect public officials that have stolen from the public, revere musicians for drug misdeeds, and forgive most everyone for infidelity, murder, and cheating, lying, stealing, etc. but you are unforgiving of the most exciting player in the NFL who has truly seeked forgiveness and seen his acts for being as bad as they were. You are truly not worthy of any adulation. I think Vick will be seen for what he is– A talent beyond belief and will be a role model in his new like

Comment from manuel
Time December 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

There’s a lot of money made in football. It takes precedence over all else including morality.

Comment from Lynn (in Louisiana)
Time December 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

The commenters that are here defending Vick should consider reading the book, The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant. But, somehow I feel certain that none of them will.

Comment from Mike
Time December 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Give it a rest. Stop judging people. No one is perfect. All have made mistakes. We who judge shall be judged one day.
God will judge all with he knowledge and glory.

Comment from Melody
Time December 5, 2010 at 10:40 pm

I know I’m comparing football to baseball, here, but they’re both pro sports. Pete Rose gambled and look what it cost him. Michael Vick tortured and killed animals for cruel sport. Two years?!! Slap on the wrist compared to Pete Rose being banned from baseball.

Comment from baltimoregal
Time December 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

Thanks John, for reminding us that not all public figures are willing to believe the latest hype that if you’re famous, it’s OK to get away with doing bad things.

Comment from Your Maker
Time December 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Who the hell are you to judge? Why aren’t you crying out about all the young people being abused EVERY freakin day you damn moron? Crawl back in your hole loser.

Comment from vickfan
Time December 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

All you people still whinning about michael vick are a bunch of babys. Just shut up. Especially Nils Lofgren. Players in the NFL have Killed people and every one has forgot about that. So stop dragging the issue especially when you have no control over it. And who is Nils Lofgren
all i can see is he a whinning baby. he just jealous michael vick is more famous than he is. have a great day all you cry babys

Comment from Dave
Time December 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Comment from baltimoregal
Time December 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

“Thanks John, for reminding us that not all public figures are willing to believe the latest hype that if you’re famous, it’s OK to get away with doing bad things.”

You got the wrong famous person baltimoregal! I didn’t know doing two years in the slammer and lossing a 100 million dollar contract was “getting away with doing bad things”

I think you may be talking about Paris or Lindsay! LOL…..

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time December 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Bingo, Melody! The Pete Rose comparison is brilliant. What is creeping me out is that we now have roving mobs of illiterate squawkers cruising around the web in defense of Michael Vick the way they cruise around looking for political causes. I’d allude to monkeys and parrots, except that monkeys and parrots have more sense.

I believe very strongly that any human being should have the chance at redemption. Actually, with me it’s a religious belief, so I’d say “the chance to repent and make amends.” If even once Vick would stand up like an adult and say, “What I did was wrong. I caused the innocent to suffer terribly, and I am very sorry.” He’s never done that. He talks a lot about bad choices, wrong decisions, and all that psychobabble. They’re all just euphemisms intended by his handlers to deflect attention from the very real moral wrong. We can make bad choices in neckties or friends or restaurants. Causing harm and committing a crime are much more than that. Once he’s said “I’m sorry” and meant it, I would be in favor of forgiveness. I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.

Comment from Jersey Girl
Time December 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Thanks to Nils for Speaking up about this “Disgrace ” of a Human Being! The only reason he stopped killing and torchering dogs is he GOT CAUGHT! I am sorry 2nd chances my ass if you all see and read what he Purposely did to these Innocent animals .. He is a Disgrace!

Comment from Lisa
Time December 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Thank you Nils, you’re speaking for so many of us with this letter. Dogs provide aid to the blind and disabled, comfort to our soldiers coming home from the war and valuable life lessons to those of us who are willing to learn. I think people who don’t get it never will and I also believe those people also don’t value human life themselves. He’s a piece of garbage, I’ll never know if he is really sorry for his actions but I’m glad to see that not everyone is willing to gloss over such horror.

Comment from Jamall
Time December 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

ATTN: Losers NO ONE CARES WHAT U THINK ABOUT MIKE VICK.He’s Back in the NFL & If you don’t Like it jump off of a bridge.

