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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Michael Vick is Getting a Raw Deal

Posted Friday, September 4, 2009, at 8:40 AM

*Note: This was written Thursday morning, before news that Michael Vick would be reinstated into the NFL on the third week of the regular season. Even though some of the material is now dated, I thought it would generate an interesting discussion about the proper way to reinstate players into the NFL. *

Yep. I said it. Michael Vick is getting the short end of the stick.

We all probably know Michael Vick. He's the oft-arrogant NFL quarterback who, in his six NFL seasons, displayed unbridled athleticism, a knack for getting into compromising situations with marijuana, and a propensity to extend his middle finger to anyone who'd look at it. In his spare time he became a convicted felon for financing an operation that trained pit-bulls to fight one another (while ruthlessly executing those who didn't), and squandered all of his NFL riches.

A real sympathetic character, right?

Today Vick is out of jail and back on the football field. Two months after he completed his jail sentence, he signed a one year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles (where he will probably be used more as a gimmick and decoy than a quarterback). While protesters have followed Vick since his conviction, the general public consensus is that the man served his time and should be allowed to resume with whatever work he can get.

That's fantastic. I have no issues with that. I hope Vick seizes this opportunity to become a better person and turns around not only his life, but this whole culture of spoon-fed athletes who exist on a level that is above the law.

My problem lies with the man who is in charge of letting Vick back into the league, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. However, my contention is not with Goodell's vagueness about the reinstatement of Vick back into the league, or the very real possibility that Goodell has an axe to grind and wants Vick to be the golden example about what happens to players when they cross the commish. These actions are not only justifiable considering Vick continually lied to Goodell and showed no remorse until his conviction, but they are also needed to legitimize the code of player conduct that Goodell has struggled to enforce since he became commissioner.

No, my issue is not with the punishments laid out by Goodell. My problem lies in jersey sales.

Now before anyone passes judgement on my sanity, I suggest a trip to NFL.com and the Philadelphia Eagles team store (if you're having issues, a Google search of "nfl+shop+eagles" will suffice). Now under the "Featured Picks" tab, what's the first jersey visible? Donavon McNab? Brian Westbrook? Nope. It's Michael Vick.

On the surface, this doesn't seem like an atrocity. Since his release from prison, Michael Vick has been a public relations darling (save for a few pineapple vodkas at an airport lounge). He has done the right things, said the right things, and understands his role has a backup for his new team. He's positioning himself to be the comeback player of the century, and it could be said that the NFL is celebrating that by putting his a replica of his jersey up for sale.

Unfortunately, my view of the situation isn't as rosy. Continue searching through the rest of the teams's jerseys in the store. In a very short time it becomes apparent that the NFL isn't just putting up one style of Vick jersey to recognize his return to the league. There are twenty different styles of jerseys available for purchase that come in a number 7 and say Vick on the back. There are pink jerseys, youth jerseys, authentic game jerseys that sell for as high as $315. On top of that, there is a Vick dog jersey (what better way to show a four-legged friend that you care?).

This is a classless move by Roger Goodell and the executives of the NFL. For two years Vick felt the cold shoulder of Goodell and the rest of the league while his life was reduced to shambles (admittedly at his own hands). While he was in prison, Vick was told that his only hope for a return to the league rested not within his own athletic ability, but whether was able to show enough remorse to satisfy the commissioner. Before Vick even signed his contract to play for the Eagles (a team some though he'd be a long shot to make), he was told by Goodell that his only guaranteed playing time for the season would be during two preseason games.

To put it simply, Michael Vick is fighting for his professional life while the NFL uses him as a cash cow to sell $300 jerseys.

No matter how this incident is spun (whether you say it's business, karma, or Vick's own fault), I feel this action is counterintuitive to what Goodell is trying to accomplish. As commissioner, it is Goodell's job to uphold the image of the league, put the best possible product out on the field, and market the league to a large audience. However, making Vick jump through so many inane hoops in hopes of landing a spot in a league that is already making money off of his likeness is wrong. Wait until Vick is assured a spot back into the league, then put his jersey on the rack and put his character back in this year's Madden video game.

Making a quick buck on a bankrupt ex-convict leaves as big a stain on the character of the NFL as anything Michael Vick did.

I would be remiss if I didn't wish you all a happy (and hopefully upset-loss-free) opening of the college football season.

I would like to use this comment thread to gauge whether or not there is any interest in talking some Husker football next week. Let me know.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Vick was not only an illegal dog fighter and a convicted animal abuser. He is someone who also tortured several dogs he deemed not worthy to fight. He hung and electrocuted them, watched them as they tried to claw their way out of being drowned and then, smashed them to death on the hard pavement.

