This week former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was released from prison after serving 19 months for his role in dogfighting. He will finish the rest of his 23-month sentence under home confinement in Virginia.
Vick is set to start football related workouts with a trainer sometime in the next week and will most likely seek reinstatement from NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, shortly after.
Vick’s indictment states his involvement in dog fighting dates back to at least early 2001. His estranged father, Michael Boddie, says Vick staged dog fights in the family garage in 2001 and later in the family’s backyard, where some dogs were “bit up, chewed up, and exhausted.”
This was not an isolated incident or a mistake that just happened once. Vick has been involved in this “blood sport” for many years and for this reason, I think Goodell should rethink reinstating him into the NFL. Think about it…it’s not easy for a convicted felon to find a job, why should it be any easier for Vick?
If the viscous torture and cruelty towards animals isn’t reason enough, Goodell should look into Vick’s involvement in illegal gambling. After Vick was indicted, Goodell stated the following:
"Your plea agreement and the plea agreements of your co-defendants also demonstrate your significant involvement in illegal gambling. Even if you personally did not place bets, as you contend, your actions in funding the betting and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL Player Contract and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player."
NFL rules state that participating in gambling activities that bring discredit on the NFL can result in a lifetime ban and that is exactly what should happen with Vick. Allowing him to wear an NFL jersey and step back onto the field would undermine the system.
Although I don’t agree, my best guess it that Goodell will reinstate Vick in time for the 2010 football season.
Here's my question: is any player really worth the headache? There will be a media circus surrounding his return to the NFL and this will likely be coupled with angry fans, protests by animal rights organizations, and a boycott from team sponsors.
Simply said, Vick would be a public relations nightmare. Why would any owner take on this unnecessary distraction to the team? In which case, maybe Jerry Jones should take a look at him.
Vick is a tremendous athlete, but his abilities as a quarterback are below average. During his six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick completed an average of 53 percent of his pass attempts.
A quarterback needs to know how to pass the ball. Running the ball won’t take you to the Super Bowl and Vick wasn’t an exception. He carried the Falcons to the playoffs in 2002 and 2004, but his abilities as a quarterback made it difficult to go any further.
Vick is not worth the headache and having spent the last two years out of football doesn’t make him any more appealing.
As a huge (and admittedly biased) dog lover, I am sickened by the details of the case. Only months before his indictment, Vick threw at least one dog repeatedly against the floor until its bones were broken, all of its organs had ruptured and it finally surrendered to the relief of death.
Vick is personally and financially responsible for what happened to those dogs and he should be held accountable. The dogs that were part of the “Bad Newz Kennels” will never get a second chance on life and Michael Vick shouldn’t get his either.