The people who REALLY Don't like Mike Vick are the Jets' problem now

The people who REALLY Don't like Mike Vick are the Jets' problem now

I was pretty surprised when Mike Vick first signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest was that the Eagles had a pretty great quarterback in Donovan McNabb at the time. Certainly chief among the others was the potential headache Vick's baggage could bring along with him seemed like an unnecessary risk for the organization to take.

We all know Vick committed some serious crimes against dogs and was sentenced to years in prison. He served 548 days at Leavenworth for his actions. He's worked pretty hard with the community in Philadelphia area and Virginia since then. Some still don't believe that was enough.

I held my judgment to see how Vick would act both on and off the field in Philadelphia. He may not have ever delivered a Super Bowl on it, but he did put in a lot of commendable work in the community.

A Change.org petition that went live earlier in the week believes Vick still deserves to pay. And that 548 days in prison is a "short sentence." The original petition writer is apparently not alone, with the current signers numbers approaching 12,000 as of this writing.

What is the angle the petition is taking? To plea to the SUNY campus that the New York Jets practice at:

I love SUNY Cortland, and cannot abide welcoming this sociopath onto our campus with open arms.  We need to stand by what is right as a university by barring him from the grounds.  I don't want him anywhere near my beloved college or community.  We MUST send the message that we won't be party to the torture of animals by conveniently forgetting what he has done.  If we welcome Vick onto our campus, we are complicit in his crimes.

While I think we can all agree the crimes committed were rather heinous, it's worth noting some of the things Vick has done in the time since serving those 548 days in prison.

Let's take a look at some of the notable moments from the Eagles media guide:

  • In 2011, Vick spent a day lobbying to Congress to help pass the Animal Fighting Spectacor Prohibition Act. "Too many kids get involved in dogfighting and it's time to break this cycle," said Vick. "Animal fighting is a dead-end road for young men."
  • Team Vick Foundation launched in 2012 with a $200,000 donation towards a football field for a little league team, the North Philadelphia Aztecs, as part of the Hunting Park Revitalization Project.

So why are we defending Michael Vick for his crimes here? We're not defending the crimes. We're just moving on and believing that Vick has the intentions to do good moving forward and perhaps even help curtail dogfighting in the future.

The Humane Society of the United States seems to deal with these sorts of backlash responses all the time, and even address the Vick situation specifically. I think their thoughts are worth ending on:

He served his time in prison, he admitted his wrongdoing, and his regret, and he determined to make amends. His work in reaching out to important audiences now buttresses that of the leading anti-dogfighting group in the nation in its broad efforts to attack the problem.

So sign your petitions if you want. Michael Vick and his detractors are no longer the problem of the Philadelphia Eagles. That said, I hope Vick continues to work to give back to the community and make up for the mistakes he's made in the past. I believe he will. I at least believe he deserves a chance to do so.

Instant Replay: Warriors 119, Sixers 108

Instant Replay: Warriors 119, Sixers 108

BOX SCORE

Stephen Curry shot 0 for 11 from three and it didn't even shake the Warriors.

In spite of the star's long-range woes, the Warriors beat the Sixers, 119-108, on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers hung tight with the Western Conference powerhouse in the first half. They trailed by just one after the first quarter and three after the second following a 10-0 run. Klay Thompson led all players with 15 points in the first half while Gerald Henderson and Kevin Durant were right behind him with 12. Meanwhile, Curry went 2 for 11 (including 0 for 7 from long range and a pair of airballs) in his first 18 minutes.

The Warriors, though, opened the third with a 12-3 burst to take a 12-point lead. They scored 34 points in the quarter even as Curry's shooting woes continued (0 for 10 from three through three). Durant scored 22 points through three. The Sixers trailed by 13 heading into the fourth.

The Sixers fought until the buzzer, but were never able to overcome that third-quarter spurt. The Warriors won their 50th game of the season (50-9) while the Sixers dropped to 22-37.

Inside the box score
• Curry went scoreless from three for the third time this season and 37th game of his career. He shot 0 for 10 against the Lakers on Nov. 4 and 0 for 8 on Dec. 7 against the Clippers.

• Durant led all players with 27 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists.

• Draymond Green recorded a 14-point, 11-assist double-double along with six rebounds.

• Jahlil Okafor picked up his fifth foul with 9:44 to go in the third. As a result of his foul trouble, Richaun Holmes logged 28 minutes and scored 15 points with four rebounds. Okafor, meanwhile, committed seven turnovers and scored four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.

