Vick recently ended his 18-month prison sentence for his part in the ring, and now he’s free to sign with any team he wants.
The reinstatement does have a few strings. First, he may play only in the last two pre-season games for his new team. Then, once the regular season begins, he will be able to practice but not play in games with the team until Week Six, which is mid-October – at the latest.
Here is Goodell’s statement to Vick: “I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around, and that you intend to be a positive role model for others,” Goodell said in his letter to Vick. “I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands. Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited,. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you.”
This pretty much wipes out any hope of Vick coming to play in my hometown of Orlando for the new United Football League. The Orlando team (rumored to be nicknamed the Tuskers) owns his rights. Oh well. I can live with that. (What is a Tusker, you ask? It’s a wild boar.)
So let’s hear it from you: Has he paid his debt to society? Should he be reinstated?
I say no, but for a completely different reason that almost no one else has talked about: Everyone focuses on his dogfighting, which is by itself heinous. But what is at the root of an operation like this? Gambling! And no one involved in pro sports should be gambling.
But it’s not up to me. I do hope Vick has turned a corner and is sincere about his statement to the press today, in which he says he now realizes playing in the NFL is a “privilege, not a right.”