The League

Sally Jenkins
Sports Columnist

Sally Jenkins

A sports columnist for The Washington Post, Sally Jenkins is the author of five books, including the bestseller It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life with cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Vick Must Show Humility


What other company besides the NFL would give a violent convicted felon a high-paying job? The league is the only organization on the face of the earth where Michael Vick could find work doing anything other than pushing a shovel or a broom, much less for several million dollars.

It looks like Vick will play in the NFL this season, but only because the capricious spinning dial of nature awarded him quick feet, and because Commissioner Roger Goodell will give him a reprieve from indefinite suspension. What should hopefully be plain to Vick, as he awaits Goodell's final decision, is that he is helpless and utterly reliant on people more powerful than he. He must rely on them for his food, and his shelter. He must trust that they will do him good, rather than harm. In that sense, he's no better than a dog. So. How does it feel, Mike?

According to reports, after a three-hour meeting with Vick on Thursday, Goodell has tentatively decided to allow him to attend the opening of training camp next week. However, the league has cautioned that Goodell is still evaluating; "we are engaging in a careful and thoughtful process, and no decisions have been made," spokesman Greg Aiello said. If Vick does play again, his status will be highly conditional, and this will be his one last chance. While Goodell evaluates, here are some things he should consider.

Continue reading here...

By Sally Jenkins  |  July 24, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Crime , Michael Vick , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: He's Been Punished Enough | Next: Goodell, Sic Him!


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"A violent convicted felon", are you kidding! The man funded the fighting of dogs; we have people who fund the fighting of human beings and they're not punished. The man did his animal rights lovers really bug me. It's o.k. to love your animal, but throwing blood and paint on people because they chose to wear a mink is a serious sign of sickness. I'm reminded of that beautiful song about Angels that's been ruined in my eyes by Animal Rights lover who've overused it to portray ugly dogs to solicit funds for their obsession. Look, vets put dogs down everyday because they can't find an owner for them...talking about cruel, but you don't see the Animal Rights lovers protesting them. Get a life people, they're just dogs! It's over, let the man play before he goes out and sexually assults someone and the Sports Media has to cover it up!

Posted by: Beingsensible | July 24, 2009 5:00 PM


Your the best sportswriter around - evidenced by your Pulitzers. But I must agree that "violent convicted felon" is a bit much.

As to your statement claiming the NFL is the only place he'd get a job, please look at boardrooms across America. If Satan could make a corporation a buck, he'd be hired today. It's capitalism, as long as he can help make money, he's cool - morals are for schmucks and socialists.

Posted by: bflorhodes | July 24, 2009 5:28 PM

Vick committed cruel acts against animals, and, rightfully, is a convicted felon as a result. But let's keep his crime in perspective. He was not charged with physical violence to a human. He's not a Mike Tyson, who was found guilty of rape. He did not kill someone while DWI, as did a NFL star recently and is getting a pretty easy ride by the media. Vick has been incarcerated for his actions and forfeited the earnings and acclaim he would have garnered but for those actions and been disgraced. He's out of the picture for shoe deals. Enough is enough. I see no reason to deprive him further from earning his livelihood as an athlete. If a NFL team is prepared to sign Vick up for his on-field talents and take the PR heat as a result, let it be.

Posted by: CloggedCleats | July 25, 2009 9:18 AM

What is your definition of a "A violent convicted felon"

Posted by: ccdod | July 25, 2009 11:49 AM

Lots of convicted felons get jobs paying million$, right there in New York, place called Wall Street

Posted by: yodude1 | July 25, 2009 12:10 PM

I get the feeling that dogfighting is to gang life what tax evasion is to the Mafia. It's what the state could get a conviction on. So even though he hasn't been convicted of harming another human being, that doesn't mean that he wasn't involved, at minimum, with people who did. Dogfighting is part of that underworld.

Also, people who demonstrate cruelty to animals generally are just as capable of cruelty to human beings. A lot of murderers spend their childhoods pulling wings off of flies and setting cats on fire.

