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.