Can he be rehabilitated? I think not. Does he deserve to make the big bucks playing football? Again, I think not. His behavior and treatment of animals is beyond horrific.

I would suggest that Goodell and the owner of the Eagles, perhaps even the players, watch several videos of a dog fight. Then, think about Vick.

People deserve second chances, especially when they honestly feel remorse about their actions. Vick's words of remorse are a big sham. Between the lines he was basically saying, "I'm sorry I got caught".

-- Posted by justadoglover on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 10:13 AM

People who have killed people have not had that harsh of treatment from the NFL. People who drive drunk and kill people get less than 2 yrs often. Is mike vick a great person, of course not.

But dogs lives do not equal 1/1000th of a human life. And thats what people have to realize. I own a dog, so I am not an animal hater, but people need to realize these are animals. Trained over time to be nice to you. Dogs cannot love, converse, or write symphonies, humans can.

Im all for mike vick doing well.

-- Posted by mccookreader on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 12:55 PM


Vick feels no remorse? You're right. Im sure he doesn't regret two yeaers in prison and losing over 100 million dollars.

-- Posted by mccookreader on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 1:03 PM

No matter what the reason Goddell is soley responsible for the nfl now being deemed the National Felony league.

By the way he killed over 600 dogs in addition to the 50 that were found alive and the dead animals do not include the two that had to be euthanized. One because vic did make him too aggressive and Rosie because her teeth were all pulled out and her nipples twisted and her body diformed from all the abuse that she was in way too much pain at vics expense to be kept alive. What about Gracie who is sentenced to a life behind bars at dogtown. The victim gets a lifesentence and is still behind bars and the vic-timzer gets million dollar contract.

His two buds are still behind jail. They were the ones who asked him to just give up the loosing dogs, to give them away,but he saidf "no they must be killed" and told them to put car jumper cables on them and hold them under water til their breath stopped, so think about that next time you have to jump your car and look at Fido in the back seat,there is more those things can be used for than jumping cars and having their unconditional love returned, at least according to Goddell and many citicens hero or this weekend when you go to the beach. My sister and I often held eachothers heads under water but only a short time and so did our friends and I bet we are not the only ones, so this weekend while you hold someones head down or yours is being held down think about that. What about when you pick oranges and apples off your trees or see an apple tree in a baby book. Think about that other things such as dogs could be hung from there too.

Think about that next time you eat an apple or drink orange juice.

As far as the only person from football that I know who "accidentally" killed a person goes. 1. in his case it was an "accident". He had no right being drunk but he did NOT intend to kill that person like Vic intended to kill those 600 dogs and Lucas,Hector,Teddles,Johny Justice and more would have been killed the same way at his hands had he not been caught, well except for lucas cause that was his champion. Vic could learn from Lucas the dog,his dog is a real example of real or any rehabilation. Back to the player who killed a person. He did appologize and not for ruining his immage like Vic did but to the victims family. He admited he hurt a person and his family and that that is what he is sorry for,that what he did is wrong because it hurt the dead person and his family. He did have remorse and shed tears. vic did not shed one tear for poor rosie when she was euthanized. Vic said "what I did is wrong cause no team should go what I put my team through" and "cause I recked my immage and my dream".He never once said I am sorry for causing the dogs pain and suffering even though it was in one of his scripts for a press conference. He never read that part. He cant even fake appologize. The protestors are not protesting as much cause they rather talk everyone out of watching the national felony league and they know protests dont work.The nfl maffia boss Goddell is going to do what he wants to do no matter what. Since its unlikely for vic to ever believe or admit what he did is wrong I guess the best we can expect from him and Goddell is to fund animal rescues esp pit bull rescues. As long as 95% of vic salary goes towards that the rest of us will fake being happy.Hey even 5% of a football players salary is way more then the rest of us see in a lifetime.

Maybe the eagles coach feels since his sons now are felons he needs to support fellons but drugs and actual killing of any living being are not by far in the same category and animal killers 95% of the time end up being human killers. Vic has no remorse for holding up his finger,doing drugs or for brutal killing. He never accepted the charge of killing dogs and his two buds who did not want to kill are still behind bars,their boss is making millions. Why should vic feel remorse for anything else like throwing a game unpurpose to make money, selling drugs to the eagles and ppl in the stands or even for killing a human unpurpose and blaming drunk driving or like he always has blaming his mom for not raising him with a consciouns. Is there on player on there not at all associated with any felons or related to one?Welcome to the National Felony League

Thank for the nickname Goddell, no decent parent will want their son to play for such a league, well except for vics parents cause according to him they raised him to be a screw up.

