I don’t know whether I was surprised or not when I saw that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated Michael Vick. Mike missed the last couple of seasons while he was a guest of the government for his role in dog fighting ring operated on his property in Virginia.
I was living in Atlanta when Vick came to play for the Falcons, and I can say that I’ve never seen anyone galvanize a town like that. CNN Center is right around the corner from the Georgia Dome, and since I worked Sundays, I either ran into traffic heading to the game as I was going to work, or I was trying to get into work as everyone was leaving. Before Vick; not too much of a problem. It was the NFL, so there was traffic, but it exploded after Mr. Vick came to town. And all the kids had to have #7 jerseys. Then of course, his smiling face was also on billboards for AirTran, and you’d hear and see him in radio & TV commercials.
I’m not an apologist for Vick or his boys. There’s no way to justify dog fighting, no matter how prevalent it was wherever you grew up — it’s cruel and mindless entertainment.. At least wrestling’s staged and the UFC and MMA fighters get to make the choice to be there. So, while I’m not joining PETA anytime soon, I completely understand the outrage. And since it’s illegal, it was right that Vick go to jail. Arthur Blank, the guy who owns the Falcons, deserves some credit for asking for his money back and dropping Vick from the team.
Okay, here’s the part I don’t quite get. Mike gets to sign a contract to any team that wants him. He gets to take part in training camp and the last two preseason games… but then the commissioner won’t even think about giving the guy full reinstatement until Game 6 of the regular season. So Vick sits out 2 seasons… and kinda gets to come back… but then has to sit out a few more games before there’s a final decision. He comes back from a 2-year suspension to another suspension…?
I guess the key here is to not do anything stupid if you’ve got the world on a string. We constantly see not just bad, but downright stupid behavior from athletes and other celebrities for no other reason than they think their popularity allows them to act any way they please. And I wonder if Vick realizes that having someone like Terrell Owens take up for him in the media might not be the best recommendation.