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SPORTS: Time for Hokies to cut Vick loose

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–When it comes to football, Marcus Vick seems to have it all.

He has the pedigree. He’s the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick.

He has the skills. As quarterback for the Virginia Tech Hokies, he’s proven himself to be a fiery competitor. He led the Hokies to an 11-2 mark on the season, and chances are he’ll have a crack at the NFL when his college career is over.

It’s too bad Vick doesn’t have a brain, and that his judgment and maturity are sorely lacking –- because his tendency to act like a thug could very well jeopardize his future in the sport.

Vick returned this season from a one-year suspension from the team for various offenses -– including reckless driving and possession of marijuana. In October he made an obscene gesture to the fans of West Virginia, a stunt for which he apologized.

“I apologize for letting my emotions get the best of me … ,” Vick said in a statement about the incident. “What I did was wrong and I am sorry. My goal is to be a leader of this team and do things the right way.”

But Vick apparently doesn’t learn from his mistakes. In the Gator Bowl Jan. 2, Vick deliberately stomped on the calf of Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil as Dumervil was on his hands and knees trying to get up.

Vick claims it was an accident, but replays clearly show it wasn’t. It was a senseless act that showed yet again how big of a child Vick is. Quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers said he thought about pulling Vick from the game, but decided against it. Instead he gave Vick a tongue-lashing at halftime.

Rogers should have gone with his first instinct. It’s time for more coaches to take a “zero tolerance” approach to such unsportsmanlike displays from players on the field. Rogers should have yanked Vick off the field and let him watch the rest of the game from the sidelines.

Yes, it might have cost Virginia Tech a win, but it also would have made a powerful statement to others on the team that such behavior won’t be tolerated.

Athletic director Jim Weaver called the act “unacceptable” and said it didn’t reflect the team’s or the university’s values.

“I and my colleagues in central administration are embarrassed and this athletic administration will not condone such acts of unsportsmanlike conduct,” Weaver said in a statement.

He added that Virginia Tech will review the incident and deal with Vick appropriately. We’ll see what comes of that, but the only appropriate action for the Hokies is to give Vick the boot permanently.

Vick has proven that he’s not emotionally qualified to play sports at the college level. His actions set a poor example for kids, and they reflect poorly on Virginia Tech. The team has given Vick more than one chance to straighten up, and he’s refused to do so.

It’s time for the Hokies to let him go. Maybe that will get the message across to Vick that it’s time to grow up.
Tim Ellsworth writes this column from his home in Jackson, Tenn. Write to him at [email protected] or visit his blog at www.timellsworth.com for additional commentary on sports, religion, culture and politics.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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