Comment from kate
Time December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

all of the pro mike vick people all sound the same. are they all from the same IP address?

Comment from casey
Time December 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

It’s so funny to hear all these people say “doesn’t he deserve a second chance?”. Yet, I wonder how many of YOU would hire Michael Vick- or any ex-con – to work for you? Would you be so virtuous then? Let’s face it, this country values mindless entertainment over everything.

Comment from marialaina
Time December 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

could not have said it better myself!

Comment from Peter Chiavaro
Time December 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm

All I keep hearing is the word “hater”, and how Michael Vick paid his debt to society. Yes I am a hater… of anyone who would hook up automotive jumper cables to a dog to enjoy watching him squirm and scream in pain, swinging a dog into the concrete to smash it’s scull, hanging and manual strangulation, drowning a dog in a bucket of water. Who WOULDN’T hate a person that would do such things? If you support Michael Vick, your parents must have been low-life scum. Where are your morals? Your dignity? Your integrity? In other words… WTF is the matter with you? Michael Vick owes NOTHING to “human” society for the hideous torture and mutilation of animals, therefore he CANNOT repay society. In any case, I am surprised that so few know that Michael Vick did not serve one MINUTE of jail time for what he did to the innocent animals he killed and tortured. The animal cruelty charge was dismissed as part of the plea bargain agreement. Michael Vick has never said he was sorry for what he did to the animals. He is a disgrace to humanity, the NFL, the Eagles, and all the great players before him. It is plain to see that the comments made by the people who support Michael Vick are deeply rooted in ignorance and illiteracy. Those who support, condone, defend his actions, or even take a ho-hum attitude, truly disgust me.

Peter C.
Stuart FL

Comment from Dave
Time December 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

Get a life little perter C! Shove your moral compass where the sun don’t shine! I’m glad most of the country dont’ feel the way you do!

Maybe that’s why Vick has the highest TV ratings in the NFL and 23.3 million viewers turn in to see him play, black and whit people.

No one is saying tha they condone what he did, but how can you be mad at someone for forgiving him! Give me a break…

Keep up the good work Vick and know that only God can judge us when we die!

Comment from Starla
Time December 9, 2010 at 12:11 am

Thank you John & Thank you Nils!

Comment from faith
Time December 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Thank you Nils–Michael Vick deserves the chance to make a living–no doubt –and if he is truly repentant then he should also become a more vocal humanitarian–hmm–don’t see him doing much of that!!! He is not walking the walk. For the NFL to think of making him MVP is so wrong–he is not someone for our children to look up to-he has not earned the right for this adulation–in fact just the opposite. He needs to show through his actions that he is in this life to make this world a better place–after all–he has the ears of the sports world and the press–so do some good Mr. Vick—-just my opinion

Comment from nowashburn
Time December 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

Haters gonna hate

Comment from Nick
Time February 19, 2011 at 1:58 am

I don’t have a problem with him playing in the NFL again which he now has done for the last two seasons. While I feel he doesn’t deserve to be in the NFL again, he is and he’s done his time, and not screwed anything up thus far, but my biggest problem is how the media has held him in such high regard this past 2010 football season. All the media hounds and networks and publications disgust me. Make me puke. Just feed and stroke his ego like it’s all good. Well it ain’t with me.

Comment from J Carranza
Time May 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I applaud Nils. It seems there are too many people
seem to forget what Vick did as soon as they see
his achievements on the football field. It also seems
can’t see through his phony apologies, and remorse.
Thanks Nils, I was starting to think I was the only one
Who feels the way you do!

Comment from S Long
Time June 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

Way to go Nils nothing will change but a least thr other side of Vick won’t be forgotten.

S Long
Kensington MD

Comment from irvin utz
Time December 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm

nils im with you bro, im a dog lover.i dont understand why the n f l let him in. by the way i live in p.g.co.and a working mucisian been a fan scince the grin days .i saw you at the crossroads listening to roy buchanon,many years ago. peace!

Comment from alice
Time January 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Thankyou Nils. A class act on stage and off stage