A week and a half ago, I wrote a post condemning the federal government and the NFL for apparently not indicting Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Well that report by ESPN was wrong, and yesterday Vick was indicted on two felony charges. The charges have a maximum of six years in prison, and Vick could easily have to do that time. That being said, Vick has the money to get the best lawyers, but the federal government doesn’t normally indict unless they believe the can convict. In that last post, there were 10 different people who had either fought Vick’s dog in a dogfight, or had witnessed him at one. That is a lot of evidence against the quarterback. Now, Vick does have one “Get Out of Jail Free Card”, and it is that he can provide eye witness testimony to convict high ranking people in the dog fighting industry. He can take down the leaders of this vicious sport, but only if he is willing to name names. Of course, the government also has to decide whether they want to set a precedent by convicting Vick or use Vick to attack dog fighting.
That deals with the legal side of the indictment, but the NFL will also have a response. Just like Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended before he could be convicted of a crime, the same should happen to Vick. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is set on cleaning up the league and is instituting harsher penalties. Jones does have a much worse record than Vick, but Vick’s isn’t clean either. Remember the water bottle incident? Yet, Vick still has a fairly clean past. Therefore, Goodell has the chance to set a line so strong that no player will dare to cross it. If the commishioner suspends Vick for a lengthy amount of time, maybe even a season, he will be saying that the NFL doesn’t care about your past good deeds, or that you haven’t been convicted. If you are the least bit involved in anything illegal, or even if the government just thinks you are, be ready to face strict consequences. That means that you can do nothing wrong, but find yourself off the field for an entire year very easily. NFL players will start choosing their friends more carefully, making sure that they are never around anything illegal. This is the chance Goodell has been waiting for and I expect him to step up and make a statement.
One other quick topic:
The Milwaukee Bucks are in big trouble, because their first round draft pick Yi Jianlian doesn’t look like he is willing to play in Milwaukee. Actually, it is more like Yi’s team is blocking him from playing for the Bucks. Wherever Yi wants to doesn’t seem to make a difference. The Bucks knew this was a possibility when they drafted him, but they took the risk anyway. Well, it isn’t working out. A trade seems most likely now, but Milwaukee isn’t going to get full value for Yi. The rest of the league will know that the Bucks have to move Yi and will already have an advantage going into trade discussions.