Several weeks ago, when the Vikings announced they were bringing back Randy Moss, I considered going out to the cemetery to see if my husband had clawed his way to the surface crying, “Noooooooooooooooooooo!” The man detested Randy Moss; said he was bad for the team and bad for the town. Both concepts Moss proved over and over to be true. When he tried to run over the meter maid in 2002, Steve thought he shoulda been thrown in jail for attempted murder of a police officer. He never could decide who he hated more: Moss for being a flaming asshole, or Denny Green for allowing, if not encouraging, the bad behavior.
Around the same time, Michael Vick was already involved with dog-fighting and other behaviors unbecoming a member of the NFL. Granted, that last statement gives you pretty wide berth, but even in the NFL there’s a limit on how much of an asshole you can be and still manage to play. Dog-fighting was not the only line on the guy's rap sheet; there was also drug distribution and theft, as well as crimes against society like spreading genital herpes and shooting the bird to Saints fans in New Orleans. These are not the acts of a mature, responsible adult.
Michael Vick went to jail, but Randy Moss only went to Oakland for a season where they couldn’t get rid of him fast enough, and then to New England. One might surmise that doing time would only harden one but that being passed around like a cheap date might give one some time for serious introspection. But one could be wrong.
I happen to catch Michael Vick on a chat show the other morning. I was surprised at how carefully constructed and, well, elegant his answers were. They were expressive, lacking the ums and uhs we usually hear from professional jocks across all sports. I knew he'd been playing well for the Eagles, and that he was experiencing a new kind of success in his life, but it sounded to this mother’s ear as though someone had finally gotten through to this kid. But more about that in a moment.
Randy Moss, on the other hand, continues on as the poster child for morons. If you want to aspire to being a jerk, wear a Randy Moss jersey. The guy doesn’t just lack class; he’s sewer spew. He brings petulance, poor sportsmanship and bad attitude wherever he goes. He’s been an embarrassment to every team whose colors he’s donned. And whatever talent he did have has been squandered. And once again, playing the mother card, I have to ask, “Where is his mother?” Is there no one who can reach this guy and put a stop to this narishkeit?
Clearly, someone did get to Michael Vick, and from all indications, it was probably Tony Dungy. Mr. Dungy has a long standing reputation as a stand up kinda guy, one who brooks no nonsense and fosters loyalty from his teams. Whatever methodology he employed seems to have paid off in rerouting this juvenile delinquent into a productive member of his team and his community. Read about Vick and you’ll know it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t overnight and there were plenty of missteps. But it’s pretty easy to see that this kid is not stupid in the least. He just needed a chance to figure out that he wasn’t a moron and there was no need to behave as one. He's on the long road to redemption; there's no guarantee he's not going to stray, but right now he's headed in the right direction.
I hold no such hope for Randy Moss. His latest performance in the Vikings organization is testimony to his lack of even rudimentary sense. Unless he falls down some rabbit hole big enough to accommodate his head, and has a magical mystery epiphany, he will end his days as a broke moron. More’s the pity on this one; he’s a vastly talented player who has yet to contribute positively to a team. He’s been ill served by the sycophants with whom he surrounds himself. Unfortunately, he’s too much of a self-aggrandized moron to figure that out.
Good luck, Mr. Vick. May you continue on this new trajectory, and may you continue to remind us that redemption is possible.
The Wifely Person’s Tip o’ the Week
If you screwed up, apologize…and mean it.