The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Don't Pick Vick


It still boggles my mind when talking about Michael Vick. The same Michael Vick who upset Green Bay in the 2002 playoffs. The same Falcons QB who took the franchise to the NFC title game in 2004, the same year he signed a lucrative contract. Who could imagine the complete and utter fall from grace just four years after signing a 10-year, $130 million contract to play QB in the NFL?

I'm all for second chances. People make mistakes, often bad mistakes. This would classify as such. And he's serving his time. Vick will have paid his price, as issued by the legal system, by the time he applies for reinstation into the league.

With that said, if Vick were to be reinstated and you're an NFL owner, are you crazy to go near this guy? While the answer should be no, the answer is probably yes. Have you not seen the Bengals continue to employ some of there perpetual troublemakers? Did "America's Team" not trade for Pacman Jones of all people in the off-season? So, should Commissioner Goodell allow Vick back into the league, there's a pretty good chance someone will take the leap of faith on him.

But it's a mistake. Purely talking football, the guy will have not played professional football for at least four or five years. The once young flashy QB will be 30 by the start of the 2010 season. Off the field, it's a PR nightmare. What would signing Vick say about your priorities as a franchise? Think about the awkward position you're putting your fans in. They want to win and they want to cheer passionately. But for Vick? For a potentially dynamic, uniquely talented football player who ran a dogfighting ring? I wouldn't stand for it. And neither should NFL teams.

We've arrived at Thanksgiving, the most fun day to watch Detroit football. Watching games on Turkey Thursday is always a joy, especially when you're with family and friends. We should all be thankful of how blessed we are, to be free and able to watch football and eat pumpkin pie and just relax.

So Michael Vick should be thankful as well, that after all he's been convicted of, he still stands a chance, a pretty decent chance of being reinstated into the NFL. What a country!

But I can tell you this much, Vick won't be going to Cleveland. Representing the Dawg Pound might not be the best idea.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  November 26, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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i don't see what the big fuss is all about. We as fans cheer for some of the perpetual troublemakers that have committed worse crimes than dog fighting. I.E. Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams. He actually took a life. A Human life. All we have on Vick is that he was involved with dog fighting, which by the way is a dirty little secret that a lot of NFL players are involved in. Vick was jsut the one that got caught.

Football wise, I dont think it would be that big of a risk if you bring him in as your back up QB until he can get his feet back under him. Due to the "time off", any nagging injuries have all heeled. His timing is the only thing thats off. Yes he'll be 30, but technically, he'll be 28.(2 years prison = no contact)There are plenty of teams that not only need a back up QB, but a starter. Minnesota, Philly, Detroit, just to name a few.

Everyone deserves a second shot. If you can give Pacman, Leonard Little and the likes a second shot, (Pacman just got his third) Then Vick definitely deserves one.

Posted by: kevinjack1 | November 26, 2008 11:51 AM

Imagine what a powerful message it would send if the NFL did not reinstate Michael Vick. The message would be:

"You cannot commit any barbaric and illegal act you want and automatically be reinstated."

It might make a lot of high school and college athletes stop and think twice about what they are about to do. It might even make them decide not to do it. What a concept!

If the NFL does reinstate Vick, the message they would be sending is the exact opposite:

"Do anything, however barbaric and illegal, and we will reinstate you no matter what."

Young athletes at the high school and college level would quickly understand that there is practically nothing they can do that would not be forgiven.

At the very least, an NFL team thinking about signing Vick is going to have to discuss it with its current players. There may be players that would not want to be in the same uniform with Vick or even on the same field. When the home fans boo you vociferously, do you really want Vick as a teammate? When the whole team is treated as pariahs because Vick is with you, do you want him? The players on the team should have a say. The NFL Players' Association should have a say too.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | November 26, 2008 12:16 PM

PR Firm. It all comes down to what PR Firm Vick hires. Vick will make the NFL money. But as 'rb-freedom-for-all' states above what about the kids/young adults? Maybe the PR Firms could have trouble with their firm’s reputations representing Vick as well. I think Vick plays again in the NFL, but like Culpepper called weeks into a season. Honestly my gut instinct says it will be Dallas.

Posted by: Busdriver420 | November 26, 2008 12:40 PM

While Leonard Little did kill a human being, he was very remorseful about having done it. It was not a deliberate act. Drinking and driving led to the accident but he did not set out to kill that woman. Vick deliberately killed animals and showed no genuine remorse for having done so. That makes him a more dangerous person.

Posted by: choloid | November 26, 2008 12:44 PM

I think Michael Vick should try another sport, like ultimate fighting.

Good God I would pay a month's salary to watch someone kick the living crap out of him. Hopefully the ref would be a dog lover and just let him get pummeled unconcious.

