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My Take on Tashard Choice's Autograph Session with Michael Vick


Before we start, I want it to be made clear that I didn't see this firsthand. I was actually at the game, and they did not show this interaction between Michael Vick, the Eagles quarterback, and Dallas' running back, Tashard Choice on the giant screen.

I found out about this on the radio while driving to the La Quinta I was staying at overnight before going home the next day.

Apparently, Tashard wanted to get Michael Vick's autograph despite the fact that Vick is now a divisional rival, and the Eagles had just beaten the Cowboys 30-27 and Michael Vick had a monster game with 270 yards passing, two touchdowns passing, and one rushing touchdown.

Now, there was a huge amount of fuss made about the situation, and rightfully so. I can totally understand why many radio broadcasters, fellow writers like me, and our fans would be upset about it. NFL players aren't paid to get each others memorabilia or exchange signatures. Now, it does happen. I watched an interview of Ray Lewis, and he kept autographed jerseys in his basement.

However, I do not find fault in that. I find fault in Tashard Choice's timing. A lot of you have played football just like I have, and lets assume you are competitive creatures like me. Well, when my team loses a game, and I had an awful game, I didn't act like everything was hunky dory. I was furious at myself.

Tashard Choice did not have a great game. He had seven carries for 16 yards. For him, that is just plain awful. Now, I do attribute a lot of the blame to the offensive linemen, who just couldn't make the holes for the backs, but Barry Sanders did not use his offensive line as an excuse. He worked around it into the Hall of Fame, so Choice should be giving himself a concussion from pounding his head against the wall in frustration.

Now, maybe he was doing that inside, but I was listening to Norm Hitzges, the Dallas sports radio host, talk about the game, and either him or his co-host said the very important words of, "Perception is everything."

It doesn't matter what Tashard was really feeling on the inside, what matters is if he's showing it. He picked the wrong time to revert back to his teenage days of watching Michael Vick run all around people. He was on national television asking for an autograph, and the perception is that he doesn't care that he had a bad game, and the team just lost an divisional rivalry game that makes the Cowboys guaranteed to have a losing season now because that was loss number nine.

The Cowboys have been accused by many, including me, of lacking heart, commitment, competitiveness, and pride this year. As a fan, you wondered if they really cared about who they are representing? Do they care they are representing at team that has won five Super Bowls, been to three others, and had 20 years without a losing season?

Tashard Choice asking for Michael Vick's autograph right after that loss does not help convince people that the players really do care. What surprises me is that if I had to pick someone to do something as bone-headed as that, my first guess would not be Tashard Choice, my eighth guess would not be Tashard Choice. Tashard Choice is a guy who I've wanted to actually start for Dallas. I've kept a microscope on him since he blocked a punt against the Denver Broncos in a preseason game in 2008.

Tashard Choice first said it was for charity, then he said it was for his three-year-old nephew, so now you wonder if he's lying. If he wanted the guy's autograph, he could have contacted him through a liasion like his agent or throught the public relations department for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He could've emailed the guy or just texted him. I know these players can get each others' numbers.

People may say that this is just a game, be a good sport about it. Well, Tashard Choice is not being paid to be friends with Michael Vick, he's being paid to run the ball down the defense's throat and make them gag on some touchdowns. If you lose, you aren't supposed to be acting like the fans, you are a player! Show some disappointment, show some anger, show some frustration, show the fans that pay good money to watch you play that you care if you win for them or not.

Tashard Choice has shown regret for his actions, and I sincerely hope this does not happen again because I know some people want him cut right now.

In order to win in this league, you have to have talent, but a lot of it is competitive drive. And asking for autographs after the game is not the way to be competitive. Don't be friends with the team you want to be; in fact, it is better to despise them with a roaring fire in your chest. Hate them like you'd hate some vile criminal. You always try that much harder against something or someone you hate because you want the extra boost that you get when you beat them.

I'm not going to defend this at all really. He's being paid more than some surgeons who spend over a decade learning how to safe people, and he's being paid to beat the Cowboys rivals and that includes hating their guts. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird loathed each other while they played in the NBA, and they are now friends after retirement.

Wait for retirement Tashard Choice, and that goes for the rest of the Cowboys too.


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