NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to “reinstate” Michael Vick left me perplexed and puzzled. Goodell said the intent was to”do the right thing” by Vick. Was the NFL really doing the right thing or pandering to the animal rights groups?
Michael Vick was indefinitely suspended from the NFL 2 years ago. He served 2 years in a federal prison for his illegal gambling and dog fighting operation. Upon release, he had 2 months home confinement. He now is on 3 years probation. If he doesn’t walk a straight and narrow line and violates his probation terms, he will serve more time. So why does the NFL need to extract an additional pound of flesh from Vick?
The Commissioner’s decision to “reinstate” Vick has additional terms. He won’t be eligible to play in regular games until game 6. Goodell wants to monitor Vick until then before fully deciding his fate. Michael Vick must adhere to and provide a written plan to the Commissioner outlining his housing, finances, counseling and work with the Humane Society. As a former prosecutor, I fail to see the need for any terms other than the court imposed ones.
Who is the NFL trying to fool? Its terms are not meant to “do the right thing” by Vick. The terms are meant to politically pander to the animal rights groups and any anti Vick fans. The NFL chose to engage in a paternalistic, patronizing and pathetic show. They want to show Michael Vick who’s the boss.
By contrast, Martha Stewart served time in federal jail for lying and obstruction of justice. Like Vick, she was placed on home confinement with a monitoring ankle bracelet. Upon her release, she returned to her profession as a TV show host. Martha doesn’t play sports. She does appear before millions on TV like Vick. Unlike Vick, the TV network did not mandate additional terms and conditions for her to appear and perform.
Everyone deserves a second chance after serving time and paying their debt to society. Michael Vick has paid his debt to society. The NFL lacked the balls to do the right thing and immediately fully reinstate him.