Michael Vick: Redemption, Reinstatement & The UFL

Rahsaan HuntContributor IJuly 29, 2009

RICHMOND, VA - DECEMBER 10:  Supporters wait outside a sentencing hearing for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in federal court December 10, 2007 in Richmond, Virginia. Vick and three associates pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles running an interstate dogfighting ring.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, July 23, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, met with the most hated man on the planet, Michael Dwayne Vick. The topic of the meeting was Mr. Vick’s reinstatement into the NFL so he may play for one of the 32 teams of the NFL.

On Monday, July 27, 2009, Michael Vick was reinstated into the NFL on a “conditional” basis. What does that mean exactly?

Here are the conditions he has to abide by during his partial reinstatement:

  1. If he signs with a team, he can participate in practices, workouts, and the final two-preseason games with that team.
  2. When the season begins, he can continue to participate in all of the team’s activities except the regular season games.
  3. If all works out in Vick’s favor, the Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will consider Vick’s full reinstatement no later than Week 6 of the NFL season, which takes place on October 06, 2009.

Like many fans and players, I believe that Vick has received enough punishment and should receive a full reinstatement into the NFL. One of the reasons why Goodell is being so hard on Vick about his reinstatement is because when Vick was first asked about this whole situation, he lied right to the Commissioner’s face.

That wasn’t a smart career move.

Secondly, the NFL is worried that they will lose money because their sponsors will lose money due to protest or protestors from different animal rights organizations. In addition, Goodell has been the “Elliot Ness” of the NFL’s disciplinary actions since he has taken on the role as commissioner back in 2006.

He’s been the judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to NFL punishments. In doing so, has set a tone that has made fans, and players, question his criteria in terms of player’s suspensions. Even the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, plans to question Goodell’s authority during the next round of talks about the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams killed someone and he didn’t have this much trouble getting back into the league. Hell, a man was left paralyzed after Adam “Pacman” Jones’s “make it rain” fiasco and Jones was traded to, and then signed with the Dallas Cowboys during his suspension.

As fans, we won’t forget what Vick did. Was the acting of killing dogs wrong? Yes it was. No one has the right to kill anyone or anything. Did he go to jail for killing dogs? No, he went to jail for the funding and participation of an illegal gambling ring.

He has served his time and he’s out now. He served his suspension with the league. He plans on working with the Humane Society and he has had sit-downs with one of the most respected men in the history of the NFL, Tony Dungy, who plans to be a mentor to Vick during his transition back to the NFL and as a law abiding citizen.

We need to move on. He did his bid. He heard the cries of all of the animal lovers. Let the man play football.  That’s his livelihood. How would you like it if someone told you that you couldn’t go back to work or do something you like to do because of something you did wrong and you already paid for it through your punishment?   

He has the right to earn a living and meet his financial obligations.  He did everything he was supposed to do in order to be partially reinstated. You can’t fault Vick, fault the system if you don’t like it.

On the other hand, if he is reinstated on a full-time basis, should he jump on it right away? Well, that’s a little tricky. Whatever team signs him, won’t throw millions and millions of dollars at him. He may get the league minimum for veteran players, or he may get a little higher, but he still has to prove to everyone that he’s in shape to play.

With that in mind, I think Vick should weigh his options upon his return. His reinstatement also has something to do with a little upstart football league called the UFL, in my opinion.

The NFL can’t afford to lose a player, no matter what his publicity is, to a soon to be rival league. Vick has publicity on his side in this matter. If the UFL treats him right, other players, from college and the pros, will definitely look at the UFL as an option.

Goodell can’t risk that happening, hence the reason why a decision was made now as opposed to a decision being made weeks or month from now.

If Vick were to go to the UFL, it would give him the opportunity to shake some of the rust off and get back in game shape. After the end of the UFL season on Thanksgiving Weekend, he can re-enter the NFL as a Free Agent and hopefully hitch on to a team that’s in a middle of a playoff run. Now that’s how you stick it to the Commissioner.

For now though, we as fans should try to give Vick an “unconditional” reinstatement. We need to forgive and give him a second chance. As mentioned before, we won’t forget what he did, but we can sure as hell try to forgive. None of us are without sin, so there’s no need to throw stones at him.

Let’s walk away quietly with our hands in our pockets, full of stones, and just cheer the man on and off the field with the hope he does the right thing. As I’ve said before, everyone gets a “do-over’, let’s hope he does the right thing for the league and most importantly, himself.

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