And you need to let up on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell too.
The invectives directed at Michael Vick and Goodell were at a fever pitch after Monday's announcement of Vick's conditional reinstatement to the NFL.
Take a look at sample comments to stories on Bleacher Report and elsewhere:
"You imply that because others have been allowed to play after committing crimes, then Vick should too. I would counter that this is the chance to get it right, to make an example out of Vick and keep him out." —West Coast Bias, Does Michael Vick Deserve A Second Chance? I Say Yes.
"No no no no no no no, absolutely no way, no no, no freaking chance, no no, and...........NO." —Drew Rappley, Michael Vick: Detroit Lion?
"Rodger Goodell is garbage. He somehow has it in his head that he is more powerful than police. He needs to have his job taken away. He is destroying the league." —Josh Roland, Michael Vick is Back...But Tagged With An Unnecessary Five Game Suspension
"Nobody fears Vick except ROVER and FIDO. He was a borderline bust when he went down for being unreliable at a position you must be reliable to play. Broncos don't need him, and watch him have to go to the UFL to find a job as there is no way anyone will sign him. Watch." —Robert Stone, Denver! Please, Please Redeem Yourself, Get Michael Vick
"They should make dog food called Michael Vick with real pieces of him in it" —tweet by camaspan as shown on www.sportaphile.com, 10 Of The Ugliest Michael Vick Comments On Twitter
"IF MIAMI TAKES HIM, I LOSE ALL MY RESPECT FOR THAT TEAM. THEY'D STILL BE MY TEAM B/C I WAS BORN IN MIAMI SO IT'S MY HOME, BUT I WILL SO BE DISAPPOINTED. THIS GUY [VICK] IS A NASTY LOW-LIFE THUG THAT COMMITTED VIOLENT CRIMES AND SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED IN THE NFL. HE SHOULD LOSE HIS JOB LIKE ANYONE ELSE WOULD…" —fizh, www.phinster.com, Mike Vick a Dolphin? All Bark, No Bite
To be fair, most fan comments approached the Michael Vick possibilities in terms of their team's need. Vick had supporters who hoped their team would sign the man with a toxic reputation.
Those who castigate Roger Goodell for reinstating Vick need to calm down.
Roger Goodell does not have the legal authority to ban Michael Vick. To do so would subject the NFL to legal jeopardy as pointed out in a July 22, 2009 post on Sports Law Blog:
"In a recent law review article entitled "Are Commissioner Suspensions Really Any Different From Illegal Group Boycotts," I argue that the 3rd, 6th, 8th and D.C. Circuits might find Goodell's attempt to indefinitely suspend Michael Vick to violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act. This is because the NFL Personal Conduct Policy serves as an agreement amongst the 32 independently owned NFL-clubs to boycott a particular player. At the same time, the NFL Personal Conduct Policy seems to harm consumers by taking away their ability to voice a preference for football games that contain Michael Vick."
If nothing else, we know that the bankrupt, cash-hungry Michael Vick has a crack legal team—that likely needs Vick to get an NFL contract to get paid. Why invite a lawsuit?
The NFL is not a legal monopoly like Major League Baseball. The football commissioner does not have same the legal protection as the baseball commissioner.
Goodell must take a holistic view of the NFL franchise, and that includes working with the players and their union, the NFL Players' Association.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith plans to make the commissioner's power a "point of contention (emphasis mine) as talks progress on a new collective bargaining agreement with team owners," according to Jarrett Bell's story on usatoday.com.
We don't know the full story of Michael Vick's reinstatement. We only know what we read and hear in the media.
Yes, Michael Vick paid his debt to society. However, he lied to Goodell in their first discussion in 2007 about his involvement in the affair. Even Vick did not expect full reinstatement on his word alone.
Let's also conclude that Goodell has crafted a process in concert with the league, the owners, and a nod to Players Association such that everyone involved knows exactly what Vick must do and by when for full reinstatement.
Employee performance improvement plans never make the news.