CLAY MATTHEWS DISCUSSES 3-0 START TO THE SEASON;
AND IS MIKE VICK BEING TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER QUARTERBACKS?
NEW YORK (Sept. 28, 2011) – Super Bowl champion Clay Matthews sits down with Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth on this week’s edition of INSIDE THE NFL—tonight, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME— to discuss the Green Bay Packers’ 3-0 start to the season.
James Brown, Simms, Collinsworth and Warren Sapp discuss whether or not Mike Vick is being treated differently than other quarterbacks in the league. INSIDE THE NFL looks at how injuries are handled in the NFL by the players, teams and doctors. Should Vick, Tony Romo and others be expected to play through injuries?
The following are excerpts from the discussion on Mike Vick, following his post-game comments on Sunday:
BROWN: We want to talk about Michael Vick. It seems like every week he is a focal point of conversations around the country. A unique player, a unique set of skills and certainly even what he does off the field is critiqued. My question is, is Michael Vick being treated any differently? Post-game comments last week, he was frustrated saying how he was getting hit. He wasn’t getting the calls that other quarterbacks in the league were getting.
SIMMS: Well, let’s start. There’s a lot to say there. Yes, he is a lightning rod because he’s a star. He is a star in the NFL. I don’t even care about his post-game comments. It doesn’t bother me that he was criticizing the officials…Let it go. But he was hurt. He thought his hand was broken so he’s upset about that and he played bad. I think that was a big part of it too… Yeah, he takes some hits. But the first thing I’m going to say is, what, do you think there is a conspiracy with all the referees in the NFL? ‘Oh, this is Mike Vick today. I’m going to let it go.’ Mike Carey’s going, ‘Nope, not today. That’s Mike. I’m going to let him take that extra leg [hit].’ So, that is preposterous. But the biggest thing of all is the media. How everybody’s attacked it. And they’re taking it to different levels and creating an issue. And of course, the issue is what? Well, he’s a black quarterback so he’s being treated differently. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s what they think.
BROWN: He was quick to say absolutely he feels he’s not getting the calls that other quarterbacks get. But why is it that folks would take the racial slant when they said that it’s a black quarterback. Does that make any difference at all?
SAPP: Let’s put it simple. When you ask him the reasons why, he sits there and says, ‘You see it.’ And I don’t want to get into a long dissertation; you’ve got to give us something big boy. It’s you taking the hits. It’s you in the pocket. So tell us why you feel this way because you brought this to America’s attention. You said it in training camp the way it was supposed to be said to the referee, quietly. Let’s see if they do something about it. If not, go to Andy Reid. He’s been bitching since he’s been in this league as a head coach. So, he went about it the wrong way. That’s all I’ll say.
COLLINSWORTH: Well, I’m not going to get into the racial aspect of that. I disagree with that part of it. I think it is part of why it’s an issue. I don’t think that that’s a factor because look right across the state at Ben Roethliesberger. They’ve been complaining in the same way, that he never gets any calls. In the first week of the season he got a roughing the passer call and it was like national news that he finally got a roughing the passer call. And the reason those guys aren’t getting the calls is they’re so hard to tackle. When you have a mobile quarterback that’s hard to tackle, that makes plays, that escapes and makes plays, that’s always a tougher call in that situation. You know when Tom Brady is standing there like a statue and somebody hits him in the head it’s easy to see, or hits him in the knee, that’s easy to see. It’s tougher to make those calls on the other guys. And I think to some extent both of those guys now are going to have this whole conspiracy theory surrounding them because of what’s happened to both of them off the field. I think it has nothing to do with race. I think we should drop that conversation.
BROWN: That’s a very good point that you make Cris. But why is it that folks seemingly are so quick to ascribe a racial component to it, simply because it’s a black quarterback making that comment?
COLLINSWORTH: Because of past injustices in this country—I’m sure has something to do with it. But in this case, I can’t follow the league any closer then what I do. I see other guys and there are missed calls and there are borderline calls and generally it’s around mobile quarterbacks. And I think that’s the issue, not race.
SIMMS: Here’s the rule. It’s a one-step rule in the pocket. Yes, Michael Vick, that hit might have been illegal but it was borderline. Everybody gets illegal hits. Get over it. You know that happens every week. But when you break the pocket the rules change. Everybody’s got to know that. When you run, even when you throw it on the run, you are subjected to more liberal rules. You are going to get hit. Now, you watch the games and you’ve done a Philadelphia Eagles game. He invites the hits. He never gives a play up until he’s exhausted every avenue. He was running out of bounds against the Giants. It’s clear he was going to get about 10-to-12 yards. He tried to get an extra yard and I’m telling you it was close. You know, he got knocked down or whatever. So, it’s his style of play that’s going to invite more hits than any other quarterback.
INSIDE THE NFL, now in its 33rd season, will air every Wednesday night through the NFL season on SHOWTIME for a total of 23 episodes, with multiple replays each week on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME® and availability on SHOWTIME On Demand.
INSIDE THE NFL is produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. The executive producers are Sean McManus and NFL Films President Steve Sabol. Pete Radovich Jr., the EMMY Award winning Creative Director for CBS Sports, serves as coordinating producer.
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