Every Dog Has His Day: Michael Vick and the NFL

Russell WatkinsContributor IJuly 4, 2009

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 27:  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick speaks to reporters at the Omni Richmond Hotel after agreeing to a guilty plea on charges stemming from his involvement in a dogfighting ring August 27, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

I'm pretty much indifferent to whether Vick comes back to the NFL or not. Personally, I don't think any team is going to take that big of a chance on him and the media circus that will follow him everywhere he goes. And that doesn't include the throngs of animal rights activists that will *ahem* dog him wherever he goes as well.

I just wish that people would get their facts straight when talking about Vick's crimes. Michael Vick wasn't sent to Federal prison for 23 months for simple dog fighting. He wasn't at the wrong place at the wrong time or a victim of circumstance. He didn't just happen to be at a dog fight when a raid occured. Michael Vick pled guilty to:

From Wikipedia (I hate using Wiki, but it provided this in a clear and understandable context)

"Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture. In addition, he admitted to providing most of the financing for the operation itself, as well as participating directly in several dog fights in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. He also admitted to sharing in the proceeds from these dog fights. He further admitted that he knew his colleagues killed several dogs who didn't perform well enough. However, while he admitted to providing most of the money for gambling on the fights, he denied placing any side bets on the dogfights."

Basically saying that he not only participated in the dog fighting organization known as Bad Newz Kennels, but in fact bankrolled the entire operation. This wasn't some backwoods Bubbas fighting dogs in a barn somewhere, but a large, complex interstate operation. The fact that it crossed state lines making it a Federal case eclipses most criminal activities by NFL players that are currently active.

The biggest impediment to Vick's return to the NFL is the fact that it was a gambling operation.

"The NFL does not allow its players to be involved in any form of gambling, and even first-time offenders risk being banned for life. However, Goodell did leave open the possibility of reinstating Vick depending on how well he cooperated with federal and state authorities."

 The problem is that Vick didn't cooperate with authorities like he promised to do in his plea agreement and that's one of the reasons he got as stiff a sentence as he did. He even failed a drug test while out on bail and tested positive for marijuana.

I don't know Vick personally so I can't speak for him, but his actions don't bode well for a man that is supposed to be remorseful for what's he done. It seems to me he's only remorseful for getting caught doing it.

Unless Goodell gets a good amount of pressure from teams, players and fans to let Vick return I wouldn't get my hopes up for it at this point.

Apparently Vick has ended his short career in construction and has decided to do a service to his community by working with kids at the Boys & Girls Club in Newport News, VA. This "goodwill" gesture may go a long way to Goodell allowing Vick's return to the NFL.

Until then I think Vick should swallow his pride and take a gift when it is offered. The UFL is seemingly interested in the troubled star and they're willing to give him a chance. Personally, I think he should take it. It may not pay the fortune he thinks he can still earn in the NFL, but it's still the sport he loves to play and may even lead to an even faster return to the league that had to turn him away.