It's a good thing Michael Vick has Tony Dungy in his corner. If he didn't, it might get awfully lonely on that island he occupies.
It might not be fair to call Dungy an apologist, but every time Vick stumbles – whether it's his involvement in dogfighting or his ill-advised birthday party in which someone gets shot – Dungy has been front and center, explaining that we should all cut Vick a break and let him grow.
Why? Because the Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback is a victim of his celebrity. Oh, he's screwed up, too, but if it was anyone else, no one would pay attention.
"Tony Dungy can go somewhere, and if something happens, I'm not going to get singled out," Dungy told the Associated Press during a promotional stop for his new book, "The Mentor Leader."
"Michael Vick goes some place and the same thing happens, and you're the center of attention. You're the focus. Now, is it fair? Who knows? But that's the bed you've made and you've got to sleep in it and be prepared for that. That's the lesson he's learned."
One can only hope Vick has indeed learned. Throwing a birthday party at a club while you're still on probation maybe isn't the smartest decision Vick could have made, but we can probably assume he won't try that again.
At the very least, Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts coach, has at least reminded Vick that every misstep could lead to more trouble. It's reasonable to assume that Vick is finally listening.
"The first thing people have to realize is that probation officers detail everything, and if he is off track even a little, they're going to come down," Dungy said. "They reviewed the situation that went on and moved forward. The NFL did and moved forward. Michael would like to have all the negative publicity back, but it really wasn't the type of thing that people have blown it into. But that's the lesson for him."
Vick at least avoided further punishment after meeting recently with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who opted not to impose any disciplinary action. That's showing faith in the disgraced QB.
It would be a shame to see him prove unworthy of that faith – and in the faith Dungy continues to show.