Today, Titans quarterback Vince Young apologized to children who may have seen shirtless pictures of him in a bar, including one where he appears to drink liquor straight from the bottle. Even so, he doesn't believe he did anything wrong:
"I apologize to some of the kids if they did see it because I am trying to be a role model for them. But at the same time, I was just trying to have fun with (friends). That is the life of a quarterback, somebody of my status. I guess somebody was trying to make some money and sold the picture to the web site. But at the same time that is the life I chose to live. But it is not going to stop me from having fun. I just have to watch myself. They always want to try and get some negative pub on me. It wasn't really nothing bad. ... Everybody deserves to have a good time every once in a while during the offseason."And when he says "every once in a while," I'm guessing his definition is different than most people's. Below the gallery is a selection of six Vince Young birthday party links (and pictures) from just last weekend hosted by a promotion group called "inDmix":
Vince Young's White Tee Party @ the ROC Wednesdays - 5.14.08 (I'm not sure that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would approve the use of NFL imagery in picture #5 down. Body painted females not the safest for work).
Vince Young's Invite Only Pool Party at the Westside Tennis Club - 5.15.08 (Shirtless Vince again but this time with a water gun not a bottle. It's a pool party so I guess shirts-optional is a fairly normal thing).
Vince Young's Birthday Weekend KickOff Party & Premiere of the iBar - 5.16.08
Vince, Shawn Marion & Jevon Kearse host Baby Blue Carpet Affair @ Club Level - 5.17.08 (Here's a note at the end of picture set showing pictures of 3 police officers : "Of course the haters came through to shut it down ... but I think it is a complement when your party gets shut down. VY you get mad props on a super sick party son.")
Vince Young Bday BBQ Cookout & Daytime party at the Red Door - 5.18.08 (Tight looking cake. Vince cake smushing pictures on page 2).
Lil Wayne, Lloyd, Mannie Fresh, Lil Keke at Vince Young Bday Bash at BAR RIO - 5.18.08
For the record, in response to Young's statement, the person who writes BlogXilla.com wrote in an email to me that the site did not pay for the pictures that are the subject of the apology. Someone sent them to the site:
"My website is not a gossip site, it's about romance, relationship, movies and entertainment. And Vince, like it or not is an entertainer and in Urban America what he does is apart of our life."
So were the pictures that Young was apologizing for a result of just people trying to "get some negative pub" on him? Seems to me the pictures were just embarrassing. He wasn't doing anything disgusting, but as Young notes, quarterbacks get extra scrutiny. In a world of picture phones, it is probably not the best judgment to be out in public drinking what appears to be tequila straight from the bottle.
And I think it also goes to the deeper issue of whether he is taking seriously the responsibilities of being an NFL quarterback.
Arguably, Vince Young got his offensive coordinator fired last year for finding it easier to throw interceptions than touchdowns. Coming off such a season where his maturity, accuracy and understanding of NFL quarterbacking was questioned, a few seasons removed from a draft where scouts had concerns about his intelligence and judgment, you would think he would go out of his way to dedicate himself to being and appearing professional.
Before the 2006 draft, Jason Whitlock had an article at ESPN Page 2 suggesting that Vince Young was not conducting himself in the manner that will lead to long term success in the NFL. At the time, I thought some of Whitlock's individual concerns Young's posse might be a little overblown, but I thought his overall point about how NFL quarterbacks achieve long term success through preparation and good judgment was a point worth saying:
"Before any NFL owner gives Young a bunch of guaranteed dollars, the general manager better make sure Young is going to hit the film room and practice field just as hard as Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Tom Brady. The GM also should make sure that the head coach and offensive coordinator -- not some let's-hit-the-strip-clubs posse member -- have the ear of the quarterback.I don't want to make too much of this. It's not a particularly a newsflash when a player goes to a bar, goes to lots of bars or even looks stupid in a bar. (Though I think fans love to see this stuff, given the success of DrunkAthlete.com). But I do think the Whitlock article is worth a trip in the wayback machine to read.
Playing QB in The League is a different animal."
The Titans have a lot of money invested in Vince Young, and if something bad happens to a franchise quarterback, it can ruin a team. This is why teams expect more from their quarterbacks than any other position on the field. Young shouldn't just apologize to children who saw that picture, he should apologize to the Titan franchise and fans for putting himself in a position where such photographs could be taken.
When Vince Young went back to UT this summer to take classes, he said, "It's not about the money and fame. It's about education."
Actually, for a well-paid NFL quarterback, it shouldn't be about money, fame or education. Unless it's really about a sense of entitlement and an excuse for a fierce baby blue party promotion poster.
Previously at FanHouse:
Vince Young: Shirtless, Swilling at a Party?
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Pics at TheDirty.com: The Future of Sports Media?