Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick explosion

The National Football League's version of an atomic bomb detonated Thursday evening when the Philadelphia Eagles signed disgraced QB Michael Vick. For several weeks, it's been a matter of when, not if, that Vick would return to the NFL.

Vick has been a pariah in the NFL since he was convicted of conspiracy in a dogfighting ring and killing and even torturing pit bulls. He served 23 months in federal prison before he was released this summer.

The callousness and cruelty of the crime struck a nerve in America. It was a quick slide to the pits for the former Falcons QB, who at one time was the most dangerous running QB in the NFL.

But in the eyes of the law, he has paid his debt and can attempt to rebuild his life. That right now is football, which he has been out of for two years.

Reaction across the country was swift. Listening to national talk radio this morning, a good majority were against Vick. One good point that was brought up at least twice by callers was this was a sustained and premeditated crime. That made it worse. In other words, this wasn't a one-night DUI where a drunk player was behind the wheel and injured, or even killed, a human being. This was a continued act of crime.

Vick should have the right to pursue his career. He served his time, and one legal observer said his 23 months is generally longer than most who are convicted of the same crime. But Vick was less than truthful initially with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the league's early investigation. The NFL has yet to act on its behalf.

Vick should serve at least a four-game suspension handed down from the NFL. How much he plays and how effective an aging QB who's been out of the game since 2006 remains to be seen. He could be used by the Eagles in the trendy "Wildcat" formation, which is a run-oriented zone read play several teams made effective last year.

That Vick should be allowed to play doesn't mean I can't root for him to fail. One, he plays for the Eagles. Two, he's Michael Vick.

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