Michael Vick has an autobiography coming out in July. Entitled Finally Free, the book chronicles the obvious arcs: did a terrible thing, got caught, went to jail, learned a lesson—now I’m telling you, dear reader, all about it.
My first instinct was—[shrug]—“Good for him.” If you serve your time, society shouldn’t hold your crimes against you. We owe it to ex-convicts to recognize they’ve paid their debt and move on. What’s the point of prison otherwise?
I’m also “a dog person.” The conditions and treatments Vick and his cohorts laid on those canines caused my living room to get dusty when discussed. To oversee something as twisted as dog fighting requires a certain degree of psychopathic behavior.
To Vick’s credit, he’s handled the circus with stoic grace. Certainly, that he’s returned to the game and been an absolute assassin has helped the public forget his transgressions. But applause is in order for someone who’s willing to accept his mistakes, make gestures toward preventing others from replicating them, and move on.
Then I saw the price of the book: $99.95 for the limited edition hardback and $24.95 for the regular hardback.
Mike, I gotta ask, are you trying to be funny with the book title?
You’re going to charge a hundred bucks to tell us that pitting dogs against each other, lying to your lawyer and going to prison were bad things—and that now a faith in God and personal reflection have turned you around? Michael Jordon, Jerry Rice and Wayne Gretzky could get busted as the distribution contacts for Mexican drug cartels, mimic the theme, and I would still not pay that much for it.
Of course free people should be allowed to roll however they’d like. You have every right to charge $100 for an autobiography. This is the US of A.
In that same vein, I do not believe you’re required to donate the proceeds to charity. (“A portion of all book proceeds will benefit local charities in Philadelphia and Hampton Roads,” is a nice, vague message.)
As I said before, you served your time. The gesture is always nice, but should never be required.
My problem, Mike, is that my earlier shrugging and “Good for you” business kind of dissipates out the window.
You organized and made money off of a despicable act. You do no favors to your alleged repentance by levying a ridiculous price on spreading the word. Especially since when people click to buy your book, they’re immediately asked to buy a subscription to some bootleg magazine that looks like a Chinese black market rip-off of Sports Illustrated.
If you want to show that you truly believe what you did was wrong, your price point shouldn’t be targeted toward businessmen at the airport, but at teenagers—especially those that you were once like who are growing up in tough conditions and have tough choices to make.
In one of your interviews on your website, you discuss your crimes and say, “I’m no different than anybody else.”
Actually Mike, most people haven’t been caught leading an underground dog-fighting ring. You are, in fact, different from everybody else. That difference is why you can tell your story and better society. Presumably, that was the point of your book.
Again, free country, you can roll how you’d like. But if you expect people to pay a hundred dollars—or twenty-five later on—to read about your tough lessons, don’t expect the rest of us to believe you actually learned them.