Is America right to still hate Michael Vick?
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is the country's most loathed sports star, at least according to Forbes' annual list of America's most disliked athletes. (Sixty percent of those surveyed dislike Vick.) Also on this year's list are Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, former Mr. Kardashian Kris Humphries, Detroit Lions lineman Ndamukong Suh, and NASCAR's temperamental racer Kurt Busch. The electrifying Vick has already served time in federal prison over his role in an illegal underground dogfighting ring, and after returning to the NFL in 2010, Vick was honored as the league's comeback player of the year. Is it time for America to forgive him?
Real football fans have already forgiven Vick: Vick's past crime "still resonates with many Americans," says Jonathan Tamari at Philly.com. And "casual fans overwhelmingly still don't like him." But if you look closer, 60 percent of "hardcore" NFL fans actually like the Eagles QB. "Big football fans care more about his play than" his criminal past. And on the field, Vick is a star.
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But Vick's problems go beyond dogfighting: Vick made a "big splash" with his return in 2010, but he "underperformed in 2011," says Doug Farrar at Yahoo. Don't forget: Vick is getting older, and he's spent quite a bit of time on the injury list. Vick's mobile, fleet-footed style — which once made him one of the league's most exhilarating players — is finally "catching up to him," and has left him quite banged up. Is it any wonder Americans aren't enamored with him?
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Vick isn't even the most interesting part of this list: The real shocker is Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, says Will Brinson at CBS Sports. "Suh's lack of popularity is a total 180-degree turn, as he was on the list of most popular athletes just four months ago." (Of course, that was before he stomped on an opposing player during a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day.) "Fortunately for Suh, an incident-free 2012 will go a long way towards cleaning up his image... Vick, who served actual prison time, as well as Tiger, who suffered through a public infidelity scandal... have a much higher hill to climb if they want to regain their popularity."
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