Michael Vick Is 55.8 Percent SorryAs you''ve likely seen over and over again over the last 36 hours, Michael Vick issued an official apology on Monday after pleading guilty to a felony dog-fighting charge. In his four-and-a-half-minute statement, which was seemingly unprepared and delivered without notes, Vick accepted blame for his actions and vowed to reform.... But did he mean it? We consulted a handful of experts to determine just how sorry Vick is.
TJ Walker, media trainer
CEO, Media Training Worldwide
Initially, Walker offered Vick fifty points for presentation, crediting the former quarterback for speaking slowly and loudly, as if he wanted everyone to hear what he had to say. But Walker ultimately deducted those same fifty points because Vick apologized only as a last resort. "He''s essentially apologizing to his boss because he''s sorry he lost millions of dollars of salary and endorsement deals," Walker said. Nor was he impressed when Vick invoked religion. "It seems like something out of a recipe from a crisis communications plan," he said. "Have I said I found Jesus? Check."
Score: 0 percent sorry
Yisroel Finman, rabbi
Director, Spiritual Rejuvenation Center
Vick owns up to his actions, the first step toward rectification according to rabbinic tradition. He also took responsibility for the harm he caused other people in what Finman described as a heartfelt apology to the Falcons and the NFL. But "ultimately it comes down to fixing what you did wrong," and Vick has yet to complete this final step of redemption. Apologizing to the dogs or making a donation to an animal shelter could earn Vick the forgiveness he''s after.
Score: 80 percent sorryPatti Wood
Body Language Analyst
Vick''s use of the "tongue eraser" suggests his apologies were disingenuous, says Wood. More than fifteen times during his press conference, Vick stuck out his tongue and moved it from the right side of his mouth to the left. Because the right side of the body is controlled by the brain''s left hemisphere -- also the origin of lies -- the tongue eraser is an attempt to sweep away a lie, Wood says. But Vick was sincere in his words to Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino. By blinking slowly when apologizing to Petrino, Vick made clear he was ashamed to disappoint his coach.
Score: 35 percent sorry
Dan Keeney, crisis counselor
President, DPK Public Relations
Speaking without a script in hand, Vick appeared sincere and emotional, said Keeney. But Vick missed the opportunity to end discussion of his actions, the central goal of crisis management. By not clearly laying out his mistakes, Vick left his behavior -- and his apology -- open to interpretation.
Score: 79 percent sorryMaria Bradley
Middle School Principal
Bradley was impressed that Vick took responsibility for his actions, noting that her students often blame others for their mistakes. But she found it strange that Vick attributed his actions to his immaturity. "As middle schoolers, there''re a lot of kids in my building that are immature," she says. "But they don''t dog fight."
Score: 85 percent sorry
Grand Total: 55.8 percent sorry
DPK Public Relations President Comments on Michael Vick Apology in Esquire
DPK Public Relations Founder and President Dan Keeney, APR, has written about and counseled clients on the elements of effective apologies. When Esquire called to get Keeney''s assessment of Michael Vick''s apology, he gave Vick the benefit of the doubt: a solid B-. After all, Vick spoke from the heart without notes. He took responsibility and he pledged to be a better man.
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