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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Goodell Decides Own Justice


A few weeks ago we talked about Michael Vick and his chances of playing in the UFL (I almost wrote UFC which some might think would be more appropriate considering his barbaric behavior in the past) and in that offering I may have called some associated with a certain animal rights organization names.

I stand by that.

Vick paid his debt to society, and has been out of the game for two years. I've seen people try to equate this to Donte Stallworth's situation this offseason and it's simply not equatable. Stallworth pleaded out and settled with the family of the man he mowed down with his luxury car, negotiating 30 days in jail and getting released after just 24 of them. If Roger Goodell thinks that putting Stallworth back into the league is a bad PR move, according to the agreement between league and union, it's within his rights to do so. Stallworth did not miss any time because of his off-field situation, if killing a man with your car because you were impaired at the time can be considered a situation.

What Vick did was terrible, but he was out of the game for two seasons already. Goodell putting this extra suspension on top of what Vick already missed is gratuitous. Would the suspension be to placate the animal rights activists? Would suspending Vick for part of the season quell the protests outside whatever team's complex that signs him? Is this just a PR move by the league? Or does this suspension do nothing but show the players in the NFL that Goodell is in charge and there's nothing they can do about it. He's flexing his commissioner muscles, but at what risk?

Since he took the reigns from Paul Tagliabue there has been talk that Goodell wields far too much power over the NFL when it comes to disciplining players. It's interesting, then, that Goodell continues to pile on suspensions as often and arbitrarily as he has. With collective bargaining looming for the league, one has to wonder if part of the new union leadership's fight will be for more specific rules as to what can and cannot lead to suspension.

At this point, if Goodell doesn't like your haircut you can probably get two games. Will that change with the next labor agreement? Will Vick go from being a pariah to a martyr? Most likely he will not, considering it's only 4-6 games and the guy was responsible for the death and torture of animals. But Vick's case does illustrate just how much control the commissioner's office has over the players.

We saw this with Pacman Jones, who was suspended before any criminal charges stuck to him. Is it a far leap to think Goodell could go from suspending players who start a gun-shooting fracas in a strip club, to suspending players for simply entering one? It's one thing to want your league to stay out of the police blotter. It's another to decide your own justice.

By Dan Levy  |  July 24, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Crime , Dan Levy , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: GoodNewz for Vick | Next: Goodell Is All Business


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Michael Vick committed evil acts. He is a disgrace to humanity, was a disgrace to the NFL and would be a disgrace to any team that signed him.

Any corporate entity would be foolish to be associated with Vick, at any distance.

Posted by: DagnyT | July 24, 2009 6:57 PM

C'mon Levy, WAKE UP!

Goddell doesn't have the jewels of the Georgia State Bird,(the Gnat), and has brought a whole new meaning to the words "Paper Tiger" He isn't going to do anything that may negate a financial injection into the National Felons League, and that includes suspending Michael "The Slaughterer" Vick!
And get over the "Oh he spent his time in a Federal Prison". I know hard working Americans who would have to have a four level increase in their social strata to live that well. You bring the candle labra pal and I'll play the violin.

You obviously don't have a dog, and certainly don't have the imagination or acumen to envision one being hung, or kicked/stomped to death because he didn't feel like imitating human beings in a ring.

My only question is "how do people like you get a job like yours? That's WAAAAAAAAAAY EASY MONEY BABY!

Posted by: burro2 | August 4, 2009 11:59 AM

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