Gambling and the NFL: Permission Granted! Welcome Back, Mike Vick

Janean MartiSenior Analyst IAugust 17, 2009

Roger Goodell (right) talks with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue after Goodell  is named to succeed Tagliabue  at an owners meeting  in suburban Chicago August 8, 2006.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The NFL purports to be adamantly opposed to gambling, even going so far as to try to stop U.S. states, like Delaware, from allowing betting on single NFL games.

In essence, the NFL embraces gambling as long as they control their part of the gambling game and the gambling revenue distribution.

Admitted dog abuser, strangler, electrocutor, and torturer Michael Vick was welcomed and escorted back into the NFL this week by Commissioner Roger Goodell, Vick mentor and former NFL head coach Tony Dungy, and the Philadelphia Eagles' owners. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was convicted of financing and abetting an interstate dog fighting ring and served nearly two years in custody, starting in prison and ending in house arrest.

A crucial part of the interstate dog fighting ring Vick financed, supported, participated in and cheered on was the gambling.

Vick not only admits to killing, strangling, hanging, drowning, and violating dogs, he also admits to being the venture capitalist of the whole sorry interstate gambling affair.

Way back in 1963, the NFL suspended Green Bay Packer running back and NFL MVP Paul Hornung and Detroit Lion All-Pro Alex Karras, a defensive tackle, for an entire year for betting on NFL games.

Players who bet on games in the very league they play in, are inherently dangerous to the pure joy and entertainment of all sports and should be suspended or even banned permanently. Why? Because most so-called professional sports teams in the U.S. are really quasi-public teams, financed with taxpayer money in stadium and infrastructure costs and protected by special antitrust laws which are designed to prevent competing leagues from establishing a foothold.

Vick, a gifted athlete and scrambler—although a merely pedestrian passer—supposedly excites football fans. Ticket sales and revenue drives the NFL, just as revenue drives any business.

But the question is why the NFL fights against state government-regulated betting on NFL games, but spreads arms wide for a convicted felon who financed not only an illegal activity but gambling on that activity?

Folks say even convicted felons deserve a second chance after they have "paid their dues to society;" those dues often being prison time.

Yes, but if a medical doctor intentionally killed patients by administering lethal doses of a drug, was convicted, and served prison time, should he have his license to practice reinstated and get his job back immediately after getting out of prison?

Give Vick his second chance—by starting him out as a ball shagger or snow shoveler at minimum wage.

The NFL closely monitors and is allowed to run a monopoly in which football players are prohibited from being drafted by any NFL team until three college football seasons have passed since their high school graduation.

Yes, the NFL is allowed, via special antitrust laws, to prevent any player playing NFL football under anything other than NFL rules about age.

Apparently, the NFL also wants special antitrust protection regarding gambling. While NFL lawyers are paid millions to fight state-governed gambling on games, the NFL believes it is a moral, ethical, and financial imperative to give all sorts of love to a man who started his own gambling ring.

The message sent to NFL players is pretty clear: As long as it isn't a betting ring on NFL games, you will have a place and a multi-million dollar contract in our league.

NFL players: You have a few weeks to get your bets down on college football. Georgia Bulldogs anyone?