July 21, 2009

Michael Vick: A free man

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

Let the debates begin! Well, they already began the moment that Michael Vick was suspected of being involved in a dog fighting ring, but now, the debate is seriously going to heat up. Now that Vick has served his 23-month sentence and has been released from State confinement and the Atlanta Falcons organization, he is free to sign with any NFL franchise he wants… technically.

There’s still the question of what will Roger Goodell do when Vick comes through his office door, asking to be reinstated and allowed to play in the glorious NFL. The easy money is to bet on the commissioner suspending Vick, but for how long? I could be four or eight games – it could be a whole season. Heck, Goodell could lay a lifetime ban on Vick. But I don’t think he deserves anything too extreme.

What I think people who claim he needs a longer suspension don’t get is that he’s already missed two complete seasons. Isn’t a two year suspension good enough to warrant the crime he committed? The U.S. legal system sure thought so and they’re far more powerful than the NFL.

In my opinion, Vick should be suspended; but not for the dog fighting. He has served his time out of the league and out of society for that matter. So suspending Vick for the first eight weeks of the season seems like a fair ban.

There are a lot of opinions to this subject, and rightfully so. In this day and age, I’d be seriously surprised if there wasn’t. Anywhere you look you can find a point-counterpoint argument debating a lifetime ban or giving him a well-needed second chance. There’s talk about who would take him when he’s ready and there was even an interesting piece about how he could sit out an NFL season and wear off his rust playing in the United Football League this fall.

The one thing that is for certain is that we’re not going to be getting back the Michael Vick some of us once loved – ever. He’s been out of the game since December 31, 2006 and I’m willing to bet there weren’t many opportunities to keep his game sharp in prison. So really, we might all be debating the fate of someone who’s just going to be a fourth wide receiver, or a Wildcat QB or even just a return specialist. And if that happens, well, we might’ve just wasted a lot of proverbial ink on a non-story.

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