The League

Dave Choate
Falcons Blogger

Dave Choate

A reporter and the head editor at The Falcoholic.

He's Been Punished Enough

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When it comes to Michael Vick, emotions are always running high.

His detractors say he should be spending the next several years in prison. Some think he shouldn't be allowed back in the NFL, period. Contrast that with his defenders, some of who thought he never should've seen the sentence he did in the first place. They want him restored to the league pronto.

It's between these two raging storms that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sits, the din of both ringing in his ears as he tries to decide whether to reinstate Vick or suspend him for more games. The rumor flying around this week is that Goodell is considering laying down a four-to-six game suspension, presumably to send the message that landing yourself in prison and neatly derailing an entire franchise for a season is not high on the league's list of good deeds. Judging by the back-and-forth nature of these reports, it sounds like Goodell is likely waffling on the number of games.

I have no doubt that it's a difficult decision for him. I just don't think it needs to be.

I've never been a Vick apologist, and I never will be. No matter how harshly fans believe he was treated by the media, the league or the legal system, he tucked himself into that cozy bed by engaging in something that was both illegal and bound to draw the ire of a dog-loving nation. There was a period where it seemed as though Vick himself believed he was the best he could be, both on the field and off, and it cost him a lot more than some playing time. The whole situation was, at best, indefensibly stupid.

Yet I will advocate that he be allowed to play. From everything I've seen, Vick is a wiser man than the one who went into the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth. He's served his prison sentence, been out of the league for a long time and now will attempt to rebuild his shattered life. What good does making him a pariah for another four to six games do anyone? It doesn't help a league that has a reputation for making overdone, knee-jerk decisions and it doesn't help a man who is knee deep in debt and scorn. To slap the additional suspension on would be to either add a sentence many moons after the offense and punishment from an actual legal body or to guard against future misbehavior, Minority Report style.

So despite the enormous pressure that exists from both sides, I say let the man play. If he stumbles off the field again, I'm sure Goodell will have that suspension hammer ready to swing again.

By Dave Choate  |  July 24, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Crime , Michael Vick , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Goodell Is All Business | Next: Vick Must Show Humility

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"I've never been a Vick apologist, and I never will be." ... "Yet I will advocate that he be allowed to play." -- Make up your mind! You can't have it both ways!

"The whole situation was, at best, indefensibly stupid." -- It was not a STUPID situation. He enjoyed every moment of the torture in the situation which, by the way, lasted several years, until he was caught. I bet after he's allowed to go back to football, finished making his millions, again, he'll move to another country and dedicate the rest of his life to torturing dogs again, just to get back at them for having given him a hard time. That's how rehabilitated I think he is.

Posted by: KT11 | July 25, 2009 12:50 AM

The man is a murderer.

Posted by: vn11701 | July 25, 2009 8:57 AM

Why don't we let the courts punish crimes. Vick has already been to jail. A suspension on top is silly and unneeded. He didn't misbehave as a football player. He misbehaved as a citizen, for which he's been punished.

Teams can decide whether they want to take on a person that has his legal history. Atlanta has done so by letting him go.

By the same token, let the press and fans not convict players who have been arrested unless they get convicted. But if they are convicted or guilty, let them be sentenced as if they were a regular person. They should not get off, get lighter sentences, or have court dates scheduled to accommodate their work schedules any more than the average defendant.

Posted by: nickledopedog | July 25, 2009 11:20 AM

This is Crazy Americans are hipocrite. We love entertainment but soon as these Hero do something wrong we want to throw them to the dumpster. You don't know if he should be reinstated? The man lost over 120 million total that he could have earned, 23 months behind bars,did community service and been away from what he loves to do for 2 years. And because of what Dog Fighting. Whoever votes against him you really need a reality check.

Posted by: drewkinnear | July 25, 2009 2:16 PM

I'm guessing you also though Leonard Little was punished enough for killing a woman and mother of two small children.

Truth is, the NFL would let Charles Manson play if he could get out of prison and had NFL talent.

Posted by: alstl | July 25, 2009 10:06 PM

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