Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vick-timized in Atlanta

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has barred Mike Vick from attending the Falcons’ training camp which begins Thursday. The NFL will investigate whether Vick has violated any league policies and issue a report as to their findings before he is allowed to train with the team. Vick has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of sponsoring a dog fighting operation on property he owned in Virginia. Vick is scheduled to be arraigned in Richmond on July 26Th, the same day training camp begins. If convicted the Atlanta QB could face up to six years in prison and some hefty fines.

There have been grisly reports coming out of Surrey county Virginia where Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels was located. Tales of gruesome animal abuse including the beating, electrocution and hanging of pit bulls that had been involved in organized dog fights, have brought statements and protests from PETA and the ASPCA, and demands for Vick’s immediate suspension from the NFL.

Vick faces some extremely serious charges, and although the burden of proof is on the federal prosecutors, his lawyers will still have to convince a jury that he had no knowledge of the dog fighting activities taking place on his property. Good luck with that.

Vick is just the latest in a string of players that are being accused of felonies these days, and while he must be presumed innocent, the accusations are already having a negative effect on the team, the town, and the Vick brand name. He is their number one quarterback and play maker and an enforced absence will no doubt damage the team’s chances for success this year. The Vick jersey was the number one seller in the NFL, and NIKE has delayed the release of the new Vick shoe. A whole lot of fallout already and he hasn’t even been arraigned yet.

The Atlanta Falcons are a company inside the corporation of the National Football League, it’s a huge business and it’s all about making money. Incidents such as this have the potential to cost the team and the NFL a lot of cash. Given the gravity of the charges against Vick, the Falcons or the NFL may be inclined to suspend him for PR sake.

If the accusations are true, Vick deserves to lose his reputation, his career, and his freedom. How a sane person could engage in these activities is beyond comprehension. If he is found innocent, he certainly deserves to regain his position on the team and the NFL. However he must realize that his actions have far-reaching effects. He is a sports super star paid millions of dollars a year to produce winning results on the field. He has team mates, fans, and business partners depending on him to act responsibly. It’s all a business, and when you don’t hold up your end of the deal you get let go. Even if you’re Mike Vick.

No comments: