Arthur Blank: I wish ‘we could have saved Michael [Vick]’

The Atlanta Falcons' owner was offered one change he could make dating back to when he bought the team...

Dukes & Bell
August 30, 2018 - 2:18 pm

ATLANTA – In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United team owner Arthur Blank sat with Carl Dukes and Mike Bell the stadium, his teams and the direction of sports in Atlanta.

A detailed layout of the interview can be viewed below. You can also watch the interview above or listen to it below as well.

Blank admitted that the delay in a fully functioning roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium stressed him out. He also feels his 2018 Falcons team is better than any he’d had in some time.

But maybe the most interesting answer Blank gave Dukes and Bell was when he was asked what he would do if Blank could go back in time to when he purchased the Falcons and change one thing.

Surprisingly, he didn’t change the outcome of Super Bowl 33 when the Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos. Nor did he change the devastating Super Bowl 51 loss to the New England Patriots.

Blank chose a more personal revision; a more humanitarian switch.

"If I knew back when I first bought the team that Michael Vick was involved with dog fighting, I would have spent a lot of time with time with him – I did spend time with him – but I would have spent much more time with him if that was an issue I would have been aware of,” said Blank. “And him understanding and the community understanding why that's not the right thing for him to be engaged with and not the right thing for anybody to be engaged with. Not because I own four dogs, but because it's obviously wrong for all the right reasons.

“So I say we could have saved Michael from going through the year and a half, two years in prison that he spent,” the Falcons team owner said. “He put his family through a very difficult time.

On the flip side of it, I'm proud of Michael because he's come back and I believe he's a changed man,” said Blank. “He's committed to the community, he's committed to communities across the country, he’s speaking on a regular basis – like probably every week to young people about the impact of choices, the choices they need to make and the right choices versus the wrong choices. I think he's making a difference in that way.

“Scratch the skin of any man or woman and you'll find somebody that's made some mistakes,” said Blank. “Importantly, you grow from them, you learn from them and you become a better person. I think that Michael has.”

Here’s the layout of the rest of Blank’s interview with Dukes and Bell:

  • [0:40] Atlanta United - letter from MLS commissioner Don Garber.
  • [2:20] One-year anniversary for Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • [3:29] The MBS roof did stress him out. "We probably didn't understand the full definition of 'iconic' or 'complex'"
  • [5:00] Has being an NFL owner been heartbreaking without a Super Bowl? "We have a better team than I think we've had in the last two or three years."
  • [6:05] How he dealt with the Julio Jones news during the offseason.
  • [7:37] On the NFL and the protests during the national anthem. "We'd like to move it from protest to progress."
  • [9:32] If you could go back from the time you bought the team and change one thing, what would it be?
  • [11:25] On the Dukes & Bell Hey Man Ale and the new craft beer in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Also some information on the new food & beverage initiative.