Now that both the plea agreement and the NFL suspension has come down, it seems time to take a minute and look at the aftermath. Yes, Vick still has some jail time to deal with, but for us fans it is essentially over. For Vick, it is just beginning, but like every other scandal we’ll move on and only check in once and awhile when some reporter needs to fill some column inches with a story about how Vick gets special treatment.
The press is full of stories like this one from Michael Wilbon. All of the writers and reporters are tisking tisking and saying we won’t see Vick until 2009 or even 2010. Wilbon even says only half-jokingly, that he thinks the best punishment for Vick is to be put in a cage with some of his dogs. E
Just as I predictedwhen PETA got involved everyone has lost their collective minds. In an effort to distance themselves from the behavior and thus the consumer boycotts, the NFL has decided to ignore every precedent set in the past year by the new administration. The truth of the matter is, Michael Vick has done less than Pac Man Jones has been accused of, but he’s being suspended for more.
Think about it for a minute. What Michael Vick did was very wrong. I won’t defend it. But if the police report can be believed, Pac Man Jones ordered the death of a PERSON just because that person bumped him and may have taken some of his money (or allowed others to take it). With the exception of some dog lovers and PETA members out there, I think we can all agree that ordering the death of a person has to be worse than ordering the death of a dog or even 8 or 9 dogs.
Of course, some of you will say that it is the gambling that got Vick in trouble with the NFL. But did he really gamble? Never having been to a dog fight, I can’t say exactly what goes on. But it seems to me that if you put a dog into the ring against another dog and both owners put up money that isn’t gambling. From where I sit, that’s a purse. That’s prize money. And prize money is awarded in the NFL too in the form of a Super Bowl bonus. I’m sure there is some side betting that goes on, but really, is that what we’re worried about? Is that any different than Michael Jordan betting $25K on a Nassau on the golf course? Are we really saying that betting on a dog is one step away from points shaving in the NFL? The Feds will of course talk about prize money in dog and cock fighting as gambling because that allows them to charge people they otherwise may not be able to reach with current laws. But to me there is a big difference. And to the NFL there should be one, too.
Others will say that the difference between Pac Man and Vick is that Vick was convicted. The problem with that argument is that Goodell already set up the precedent that if you do jail time, your suspension is less. That’s what he did with Tank Johnson.
So if it isn’t the conviction and it isn’t the gambling and it isn’t that dog fighting is worse than murder, there is only one answer left. Roger Goodell was desperate to look strict. And by making it an indefinite suspension he buys himself some time to let this thing die down. And die down it will. And when it does, you can bet that Michael Vick will be let back in the league long before 2010. My prediction is that he will be “suspended” for his full jail term plus four games of the regular season. If it is more, Vick has PETA and paranoia to blame. Not the reality of what he actually did.