Despite the fact that Michael Vick has left about the biggest black eye he possibly could on the NFL the past month plus, commish Roger Goodell says that he is not overly concerned about the long-term effects of Vick’s dog fighting charges and what it might mean to the fans. “I don’t think it’s overshadowing the season,” Goodell said Thursday. “I think our fans are excited about football, but I understand the interest in the story.”
The legue has overcome issues in the past, and the new commissioner has had his share to deal with since taking over. From players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and his arrests, to the problems with other players like the Bengals Chris Henry and Odell Thurman, Goodell seems to take each case in stride, and has done in excellent job in this writers opinion in trying to police those types of players that are simply not going to be follow the rules of the law.
Back to Vick, he and his attorneys are still talking about a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors, hoping to simply try and avoid what could be serious jail time and more importantly, risk his entire future with the National Football League. “We’re going to do what we always said we were going to do, which is rely on the facts,” Goodell said. “If there is some type of a plea agreement, then we will obviously take the time to understand what that plea is and we’ll see how it fits into our personal conduct [policy].”
There were rumors over the weekend that the league was ready to hand down a year suspension on Vick, but it appears at the moment that it’s going to be a wait and see for Goodell and the leauge as to how they handle the punishment on Vick. For now, the Falcons QB is barred from being at his teams camp, and unless there is a serious change in the case quickly, you can bet that Vick will not be on the field come opening day September 9th.
The approach that Goodell is taking with players like Vick, Jones and Thurman seems to be a simple, yet effective one. You break the law, and one way or another – you are going to pay. “I’ve said to Pacman and any player, ‘You have to earn your way back into the National Football League and you have to do it through your conduct,'” Goodell said. “It’s not about what you tell the commissioner, or what you tell anyone. It’s your conduct and your activities. I was disappointed with some of the activities that Pacman got involved this spring, after we had met and had a lot of discussions. Michael knows exactly how I feel.”