Vick released, but is he a catch?

Michael Vick has completed a 23-month Federal dogfighting sentence and today is a free man. Now the question is, will the NFL let him back into the league?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is weighing whether to take further action against Vick. He should not.

Awful as Vick’s crimes were — and I’m not defending them or in any way condoning them here — he has paid the debt that the U.S. justice system set out for him to pay. He should have the opportunity to return to work if anyone will have him, just like anyone else.

The bigger obstacle facing Vick is, will anyone want him?

As if Vick’s crimes weren’t bad enough, there’s another obstacle awaiting Vick, and it’s that he was not exactly a team player at the time of his suspension. Off-the -field incidents aside from the dogfighting allegations were causing one distraction after another for his Atlanta Falcons team. Vick is going to have to demonstrate that he’s willing to come back, accept a role on the team and submit himself to coaching.

In short, he’s going to have to come back more humble. After all he’s been through, that ought to be no problem. Finding a team that will be willing to give him that chance, however, will be.

It may well be that no NFL team is willing to accept the Vick baggage, and if that’s the case, it’s just more of the price he pays for his crimes. But Goodell should not stand in the way.

Finally this. Vick served 23 months for his dogfighting crimes. Cleveland Brown Donte’ Stallworth served 24 days for DUI manslaughter after he got drunk at a Miami club, then plowed into a man in his Bentley and killed him.

There’s a basic imbalance here that is tough to grasp. If Goodell is looking to make a statement about how seriously the NFL takes its code of conduct, he should start with Stallworth. Vick has paid his price.

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18 thoughts on “Vick released, but is he a catch?

  1. Neither Vick nor Stallworth should play again. They both have every opportunity to go out and get any job they want outside of the NFL. I hear college degrees are great for that and luckily they were given free educations because they can run really fast.But being in the league is not just a "job" like every other and I wish people would cop to that. Being a pro athlete is a blessing, a gift, and a privilege, but a 9 to 5 it ain't.

  2. El Guapo — love the handle, but disagree. If you can do the job, professional sports are that, a job. Yes, they're a high-end job, but they shouldn't be put on a pedestal.The talent is a blessing and a gift. But this notion that it's a "privilege" to be on a team is one that I don't buy. It's a supply and demand issue. If you can do the job, and someone wants to hire you, then that should be that. But I respect where you're coming from, and a great many people share your view. Maybe the majority.Father Time, Leonard Little of the Rams, also, was drunk and had a fatal accident and played in the Super Bowl less than a year later. But Stallworth's accident was more recent. He served 24 days, a sentence that ended last month, I believe, and also settled privately with the family of the victim for an undisclosed amount of money. Goodell suspended him indefinitely and is considering his final discipline from the league now.

  3. My defense of the NBA on their age-limit stance is that the NBA is the business entity, not the owners. I see individual owners as rogues willing to sign younger and younger players for more and more money eventually to the detriment of their franchise and their bank accounts. It's the oversight of the league's offices that need to step in and say 'you guys are killing yourselves, you need limits', thus the age restriction. The NBA needs to keep its owners from destroying themselves just like the NFL needs to keep its owners from populating their teams with Vicks and Pacmans in order to keep the league healthy.It's the NFL(not the individual teams) that is doing the hiring in this case, and we'll see if the league is willing to offer them jobs.

  4. The question is whether Goddell says that Vick's yet-to-be announced potential league suspension ran concurrently with his jail sentence. Some guess he'll get a four-game suspension for lying to the league and Arthur Blank about his involvement with dog fighting.I think he should have the right to play, but a team is taking a big risk. Vick was a bad person not including the dog fighting and a suspect teammate. But having the ability to play and whether someone really wants him are two different things.

  5. Eric-I believe what Father Time meant was that some of your details on Stallworth were off. He killed a man not a woman, and was driving a Bentley not an SUV.

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