Wednesday, July 22, 2009

National Outrage Remains a Problem For Vick

Anyone can deny the truth, warming to a quarterback who absorbed national attention. At one point, we all idolized Michael Vick, as children styled No. 7 jerseys and imitated his explosive athleticism—as he eluded pressure and scrambled into the end zone.

Of course, those were the days when Vick was as clean as his stylish cleats. Now allegations and federal charges distort the way people perceive him. Viewing him as a disturbed individual, rather than an athlete.

Rather than cementing himself as one of the best rushing quarterback of all-time. He killed innocent creatures in a myriad of despicable ways; slamming them to the ground, shooting them with a pistol, electrocuting them, drowning them, even tying some to cords and hanging them from trees—leaving them to die of suffocation.

Gazing at Vick on Sundays, he was the premier and most potent quarterback of this era, if not all-time. But once the revelations surfaced his status diminished rapidly. He was belittled, insulted and heckled by PETA protesters and the general populous.

Now, the law enforcer and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will have to make a decision, based on Vick’s remorse, as to whether he should be allowed to play in the league again.

Already, many are convinced he has paid his debt to society.

If he is given another chance to showcase his talent, lingering questions will remain. He will never be the same superstar again. The question remains: How long it will take Vick to overcome rust and redevelop into an elite rusher and a dangerous threat?

Before we find out if he is still as dominant and hallowed, he must present a positive image, responding to Goodell as a sincere citizen and give a clear explanation as to why he deserves another shot.

Clearly, Vick knows if he’s not honest and apologetic, his NFL career would be over.

But there are other options open to Vick. The UFL, a new football league, is willing to give him a chance to erase those ghastly memories. The UFL wouldn’t care as much about Vick misgivings because he would be a big lure, potentially attracting a large fan base to its product.

This is last thing on Vick’s mind. Clearly, he wants to return to the NFL, but he could decide to rebuild his image in the UFL before returning to the NFL.

Regardless, Vick has shattered a dream of developing into the greatest quarterback of all-time. At one point Vick rushed for more than 1,000 yards, captivating fans in the process. Vick was the star and the symbol of the future.

Now he is in debt, making $9 per hour at the Boys and Girls Club in Virginia while paying back his debt to society.

Today, he is emancipated from the isolated cells. Many felt serving time for the crime was a significant punishment. But there are still many who believe Vick doesn’t deserve a second chance.

Demonstrations from PETA are almost inevitable. If Vick returns to the league, not only will they harass a much-matured Vick, but they’ll also attack Goodell. Earlier in the year, members of PETA sent a letter to the commissioner, pleading with him to not reinstate Vick.

Considering that training camps are ready to resume, Vick will have to join a team quickly to learn the playbook and get back into shape in time for the season. But the commissioner and stern judge of the NFL has the final word on if he can return next fall.

Either way, it will cause controversy.

And here’s why: First and foremost, there are many dog owners and people who love animals. Secondly, many are upset with Vick for espousing a bad example when he was idolised by children. And thirdly, the people of PETA will harass and criticize Goodell.

Reinstating Vick would harm Goodell’s reputation among players and people in general. As strict as he is with the rigorous conduct policy he established, Goodell should measure Vick’s status carefully before granting him a chance to return to the game.

Even if he proves he is a changed man, Goodell must not deny the truth and understand that Vick’s charges were worse than animal cruelty.

Would it appease Vick or boost attendance at venues? Probably not, as football has developed over the years. People here are football crazy. We embrace the game, respect the game, and wait anxiously each year for the Super Bowl.

This year has been devastating for the NFL, we have seen death and DUI’s and other troubles cast a dark shadow. For a start, the commissioner has punished players who violated the conduct policy. Recently, Steve McNair was found dead with two gunshot wounds in the chest, and one in the head. Police in Nashville classified his death as a murder-suicide, when a pistol was found lying next to his girlfriend.

Goodell took stricter accountability on Donte’ Stallworth than the justice system in Florida. By enforcing the law, he suspended the Cleveland Browns wideout indefinitely, refusing to dismiss punishing Stallworth for foolish behavior.

The NFL is now looking to move forward, removing disturbing conduct and portraying next season as a positive one. Of course, if the commissioner reinstates Vick, negativity will prevail in the league that has already endured much turmoil this year.

Vick will just add to a tumultuous year that has had Goodell’s head spinning, stressed and flustered in perturbed times.

As I mentioned in my column a few days ago, Goodell must be smart and say no to Vick.