Still here? OK, here goes …
Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the National Football League. Michael Vick is the deposed former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons who is soon coming to the end of serving a sentence for taking part in a dogfighting organization.
This dogfighting was so grisly that if the loser didn’t die during the fight, they were often electrocuted, drowned, shot or even hanged. The NFL suspended Vick indefinitely, and he was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Sometime soon he’ll be getting out a little ahead of time for good behavior, time served and all that good stuff.
There’s never been anyone who has denied that Vick is a gifted player. He’s not the most prolific pure passer around, but he made up for it with his quick feet and elusiveness. As you might imagine, Vick is getting ready to start training for a comeback.
As for Goodell, the man who has the power to reinstate Vick (or keep him out of the league for another season), he says he not only needs to hear an apology, he needs to see actions that prove he is remorseful.
Vick will soon be working with the nationwide branch of the Humane Society on an anti-dogfighting campaign. He has met with animal-rights activists. He arranged a meeting with Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, who is perhaps one of the most respected leaders of men that the league has ever seen. He is doing all the right things. He’s gone on public record saying his actions were “heinous.”
(Oh yeah, and he got busted with some marijuana just prior to going to prison.)
But is he truly serious and contrite? If he was given a healthy dose of truth serum and had to answer what was in his heart, you might very well hear that he’s only sorry he got caught.
Do I think he should be reinstated? Believe it or not, I say he should. Whether or not his sentence was harsh enough or not is not relevant to this discussion. The bottom line is, he’s served the time the judicial system said he should serve, and thus I believe he should be allowed to work again.
But am I buying what he’s selling in regard to his new attitude toward dogfighting? Not just yet. I don’t know for sure what the man is thinking, but I do have a hard time believing that he suddenly “saw the light” while languishing behind bars.
Convince me, Mike. Convince me. In fact, convince us all!