Posted by: Leonard LIttle | November 26, 2008 12:55 PM

kevinjack1: "Yes he'll be 30, but technically, he'll be 28.(2 years prison = no contact)"

Clear you've never done a bid.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2008 1:07 PM

Kobe was accused of rape? Ray Lewis walked from a homicide investigation? and of course who can forget OJ? Vick is just another athelete whos character doesn't matter! Ask Jerry Jones or Al Davis!

Posted by: donmac | November 26, 2008 1:30 PM


Athletes need to know that they are not above the law or other judgment simply because of their abilities.

It would send a horrible message to young people if they reinstate Michael Vick.


Posted by: FRANK | November 26, 2008 2:02 PM

Michael Vick's stats in the Leavenworth penal league:

Attempts/Completions/TDs/Interceptions/Gang Rapes: 202/56/0/19/7

Attempts/Yards/TDs/Fumbles/Gang Rapes: 88/165/0/5/23

Poor Michael never figured out that those men chasing him weren't actually playing football. He kept yelling, "I don't have the ball, I don't have the ball" until one of them gave him the ball. Hard.

Posted by: Vick ain't coming back | November 26, 2008 2:13 PM

What mistake did Michael Vick make? I can't see how anything he did was based on faulty information, inadvertent action, or a little lapse in judgment. What he did was commit crimes - a lot of them, and of a caliber to prove that he is a violent sadist. The only sport that might do well to take him is the gladiatorial games. Michael Vick in hand-to-hand combat with a really angry big tiger? That would be appointment television.

Posted by: Beth | November 26, 2008 2:30 PM

Vick is a scumbag, he should be flipping burgers with Pacman, et al, for the rest of his useless days. But some team will grab him for the free pub all the "free Mike Vick" clowns will give them.

Fact is, Vick was a piss-poor QB his last few years in the league and won't be any better after the layoff. He's not durable enough to be a full-time wide receiver, where he might use whatever speed he has left. He might make a decent punt returner, but I doubt his ego could take that.

Nothing but a PR move at this point, for a team as morally and ethically bankrupt as Vick's bank account.

Posted by: Ummm | November 26, 2008 2:46 PM

Hunting animals is legal. Killing animals for food. Also legal. Have you seen the conditions that livestock are kept in or the manner in which they are killed? What about horse racing which is extremely destructive to the animals? Where do you think the suede and leather on your feet, around your waist, on your back, etc. comes from? Ever lived on a farm? Killed a chicken with your bare hands? I know people who've done that. For some reason, our society has placed a premium on dogs and cats to the exclusion of almost all other animals. I'll understand all of this when the death of Bessie the cow, Wilbur the pig and Charlie the horse are met with the level of disgust expressed here today.

Posted by: give me a break | November 26, 2008 3:19 PM


That said from a sports fans point of view he will be vilified by apposing fans but if he scores or makes a play that helps his team win the home fans will have no problem forgiving him. Remember we live in a society that only stopped buying pay per views to see Mike Tyson because he could no longer knock people out in the first three rounds. We still pay per view, not just watched him, but paid to watch him after a rape conviction, biting Evander's ear and numerous other run ins with the law. Only when he could not compete were fans not willing to pay to see him. Now we actually have sympathy for Iron Mike. So will people except Vick if he comes back? Sure if he performs and keeps his mouth shut and nose clean.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2008 3:25 PM


Seems as if Vick could go on dogfighting as far as you are concerned as long as he does not make a good living. You are too caught up in envying him for his financial status.
All you want to see is a rich jock going broke. You would pay to see him in UCF but not the NFL. Whats the difference? The money. Stop being a hater. If your going to be against him coming back at least let it be about his illegal conduct not whether you think he should be rich or poor.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2008 3:31 PM

If you look up "thug" in the dictionary, you'll see Vick's picture in there. Probably a family portrait with his brother. He's not a good QB. Yes, he won a few games, but he's only technically a QB. He couldn't read a defense after all those years in the league. What use is he in the NFL?

Anyway, Remember what Pacman Jones did for Dallas? Remember the lack of impact on the field? Remember that he still managed to go to clubs and get drunk, despite the fact that was the one thing he wasn't supposed to do? He is a continuing PR nightmare for Jerry Jones. That will be a sample of the Michael Vick story when he comes back.

Any team that picks Vick I'm sure will have all the success of Detroit and Cincinnati combined.

Posted by: The Truf | November 27, 2008 7:13 AM

Once a thug, always a thug. Wall St. keeps hiring them, why not the NFL.

The Romans had gladiators for entertainment. Violent sports require violent people.

Posted by: Neal | November 27, 2008 8:41 AM

Put him on Wall Street. Maybe he can get the big dogs under control. Give him an office shaped like a fire hydrant.
Wait til Judgment Day when he discovers that St. Peter is a female Pit Bull.
Seriously, what is the impact on our children when they see felons welcomed back with open arms, strictly for the almighty buck. There must be a few non-felons out there that deserve a shot.

Posted by: Dog Breath | November 28, 2008 5:50 AM

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