In August of 2007 NFL star Michael Vick plead guilty to Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture. Ever since his conviction, people wondered if he would ever be able to play football again when his July 20, 2009 release date arrived.
Present day, Roger Goodell has partial reinstated Michael Vick allowing him to sign with any team in the NFL. The conditions of his reinstatement are that:
- Vick is able to fully practice with the team that he signs with.
- He will be allowed to play the final two preseason games, but can not play any prior preseason games
- Goodell will decide within the first 6 weeks of the regular season if Michael Vick will be allow to play.
For those that don’t know, Goodell is the sole arbitrator of suspensions and fines on the league level. So when a player gets suspended by the NFL (Not by an individual team) Goodell alone makes that decision. He does not have to check with any type of committee. Roger Goodell is in a tough position with Vick. Its a win-lose, win-lose type case. If Goodell fully reinstates Vick now, some people will say he is a convicted felon and should not easily return to the NFL. If Goodell suspends Vick any further, there will also be a large group of people complaining that Vick has spent two years in jail already and already paid his debt too society. The sponsors are worried that Vick’s return to the NFL will cause a boycott, leading to revenues going down. Group like P.E.T.A. claim to protest if Vick plays in the NFL again. That is why teams are cautious in signing him. From a football point of view signing Vick would benefit many teams, but many teams fear the possible public relations circus that signing Vick entails. This ruling allows Goodell to have more time to make a final ruling and delay him from making a decision that he may later regret.
This temporary partial reinstatement is best for both sides because Vick will gradually be back into the NFL. This process will give him some time to get his life back together. Also it won’t be a sudden bomb for sponsors that ‘Vick is back’. They can be assured that Vick will be on his best behavior since he is on probation and should have less problem in investing their money.
The problem I have with this whole situation is Roger Goodell has been too inconsistent with his disciplinary actions the last few years.The NFL conducts its own investigation before suspending someone. (so they claim) In 2007, Roger Goodell suspended Michael Vick and Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones before they even went to trial. The federal government just indited Vick when he was suspended; so he has been suspended for two years! If he was suspended after being release from jail this would dramatically change the current circumstances. Pacman’s case is a little different because police had to be called in on over ten separate incidents, but his trial is this upcoming February.
Later incidents like Plaxico Burress & Donte Stallworth Goodell reaction was not as immediate as the other cases. Donte Stallworth was charged with a DUI, accidentally ran over someone and killed him. He served six days in jail, and reached a plea agreement which gave a financial settlement to the family of the decease victim and sentence Stallworth to serve a total of thirty days in jail! Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely, but it was after all of the court hearings and processes.
Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a NYC night club. (Dumb Ass) His teammate Antonio Pierce may also be indited because he helped Burress that night after he shot himself and Pierce had possession of the gun after the shooting. Burress still has not been suspended by the NFL and is eligible to play. It seems as if the Goodell is waiting for a team to sign Burress or for his trail to come, to make a decision about his eligibility.
I do not agree that player should be suspended from the NFL, before their court trial. But my point is that Roger Goodell has been suspending players before allowing any legal preceding to happen and lately has been patience on his disciplinary decisions. Currently Goodell has too much power. There needs to be a check and balance system in NFL. His tyrannical and inconsistent rulings on exercising violations to the NFL’s personal conduct policy demonstrates that the NFL needs a committee that either decides the length of punishments for players or a committee that can overrule Roger Goodell’s punishments.
What happens if Roger Goodell completely over reacts and sentence someone with a harsh punishment, there is no process to appeal a personal conduct policy suspension.
Viva la Burns