I do agree that he hasn't been convicted of harming another person, and I also agree that what I just wrote is speculative at best-- for all we know, Vick confined his depravity to defenseless animals. But for those of you claiming that he's not a 'violent convicted felon,' I respectfully disagree. That's EXACTLY what he is.

Posted by: hac51 | July 25, 2009 12:26 PM

Go to the slaughter house and see animal cruelty and violence of the worst kind. Yes, Vick was stupid to have gotten involved in such sports. But let's not forget that the animal rights were trying to make an example of him, but the reality is this happens in broad day light everywhere. Dog or cock fight happens everywhere, and law enforcement has chosen to look the other way.

I also agree with the previous comments; there are worst criminals out there in Wall Street and halls of State/Federal capitol that are responsible for the misery of many Americans. Compared to these parasites, Vick is at the very bottom of the list!

Posted by: mantle | July 25, 2009 3:15 PM

Shouldn't Vick be held to the highest standard and not how many convicted criminals are worse than he is? Dog fighting and cock fighting do rank low for law enforcement but it doesn't make it any less of a crime.

Posted by: aow0526 | July 25, 2009 7:03 PM

Everything everyone is saying about Vick is true. Including you "Ms Know All", I guess you have never sin, that's what makes you a saint and an expert in justice.
Please check your closet, how many skeletons? It is true Vick sponsored an abhorrent practices, from his cruel, inhumane,and sick actions to those animals, but wasn't Vick sentensed to jail for his criminal actions? Didn't Vicks pay for his actions under the criminal justice
system in one of the worst prisons in the country? Why would any normal person
call for double jeopardy in Vicks case, punished by the Nation's justice system, and now by NFL. I'm of the opinion that Vick should be given another chance to earn a living, for his sake and his Children's sake. How can we justify an athlete that has murder in his resume walk away with a wrist slap in the NFL, and one with dog fighting is crucified more than necessary. Let's make no mistake, Pit Bulls are not Angelic dogs. Why then ruin a human career over a pit bull or several pit bulls even when the offender has served years in jail for his crime. It is amazing that NFL owners are afraid of animal rights society while abandoning the human rights society. Pit Bulls should be
banned in this country anyway.

Posted by: abxinc | July 25, 2009 9:31 PM

I really enjoyed reading this piece, it is by far the best of the three post (I read them in reverse order). Jenkins presents both sides of the situation (moral judgement for those who do wrong and grace/forgiveness for those who are able to recongize their mistakes and become better verisons of themselves).

I honesty more comes out of this whole Vick situation when it is all said and done because I honesty think that this situation is bigger than Michael Vick, the NFL and even the dogs that were inhumanely treated. At the end of the day I hope it serves as a mirror in which society can reflect and think about how we treat our animals and environment but also our fellow human beings (whether they be upstanding citizens or convicted felons).

Posted by: JON2121114 | July 25, 2009 10:58 PM

Yeah Ms. Jenkins...a "violent convicted felon"..oh wait..the US Justice Dept doesn't classify Vick as a violent offender, so where are you getting that adjective from? Your hollow head? So now, do you advocate that no convicted felon get paid to commentate or work in politics (G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, Scooter Libby), work in any facet of journalism (Rick Sanchez), work in Hollywood (too many to name)....or is it just the NFL - which by the way, has a less percentage of players convicted of crimes than the general population.

Posted by: mlrice710 | July 26, 2009 9:28 AM

I am no fan of Vick, but he has paid his debt to society and to deprive a person of an opportunity to make a living in their chosen profession is a harsh thing.

If the NFL will not let Vick play football what is it saying to the rest of society that there is no such thing as a person becoming reformed?

That no person who has been convicted of a crime can ever work again?

That ex cons should not be allowed to earn a living?

That we as a society are ok with a permanent criminal class, because if ex cons can not work they will go back into crime

Vick has a right to earn a living, but that does not mean that an employer has to hire him, and I would support an arrangement where he can not work with animals at least unsupervised, but that is not what he wants to do.

Is the employer the NFL or the team?

The NFL was created by the teams not the other way as such, the teams pay the players from their earnings,

The employer is the team, if a team wants to hire him let them,

Posted by: WashingtonTimesisBetter | July 26, 2009 5:21 PM

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