The animosity Vick built up with the public for funding dog-fighting operations is undoubtedly still lingering, but he seems to have a healthy perspective on the ranking.
Geoff Mosher of Comcast SportsNet Philly shared Vick’s take:
On being named in Forbes as a top disliked athlete, Vick says, "As long as I got my freedom, my health and my family, nothing else matters."— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) October 22, 2013
Whether Vick’s value of family impacts his popularity with the public in the long run is yet to be seen, but people are still likely upset about the dog-fighting. More than four years have passed since Vick served over a year in a half in federal prison, but that did nothing to knock him off Forbes’ pole position.
According to Forbes' Tom Van Riper, here is how Forbes created the list:
The list is based on an E-Score survey of 1,100 people age 13 and up. We counted only currently active NFL players whose awareness registered a minimum of 10% with the public. According to the numbers, 53% of respondents expressed dislike for Vick.
While the obscure linemen on your favorite team that draw ire for multiple false starts every Sunday didn’t make the cut, the results are still telling.
Manti Te’o, whom MTV can thank for the recent surge in popularity of its show Catfish, and Ndamukong Suh, who is considered one of the league’s dirtiest players and has the fines to prove it, round out the top three.
Anyone who has talked with a passionate dog owner can understand why it really isn’t surprising Vick tops this list. Pollsters told Van Riper that Vick scores well with hardcore NFL fans, but casual followers still define him from the dog-fighting incident.
Vick hasn’t done anything major on the field such as winning a Super Bowl to draw the attention of those who aren't serious football fans away from his checkered past, but perhaps a newfound focus on family and health will land him off this list in years to come.
While he has remained out of trouble since returning to the league, Vick is still in the spotlight in Philly as he is currently working to hold off Nick Foles for the Eagles' starting quarterback job. He's had mixed results. In five games in 2013, he's passed for nearly 1,200 yards and five touchdowns, while adding another 307 yards and two scores rushing.
Yet Vick is completing just 53.8 percent of his passes this year and has to stay healthy to give himself a chance to continue playing well, and that's been far easier said than done throughout his career.