Ever since Michael Vick took over the starting job back in 2010, he has been the unofficial spokesperson for the Eagles.
So it was no surprise that when he walked out of the NovaCare Complex a little after 8 p.m., Vick stopped and shared his thoughts on the Riley Cooper situation.
“Riley came to us as a man and apologized for what he did,” Vick said. “As a team, we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean or we don’t mean. But as a teammate, I forgave him. As a team, we forgave him. We understand the magnitude of the situation. We understand that a lot of people may be hurt and offended, but I know Riley Cooper. I know him as a man. I’ve been with him for the last three years and I know what type of person he is. And that’s what makes it easy, at the same time hard, to understand the situation, but easy to forgive him. I forgave him.”
Cooper addressed his teammates Wednesday evening, and then Vick said he had a one-on-one chat with the wide receiver.
“I just spoke to Riley inside the [practice] bubble during the walk-through for about 15 minutes, and coach allowed us to talk,” Vick said. “He allowed me to say a couple words to the team. And he allowed all of us to have open dialogue for five minutes on how we wanted to move forward. I think we cleared the air. We all have an understanding that the most important thing for this football team is to learn to move forward as of right now, and that’s what we’re focusing on. We can’t take two steps backwards. I think that’ll show a certain level of disrespect to this organization.
“We all gotta look at it like this: What if your son or daughter made a mistake in this fashion? How would you want people to perceive it? I’ve been there before. We’re in very delicate situations and we all understand, but somehow we all need to find a way to get past it. That’s maturity.”
Vick was clearly trying to find a balance between showing support for Cooper, while acknowledging that what his teammate did was wrong.
“I think anybody who uses a certain word in a certain way has to know what they’re saying,” Vick said. “Riley’s a smart guy. Like I said, we all say things sometimes that we know the meaning of or know the meaning behind it and say it just to say it. So you never know. It’s a very delicate situation to the entire world, to this team, to this organization, to me, but we’ve got to find some type of way to move on.
“The fact that I’ve heard that word so many times, whether good, bad or indifferent, I try not to even think about what the meaning behind it is or why would he really even be saying that. I don’t get that deep into detail or thought. …He said what he said. We all understand that. We’ve gotta move on from it. Riley wishes he would have never said it. And we’ve just gotta continue to find a way to get through this. ”
And finally, Vick was asked about his brother’s comments on Twitter. Marcus Vick Tweeted that he would offer $1,000 for someone to light Cooper up during a game. Michael Vick was clearly annoyed by his brother’s antics, taking a deep breath and accidentally dropping the bag of popcorn that was in his hands before answering.
“To address my brother’s situation and what he’s saying I don’t think is really relevant,” Vick said. “You can’t allow yourself to be encumbered in what’s going on. Don’t agree with what my brother’s saying. Riley’s still my teammate and he just stood in front of us as a man to apologize for what he said. Somewhere deep down you’ve got to find some level of respect for that. And to people on the outside world who don’t know how we’re dealing with it, they’re going to voice their own opinions. But my brother has to not show a certain level of ignorance.”