Vic does feel remorse for himself, not for his vic-tim

-- Posted by pitty parent on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 2:15 PM

I forgot the reason Rosies teeth were pulled out and she was deformed was so she could not defend herself against the males while being tied to a rape rack. Any parent letting their kids watch Vic will some day have to explain to them what a rape rack is.

All I have to explain to my kids is what a nanny breed is.

-- Posted by pitty parent on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 2:17 PM

How is he getting the short end of the stick, his vic-tim is still behind bars, 600 of them are dead,48 luckily get to play again but not for money like he does,the rest were playfull at one point.

If I did this would anyone hire me? his two budds who had a lesser crime are still behind bars, to the sponsors who sponsor him esp ihop, if I turned in my resume or to any of you who own your own buisness if I turned in my resume and I had dogfighting and dog killing on my resume would you hire me?

There are a ton of honest law obiding citicens out here who havent had jobs in years and some are supporting their familys but there is non out there for them,they tried from what I read and seen. There are ton of hopefull college athletes out there trying their best to be good citicens and at least getting cs in addition to practicing hard. Why dont they get a shot, may current nflers were found that way or does this years generation need a rape rack to be considered by the nfl?

-- Posted by pitty parent on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 2:22 PM

Sorry you cant love your dog and vic, thats just impossible.

My pit is my family member and most people consider their dogs their family members and well vic is not part of my family and family should always come first.

In this case you cant love two masters, you either love your dog or your vic,both is emotionally impossible cause if you love your dog you want to electrecute vic and if you love vic you want to throw your dog off the 6th floor of a buildings room like a teen did to his pit oreo since its ok, his hero vic did it. In 60 min vic said he was introduced to dogfighting at the age of 8 and thought it was "fun and exiting". If we have our 8 year olds watching him, they too will come to believe dogfighting is "fun and exiting" and nothing wrong with that. Do we really want to raise our kids like that?

To whoever does that maybe they can take their 8 year old and let them watch a rape rack in action.

Like it or not a football player is most 8 year olds hero and what they do on and off the field is what their fallowers off all ages want to copy. Every lil boy will want to be exactly like Vic and every lil girl wants to marry vic, even if they have to be tied to a rape rack first.

Sorry you cant be on tv and not considered a hero on and off the field.

-- Posted by pitty parent on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 3:17 PM

oh forgot again, I am sure he is using mcnabb or similar to already have started his new dogfighting ring.

-- Posted by pitty parent on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 3:23 PM

Pitty parent,

In my opinion Michael Vick killing hundreds of dogs is not worse than Leonard Little or Dante Stallworth killing a human being, accident or not.

Was it an accident to drink enough to be impaired and still drive? No. Stallworth got a bad deal because the guy darted in front of him but Leonard Little has no excuse. And he only got 16 days in jail and missed 2 games.

People step on hundreds of ants every week. Should we prosecute them? Where do we draw the line between dogs and everything else?

-- Posted by mccookreader on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 4:07 PM

Pitty Parent,

First, I would like to point out that dogs have an ability to forgive, so why not humans? I have personally had some run-ins with the law (traffic violations), should I be kept from getting a job. The reason dog fighting is a federal offense is not because of dogfighting itself it is because of the activities associated with it such as gambling, drugs and gangs. I am not condoning dog fighting, but I will say that when he was younger my granddad fought roosters for money. Does that make him a bad guy? No, in reality he was perhaps the best human being I've ever known. Activities such as these become a part of cultures in certain areas and it is not as though dog fighting just started 4 years ago. Again, I don't condone this, I am just saying that you can be OK with Vick and still love dogs because it is possible to have understanding and forgiveness. I know that you don't believe he is remorseful, but how do you know??? Have you met and spoke with him?

As for his friends that are still in the clink. They had a choice in the matter to say no. I know they liked the perks that came from having the 'job' but you can always quit. If I were to ask you to kill or hurt anyone or thing you can stay out of trouble by saying no. Pretty simple, if they don't like it they shouldn't do it. This is about Vick, not his buddies.

Continuing, while you are suppressing your children and keeping them from knowing and understanding what a rape rack is, I will tell mine exactly what they are and why they are wrong. How can you whip a problem if you suppress all the tools to do it? Wouldn't you rather your kids know that it is wrong or would you rather wait until they meet somebody who participates in these activities and sells it to them as 'fun' and 'exciting'.

Forgive Vick! Is it our society's ultimate goal to punish criminals until they can do nothing but more crime. If a person can't get work, what are they supposed to do? It costs money to eat and live, but if you never give him a job how can he do it....by stealing...OOPS, more jail and punishment.

