NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Michael Vick met last week to discuss Vick’s return to the NFL.
On Monday, Goodell announced a conditional reinstatement of Vick, which allows Vick to go to training camp and play the final two preseason games if he signs with a team. The reinstatement, however, includes a suspension through Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) of the NFL schedule. At that time, Goodell will evaluate Vick’s progress as a model citizen and decide then if Vick should be fully reinstated to play in the league.
This is insane.
Vick did the crime and he did his time. He should have been fully reinstated Monday. Too many still want to punish Vick. In America, we always claim our belief in God, but following His word and putting that moral authority into action is another thing. In other words, the spirit of forgiveness and redemption – the basis for a civil society – do not always come into play.
Goodell has taken on the prudence obsession and turned himself into “The One.” He has made himself a Supreme Court Justice.
Goodell, who has been at the helm for three years, believes the image of the NFL was being degraded and demeaned by a number of players getting into negative situations. So he reached down and made the NFL’s personal-conduct policy an abiding law.
Goodell has gone on record as saying he does not “believe everybody deserves a second chance. It’s not a right to play in the NFL. It’s a privilege.”
Since Goodell has appointed himself as Chief Justice, he has suspended 15 players for conduct violations. Mind you there are thousands of players in the NFL and 95 percent have uplifted themselves and their families.
Many have come from impoverished, negative and very humble beginnings. Most are true success stories. But somehow the small percentage of players that find themselves embroiled in negative situations get all the media attention.
Now I agree that there has to be a standard for the privilege of playing in the NFL, but we also have a tried and true justice system that hands down judgment for transgressions. I would think that body, which is the third branch of our government, should rule and their decisions honored.
While spending 23 months in federal prison, as well as a humbling home confinement, Goodell handed Vick an indefinite suspension for his role in an illegal dog fighting ring.
Many point to the fact Vick denied involvement in illegal dog fighting at a meeting with Goodell four months before he confessed to involvement in Bad Newz Kennels, a property in Smithfield, Va., he owned.
Sure he lied, but many of us that have been addicted to something know that it takes a catastrophic occurrence to acknowledge that he or she needs help.
I know from life experience and empirical data that an adulterer, dope addict, thief, liar or alcoholic does not confess until most hit rock bottom or are faced with life-altering physical constraints.
So I do not believe that just because he did not come out at first and admit that he had a problem means he is a person beyond rehabilitation.
I have some friends and family members that have never gotten it right, but I have even more that have changed their lives and become productive
members of society.
I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt. I choose to let an individual prove me wrong, and in that case the law will do its justice. But to reconvict one over and over and over again impedes, hampers and obstructs any chance that person has at rehabilitation and transformation.
Goodell asked a great question: “What has he learned from this experience? Does he recognize the horrific mistake he made? Is he prepared to show genuine remorse and, most importantly, be a positive influence?”
It is a rhetorical interrogative. It cannot be answered definitively. One can only look at the probability and focus on the positive for another human life. If he or she fails it would be tragic, but after doing the time, one should be given the chance to get on with the pursuit of life.
Vick is at that crossroad, trying to rebuild a broken life. Does he still have the skill set that led to him becoming one of the highest paid players in the NFL?
No one knows until he’s given a chance to show it. The NFL can bury Vick into a life of emptiness or it can save a formerly wayward, misbehaved and ill-disciplined human being. After all, redemption is the true essence of life.
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