• Dario Saric led the Sixers with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

• Robert Covington pulled down a team-high eight boards.

Saric bounces back
Dario Saric hit the ground after being struck in the face by David West in the fourth. He walked off the court on his own and stayed in the game. West was issued a Flagrant 1 on the play (watch play here).

Grab-and-go defense
What’s the key to defending the Warriors? Grab whoever is open. Brett Brown didn’t want the Sixers to get locked into one-on-one matchups when each player can be a threat.

"You have to accept switching,” Brown said. "You have to accept that it's going to be a generic-type gym in relation to matchups don’t matter a lot in our early offense. You just have to find Klay wherever he is and whoever it is. You’ve got to find Steph (Curry). You’ve got to find Kevin (Durant). Draymond (Green) is a runaway train when he rebounds and leads the break. It's really the instruction that you’re not a prisoner to have to guard your original matchup. You’re going to see a lot of people on a lot of different people."

Bogut era ends
As expected, the Sixers waived Andrew Bogut on Monday after acquiring him in the Nerlens Noel trade from the Mavericks (see story). Brown has known Bogut since the center was in high school thanks to their Australian connection. He would have liked to have coached Bogut but understands Bogut's interest to sign with a contender.

"I spoke with him at length. His goals aren't aligned with ours," Brown said. "He really feels, and I agree with him, he wants to go play on a playoff team at this stage in his career and make an impact from that sort of vision lens, more playoff-oriented than trying to build something. I respect his candidness. I would have liked to have had him."

Hart in the house
Watch Philadelphia native Kevin Hart ring the ceremonial bell before the game.

Up next
The Sixers travel to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday. They snapped the Heat's 13-game winning streak in their last meeting. 

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

The timetable for Joel Embiid's return to the court keeps getting murkier.

Embiid was ruled out indefinitely on Monday and will now have an MRI on his injured left knee (see story). He initially suffered a bone bruise on Jan. 20 and it was revealed on Feb. 11 that he had a minor meniscal tear.

The Sixers previously had a plan of rest and rehab in place and targeted a March 4 return for the big man. 

"With respect to what's developed over the last couple of days, it's quite simple, Joel developed a little bit of swelling and soreness," Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said during Monday's edition of Philly Sports Talk. "We're reacting in a way that's proactive. We wanted to be more communicative with our fans. We wanted to make sure that there's less question about whether or not he would be available. This is literally changing out for the next two games now to out indefinitely."

That's a quick change of events. As recently as Friday, Embiid was on track to be back in uniform this week.

"I was in a situation where the latest update on Friday was that he was doing well through his planned progression toward returning to play," Colangelo said. "In recent days, his training has developed a reaction with swelling and soreness, and thus we wanted to take a step back, put him on ice for a minute and make sure that we do everything possible, including getting another scan done."

Embiid initially suffered the injury against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 20. The rookie sensation missed three games before coming back vs. the Houston Rockets in a national TV matchup on Jan. 27. He has missed all 13 games since facing the Rockets.

Even with Embiid’s diagnosed tear of his meniscus and recent flaring up of the knee after rehab sessions, the Sixers are being supremely cautious when it comes to any potential procedures. The team is not in a rush to put the center back under the knife after he missed the first two seasons of his career because of a pair of foot surgeries.

"With all due respect, medical injuries are injuries that require care and attention," Colangelo said. "When I take information that comes from the medical team, including doctors and the training staff and the physiotherapists, we apply it as instructed and we do that to protect the athlete. In a case of jumping into someone's knee to operate, when the circumstances are known but the conditions and how he's reacting to certain things are still unknown, I think you go through the planned progression of steps as prescribed and evaluated by doctors."

The quick decision to label Embiid out indefinitely is a sharp contrast to prior updates on the phenom. Just last week, Embiid lamented how the Sixers never announced a true timetable for his return (see story).

Now just days later, Embiid has a prognosis that could technically keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. 

Embiid has proven his worth in 31 games this season by averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.4 minutes a night. But with only 23 games left on the schedule, will he suit up again this season?

"Out indefinitely means just that. It's indeterminate at this point," Colangelo said. "I think we're all hopeful to get him out there. It would be beneficial for the fans to see him again. It would be great for us as a unit to have him out there as we continue to strive toward winning as the season concludes.

"But at the end of the day, the health and performance of our athletes is first and foremost. We don't want to jeopardize the long-term health."