The League

Desmond Bieler
Occasional Blogger, Constant Blowhard

Desmond Bieler

An assistant news editor at The Washington Post

Suspend, but Reinstate

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should suspend Michael Vick for eight games but allow the disgraced quarterback back into the NFL after that.

It's not quite enough that Vick has served 19 months in jail, with two more in home confinement now beginning. The league needs to send a message both to NFL players and people everywhere upset over his conduct that it strongly disapproves of what he did. But following that suspension, Goodell should give Vick the chance to seek employment somewhere in the league.

As my colleague Les Carpenter has suggested, Vick may not exactly have his choice of teams if and when he is reinstated, not only because of his abuse of dogs but also because of his spotty on-field performances.

And we know Atlanta is definitely out of the running for his services. But some team would surely be interested in the hyper-athletic Vick, if only as a part-time, "Wildcat" quarterback. Or even as a kick returner, whatever -- his new team won't have to hand Vick anything close to the $130 million contract he once commanded from the Falcons, so even with the horrible PR and inevitable protests, he'll have some appeal as a low-cost, high-upside flier.

The question of how unforgivable Vick's crimes were is not to be settled here, but suffice it to say that society, as represented in its jurisprudence, does not currently view the deliberate abuse and killing of dogs as nearly as bad as doing those things to humans. So by that standard, Goodell shouldn't judge Vick as having done something that automatically precludes from ever re-joining the NFL. And banning the quarterback might have the effect of turning Vick into a sort of martyr in some people's eyes.

But a significant suspension would not only allow Goodell to send a message, it might actually be helpful to Vick. The man won't even be allowed out of his Hampton Roads house until after the preseason has begun. At that point, it seems like it would be a good idea for Vick to re-integrate himself into society just a tad before plunging into the NFL's alternate universe.

And it certainly wouldn't hurt the league to avoid having stories about Vick's return dominating coverage of the start of the season. Wouldn't want anything to obscure stories about Brett Favre's return!

By Desmond Bieler  |  May 20, 2009; 8:31 PM ET  | Category:  Michael Vick Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Building a New Image | Next: Vick Deserves Opportunity

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Why is there this sense of entitlement to an NFL career? Sometimes the second chance you get in life isn't exactly doing the same thing you did before. Cops who are convicted of felonies are not allowed to be cops again. They have to find other jobs.

It's not like this guy isn't smart. Hell, he got into Va Tech.... oh yeah, he isn't that smart; he never finished. Well there's no shame in manual labor. Maybe with some studying and hard work he can get an apprenticeship and become an electrician or plumber, which by the way pay very well. But I don't think any owner would be stupid enough to actually hire the guy. The first game he plays in the stands will be half empty. every stadium he plays in will look like Ford Field (except on Thanksgiving)

Posted by: thensell | May 21, 2009 9:37 AM

Thensell, I don't think Vick is entitled to an NFL career per se. If no owner wants to hire him, then that's that. But if an owner does want to take on all the baggage that comes with signing Vick, then I don't think Goodell should get in the way of that. For the record, if I were an owner, I wouldn't sign him. But then again, I'm a lover of dogs and not of undersized, inaccurate quarterbacks whose stock in trade, elite speed and agility, doesn't necessarily translate to NFL success and which he figures to be losing due to age, anyway.

Posted by: Desmond Bieler | May 21, 2009 9:22 PM

WHAT SUSPEND THE GUY?
For what he served his time if the players had a real Union this would not be mention.
He really should have just paid a fine but NO the Clowns in this country went on a lynching rant Media included.
That's right you can ROB people of all there money get a slap on the hand and all is well.
Just don't kill the ANIMALS! JUST SAD!
I'm going to say it if he were not black he would not have to go through all this ship.
I would not let my kid play in the NFL, the pay is not enough for what your body going to have to pay later in life. Second for me there the last RACIST ORGANIZATION.
Really they have to make rules so black coaches can be interviewed. I wonder what Dr.King would say about that because no today black leader will.
Third the league is 80% black but NO black owners that say it all.
As much as things have change there still the same.
So Mr.Bieler your in line with the NFL.
The real both of you are a JOKE!

Posted by: shamken | May 26, 2009 4:30 PM

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