It has been widely reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Michael Vick this week, to discuss his possible reinstatement into the league. Vick, on indefinite suspension due to his involvement in dogfighting, is seeking to return to the league after being released from his prison/home confinement sentence on Monday. The commissioner is a disciplinarian, and has wielded his power using the Personal Conduct Policy to clean up the league.
Gone are malcontents like Pacman Jones. Suspended are those who break the law. He has been swift and decisive with his authority and the NFL is better off for it. The current scenario regarding Vick’s reinstatement is one that needs to be handled sensitively. On one hand, Vick is a first time offender and is subject to lighter penalties than repeat offenders. On the other hand, Vick was sentenced to prison because he was the leader of a dog fighting ring. Too light a penalty, PETA will protest the NFL and give it bad publicity. Too heavy a penalty, the NFL Players Union will be up in arms over how steep a punishment Vick is given. So what is Goodell to do?
It’s been rumored he will give the former Atlanta Falcons QB a temporary reinstatement, while handing down a suspension as the season nears. This would allow Vick to find a team to sign with and attend training camp. ESPN.com is reporting that Goodell has decided to suspend him for 4 regular season games, which has been disputed by NFL officials.
What Goodell should do is what is rumored, and that’s to temporarily reinstate Vick. Let him go find work and report to training camp. Let him go through the rigorous 2x-day workouts in the dead of summer. And then right before the season starts? Suspend him for the year. Yes, this screws over the team that signs him. But signing Vick is a risk unto itself, given that nobody knows how long his suspension is for or if he can still play. Why should Goodell do this? To really teach Michael Vick the lesson he needs to learn: don’t lie.
Vick lied to the commissioner’s face when the dogfighting accusations were originally made. He repeatedly denied any involvement, even meeting with Goodell in New York and telling him to his face that he was not involved in any way. Jump ahead a little ways and we know he lied through his teeth. He was the ringleader of a multi-state dogfighting operation, breeding, fighting and killing dogs for sport. If you look a man in his eyes and lie to his face, you don’t deserve any favors from that man. Roger Goodell should exact his revenge on the quarterback. Teach him the lesson that he apparently never learned growing up; lying is wrong and there are consequences for it.
And no, I don’t consider his two years out of the league as punishment. He was in prison and thus couldn’t play anyways. Yes, he was “indefinintely suspended” by the league following his sentencing. Fact is, even if he wasn’t suspended, the Falcons would have been able to withhold paychecks because he wasn’t fulfilling his contract or playing in games. He’s eligible to play in the league now, therefore he should begin serving his punishment now, when he’s able to play. And is my punishment steep? Yes. And it should be. You aren’t supposed to lie. You definitely aren’t supposed to lie to your boss, especially one like Goodell who was going out of his way to support Vick during the investigations. So Mike, I hope the commissioner lays the hammer down on you. You dug yourself a hole that you can’t juke or jive out of. Maybe this time you’ll learn.