This is an article from the Aug. 1, 2005 issue
I can see why Michael Vick wouldn't want to be referred to as a "glorified running back" (Give Him Some Respect, July 4). But when Vick rushes for 902 yards and ranks 21st in passer rating and 27th in completion percentage, it's hard to argue with that description.
Toms River, N.J.
What does it matter if Vick is not a perfect pocket passer and doesn't have a great completion percentage? As long as he continues to win, he shouldn't worry about what other people think.
Andy Thomason, Charlotte
It never ceases to amaze me how many superstar athletes can't take criticism. If Vick is so unhappy with his reputation as a quarterback, perhaps he should blame the media for overestimating his abilities in the first place, thus setting such high expectations.
Mike Holverson, Grand Rapids
I'm not surprised that Michael Vick "Just Wants a Little Respect." He certainly doesn't get it from opposing defenses, which try to force him to pass. The Eagles used this approach to perfection in last season's NFC Championship Game victory over the Falcons. Force Vick to try to beat you with his arm, and you win the game.
Jim McMonigle, Turnersville, N.J.
Michael Vick deserves respect because he is exactly what the NFL needs in a quarterback. He has a cannon for an arm and the legs of a running back. Instead of sliding to the ground before tacklers get him, Vick will juke out the defender or just flat-out outrun him.
Benjamin R. Blair, Bluefield, Va.
Maybe Michael Vick gets too much respect. He went to the Pro Bowl last season on reputation, not merit. Consider his stats: 2,313 passing yards (fewer than the immortal Josh McCown); 14 touchdowns (behind part-time Titans QB Billy Volek and retreads Brian Griese and Kerry Collins). And his sack total of 46--tied for second most in the NFL--seems extremely high for a player touted as being so elusive. Meanwhile, according to your ranking of highest-paid athletes, Vick earned $30.1 million last season, compared with Tom Brady's $15.5 million. Patriots owner Bob Kraft may be careless with his Super Bowl rings, but he runs circles around Falcons owner Arthur Blank as a shrewd businessman.
William Wells, Richmond
Is Vick the most electrifying player in the game? Yes. Is he a quality quarterback? I'm afraid the answer is no.
Andrew Menzoni, Vineland, N.J.
Jonah Freedman's list of highest-paid U.S. athletes made a sad point (The Fortunate 50, July 4). The top 10 make a combined total of more than $390 million per year, and yet only two of them are listed in the top 10 charitable foundations organized and funded by active pro athletes (for a total of $12.5 million or roughly .03% of their combined earnings).
Andy Dean, Jamaica Plain, Mass.
You failed to list Michelle Wie under "It Won't Be Long." The moment she turns pro she will sign an endorsement deal that will no doubt make her the No. 1 female athlete in earnings.
Rick Carpiniello, Stamford, Conn.
While it is true that Real Madrid soccer star Ronaldo is underpaid, it's unfair to compare the number of goals he scores with that of David Beckham. As a wing Beckham's primary job is to set up Ronaldo, a striker, for all those goals, not score on his own.
Tim Sayler, West Chester, Pa.
The most shocking fact in the 50-highest-paid-athletes story was not their vast wealth but their embarrassingly small charitable contributions. Andre Agassi and Lance Armstrong stand out as examples of athletes who give of their hearts and their wallets. But what about the others? It makes one think that many of the charitable endeavors that these stars are involved in are more for image than a true desire to help those in need.
Brad Kearns, Auburn, Calif.
46 Percent of pro athletes from the NBA in the Fortunate 50.
8 Professional sports covered in the Fortunate 50.
1 NBA player in the top 10 in giving back.
0 Chance of my watching an NBA game next year.
Bob St. Mane, Minneapolis
A Higher Platform
Kudos to Philippe Comtois, the Canadian diver who took a moral stand (Scorecard, July 4) against competing with a teammate who had been accused of having sex with a minor. Comtois decided to give up participating in the World Aquatic Championships, which was supposed to be the last diving event of his career, rather than compromise his beliefs.
Ann Bartholomew, Woodbury, Tenn.
Thanks to Steve Rushin for highlighting the hubris of our professional athletes (Air and Space, July 11--18). My favorite instance of third-person pseudohumility came in 2002 when a 17-year-old LeBron James said, "LeBron stays humble by just being LeBron."
Mark Coddington, Geneva, Neb.
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