Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Shares First Reaction to Mike Vick’s Arrest

Falcons

Getty Former Atlanta Falcons player Michael Vick.

In 2001, Michael Vick was selected first in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He made history by becoming the first African-American quarterback to be taken with the top pick.

Vick single handily changed the city of Atlanta. The love that ATL showed him was like today’s Kobe Bryant and the love that the city of Los Angeles showed.

Unfortunately, he lost the spark he had after he pleaded guilty for taking part in a huge dogfighting system.

Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank remembers his first reaction to Vick’s horrible crime in a new autobiography/business philosophy manual called “Good Company.”

Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Hartsell got ahold of a copy before the release date, which is next week, and shared the details.

Blank & Vick’s Bond

In 2002, Blank bought the Atlanta Falcons just a year after Vick’s rookie season. Blank watched the city of Atlanta transform and Vick nearly take over the league with his speed and natural athleticism.

Blank spent many years and a lot of money invention on Vick.

Over the years, Vick and Blank formed a very close relationship. In fact, many called his relationship with Vick too close especially after Vick was injured and images of Blank pushing him in a wheelchair around on the sidelines circulated the internet.

Blank had not a care in the world for what the critics had to say. The co-founder of Home Depot, Blank is a big advocator for treating people equally and giving back to the community.

“For me, ‘Put People First’ means treating people as people,” Blank writes via Yahoo Sports. “If I can’t get to know our players; learn about their passions, their histories, their families, and their hopes; and help them in any way that I can, there wouldn’t be a reason for me to own a team.”

Blank also shared how he mentored Vick on being a father and starting a foundation, and believed he and Vick had a relationship that went beyond work.

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Blank Questions the Allegations

Blank thought the world of Vick until he heard the incident reports on Vick’s dogfighting business on his property in Virginia called Bad Newz Kennels.

When the story first broke, Blank, asked Vick if the allegations were true.

Vick said they weren’t.

Blank believed him and gave him the benefit of the doubt.

“I knew Michael — or at least, I thought I did,” Blank writes. “I believed him to be a man of his word.”

Blank learned that the reports were true, and more when he returned from his vacation.

“I felt deeply disappointed and betrayed — both personally and for the franchise — when Michael’s shadow life came to light,” he writes.

Blank had just one question for Vick: “Why?”

“I never thought I’d get caught,” Vick ignorantly told Blank.

Vick was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Vick’s Legendary Career

When Blank came on board in 2002 Vick threw for 2,936 yards, his best year yet. From 2002 to 2006, Vick averaged a total of 2,534 passing yards per season. He also had a total of 3,363 rushing yards between that time period as well. And 84 touchdowns, 46 interceptions, and 21 all-purpose touchdowns per year.

After Atlanta lost Vick to the dog incident, Matt Ryan was drafted and filled the void quite nicely. Vick wasn’t re-signed to Atlanta.

After two years of suspension, Vick eventually returned to the NFL where he spent time in Pittsburgh with the Steelers as well as the Eagles and a brief stint with the New York Jets.

In his 13-year career, Vick threw for a total of 22,464 yards and had 133 touchdowns.

Despite his horrible mistake, Vick was fun to watch.

He and Blank still remain close.

“I wasn’t ready to turn my back on him, however disturbing his actions were to me,” Blank writes. “I believe in redemption and second chances, and I wanted to give him the opportunity to show that he had learned from his terrible mistakes.”

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