After Further Review … Now that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has completed his arduous task of deciding the NFL future of Michael Vick, it seems appropriate to discuss: How you would decide and why? Vick has completed serving his 23-month sentence in a Federal penitentiary and repaid $70 million to the Atlanta Falcons, to whom he was under contract since being drafted in 2001. The Falcons released Vick in June 2009.
Vick was indicted on charges of illegal dog fighting – training pit bull terriers to fight other dogs. Without going into great detail, Vick was part of a group that operated “Bad Newz Kennels” on his property in Virginia. The dog fighting scheme was to sometimes punish the losing dog by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gunshot or electrocution. If that doesn’t upset your stomach, well …
To recap the history of this hideous crime is not what is intended here. The question now is two-fold: 1) What should happen to Vick’s future – NFL? Yes or no? 2) How can NFL players or just ‘plain’ citizens (excuse that reference) be prevented from falling into the same “pit?”
For Vick’s NFL future, I wish him well. At first, my inclination was to say “never again in the NFL.” Being part of the NFL is a privilege – one that I had for 31 years. A violation of that privilege to the degree of severity of Vick’s, substantiates my original thought. However, Vick has paid his price – prison as well as financial. The decision here is to support Commissioner Goodell’s purposefulness. Hopefully Goodell will ask of Vick the same thing Brooklyn Dodgers Executive Branch Rickey asked of Jackie Robinson 60+ years ago: “Hold your temper and don’t respond to taunts.”
With regard to “prevention,” it is perplexing to understand how the Falcons’ coaches, players, and, yes, fans, didn’t discover this early-on and caution Vick of the criminal implications, notwithstanding the inhumanity of it. The NFL takes great strides to educate their wealthy superstars of impending harm. Further, and maybe of more value to our young people, Vick “hung around” with the wrong people. Why didn’t his common sense tell him “this is wrong?” Why didn’t someone step up to warn him?
When does “just do the right thing” come into play? Vick is not a hoodlum. Did his college education at Virginia Tech not teach him decency?
Will you look at decency as a stepping stone in your actions?
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