Finally, back to the original intent of the message. Yes Kevin, Vick is getting it big time from the NFL. As far as the courts are concerned he is free, but his jerseys are not...and the NFL loves it.

-- Posted by jlewis on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 4:47 PM

"I would like to use this comment thread to gauge whether or not there is any interest in talking some Husker football next week. Let me know."

I say bring up the Huskers as much as you want.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Sat, Sep 5, 2009, at 8:54 AM


Pitty Parent really needs to rethink before posting...

Vick, unlike most NFL players, did his time and deserves to be back in the league. Look at all the others that got away with things far worse than what he did. I don't condone his actions but he served his time and paid his dues so leave him the hell alone. Stop all this PETA humping jibber jabber.

Go bug Jamal Lewis at a browns game, he got away with murder. Or how about Leonard "not so" Little, or Dante Stallworth, or how about all the issues with the law and Pacman Jones. I don't see you complaining about them.

As for parents not wanting their kids to play in the league, that is when you hit dilusional. How as a parent can you stop your kid from fulfilling a dream, making millions, and being a good role model because of a few bad apples. Vick made a mistake, you yourself are not perfect so don't be so quick to cast the first stone. The main difference is that any mistake he makes is more publicized.

Once again, I DO NOT CONDONE VICK'S ACTIONS!!!! I love my animals just as much as the next person but I believe the law said he was free so he should be left alone.


You can never go wrong with a husker blog. Especially in NE. thank you for this post i agree with you that the NFL is making itself look bad, not the players making the league look bad.

GO BIG RED!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by S&DC on Sat, Sep 5, 2009, at 9:58 AM

I would love to discuss Husker football as Bo Pellini is addressing the historic strengths of the program and attempting to run a re-loadable offense and defense. An offense that runs clock and placing a premium on field position.

Obviously, from the Mountain West post, most of you guys prefer the west coast, spread the field, passing attack. That system failed at Nebraska under a Super Bowl - NFL coach so I am interested if you think Nebraska is moving up or down.

It would seem from the Mountain West post, some of you think Nebraska, under Tom Osborne, is regressing as the old ways don't work today. We shall see.

I think that Nebraska needs to recruit their historic stengths which is solid, smart defense and a run centered offense. The last 7 -2 years have been a departure from that mode.

People need to remember if you have a legacy program that kids want to be a part of the legacy. There was a time, a few years ago, that Nebraska could recruit the very best option QB in the country regardless of what state he lived in. Not so today.

BTW I am a fan of Tom Osborne and agreed with his ways. That will put me at odds with a certain portion of the posters on this blog but results and longevity speak for themselves.

-- Posted by wallismarsh on Sat, Sep 5, 2009, at 11:27 AM

This is written with my dog and her best friend from next door, sleeping at my feet.

The tragedy of Michael Vick, which noone wants to consider is that professional dog fight trainers, as well as cock fight trainers, even bare knuckle fighters, as well as fast horses -- were all major figures in recreation for fine, elegant, sophisticated Southern Gentry for several hundred years.

The requirement that enslaved black men and women do what their masters demanded, did not end with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Bigoted racism did not miraculously end in the U.S. with Martin Luther King's murder.

The scars from generations of fighting dog trainers, doing the "massa's will" did not fade, and the culture did not end.

Those trainers of dogs and fighting roosters, still enjoyed financial reward and recognition from the most important white gentry of their communities, counties and states.

With modern communications ending regional isolation, leaving no refuge for nationally unacceptable conduct -- those continuing centuries old conduct are exposed.

Michael Vick and his partners went to prison. It has been said Vick lost $100-Million.

Joe Wilson was mildly reprimanded for his unacceptable conduct in Congress.

Had it been a black congressman from Detroit who shouted at DubYah Bush, "You Lie" -- does anyone believe their would have been no GOP votes for censure.

Simply demonizing one of the greatest victims of a less than glorious slaveowners' legacy does not solve the problem.

The only benefits from this.

1) The operation on Vick's Virginia estate ended.

2) The fallout from this case means every person still involved in dog fighting is more aware of the legal consequences when they are caught.

3) Courts nationwide have a glaring precedent for anyone convicted of involvement in dog fighting.

4) Even White dog fighters must recognize that if convicted now, they will be facing Hard Time in a full prison -- not goofing off at the county jail.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, Sep 16, 2009, at 4:12 PM

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Armchair Sports Report
Kevin Forch
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My name is Kevin Forch, a Stratton, Nebraska native who uses the McCook Gazette webpage to keep up on the hometown news. I am also a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who now lives in Kansas, where I work at a community college.
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