Goodell: No change anticipated to Mike Vick’s role as a Pro Bowl Legends Captain

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The NFL recently named Mike Vick as one of the 2020 Pro Bowl Legends Captains for the all-star game to be played during the weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. The move has sparked controversy, in the form of online petitions opposing the move and, in response, online petitions supporting it.

At the press conference held at the conclusion of the league’s quarterly ownership meetings, Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed whether the assignment would be rescinded.

“[O]ver the last what is it? Nine years or so? I have supported Michael, and I think his recognition of a mistake that he made,” Goodell told reporters. “He’s paid a heavy price for that. He has been accountable for it. He’s worked aggressively with the Humane Society and other institutions to deal with animal rights and to make sure people don’t make the same mistake he made. And I admire that. I know that there are people out there who will never forgive him. He knows that. But I think this is a young man that has really taken his life in a positive direction, and we support that. So I don’t anticipate any change, no.”

Some would say Vick didn’t make a “mistake,” but that he engaged in a multi-year lifestyle of dogfighting, which included training dogs to fight, actively participating in dog fights, and killing dogs deemed unfit to fight. And while he indeed spent time in prison for federal crimes related to dogfighting and gambling, Vick at no point faced criminal legal scrutiny for multiple instances of animal cruelty arising from the killing of dogs that were deemed to lack the requisite ferocity to fight other dogs to the death. Inexplicably, the Virginia prosecutor failed to obtain an indicment on those charges, despite a signed, written admission from Vick that he had indeed killed dogs that were judged to be too weak and placid to fight other dogs.

Dozens of former players had the requisite skill and fame to justify an assignment as a Pro Bowl Legends Captain. Why Vick?

Yes, he paid his debt to society — or at least part of that debt. Does that wipe the slate clean? Does it erase the abhorrent actions that were the product not of an isolated bad decision but of the creation and maintenance of a dogfighting (and dog killing) operation at a rural estate in Virginia?

Some believe it does. Others believe it doesn’t. From the league’s perspective, why invite the scrutiny that goes with acts of animal cruelty that would be regarded by many football fans as unforgivable?

Regardless of the football redemption he enjoyed (which but for the possession of a high degree of God-given abilities never would have happened), Vick did horrible, terrible things to dogs. Reasonable minds can differ on whether those horrible, terrible things done to dogs can be expunged by a prison term and adherence to the various requirements imposed upon him by the NFL in an effort to make amends for his behavior.

Reasonable minds also can differ on whether the league’s ongoing embrace of Vick is admirable or tone deaf.

31 responses to “Goodell: No change anticipated to Mike Vick’s role as a Pro Bowl Legends Captain

  1. Well. He is out a prison. How many people have been arrested at that horse track out in California. How many horses have died? Punishment for crimes never convicted of

  2. It’s a shame that so many people love to forever hate a man for things that he did, when it suits them. Yet, there are people that may have done worse things in your immediate circle, that you turn a blind eye to or make excuses for. The hypocrisy, just like the browns hype, is quite real. 🧐

  3. Served his time. There is a reason they called it the Department of Corrections. He has not only turned his life around and stopped the behavior that got him in trouble he has been a very solid voice against the very thing that he got caught up in.

    There are at least a dozen players currently in the NFL that have committed more serious crimes and not done a day in jail or even admitted that their behavior was wrong. Vick has done both.

  4. Served his time. There is a reason they called it the Department of Corrections. He has not only turned his life around and stopped the behavior that got him in trouble he has been a very solid voice against the very thing that he got caught up in.

    There are at least a dozen players currently in the NFL that have committed more serious crimes and not done a day in jail or even admitted that their behavior was wrong. Vick has done both.

  5. Unreal, has he paid enough? That is a ridiculous question. He was sentenced, he was fined, he met all of his obligations and continues to work and contribute to the institutions that help to reform the people that commit these horrible acts. He did the crime, did his time, in this country when people turn from their wrongs in repentance we give them 2nd and even 3rd chances, that what makes this country great. It’s also what makes it so frustrating because some get passes far worse crimes just because of who they are and how many possessions they have, by the very people that would hold condemnation on guys like Vic. Still, freedom’s most endearing quality is forgiveness.

    He certainly deserves his nomination and no amounts of professional outragest can change that. To those who choose not to forgive, here’s hoping situations in life don’t find you unable to live down your past!

  6. Last I heard over 300k people signed the petition. Not surprising though, since when has the NFL cared about character? Maybe if the signatures get to a million or they lose a sponsor.

  7. Id honestly like to think that the cost he paid set him on a straight path. He knows not to screw up again and I think he at least earned a 2nd chance in which he has stayed clean.

  8. Where is the outcry when ppl kill wild game like giraffes, cheetahs, lions, elephants, ect?!? He paid his debt to society & worked to enact new laws. Why so upset?

  9. In my opinion this is a misstep by the NFL. But then, there are guys playing who have treated women and children with the same kind of cruelty. The NFL’s opinion or actions have no merit as they are as hypocritical as they come. It’s all about the money.

  10. Give the guy a break. There are no bigger dog lovers than our family. But I heard one of the talks Vick gave to an auditorium full of students about animal abuse.

    He could not have been a more effective advocate for animal safety and, more importantly, the kids hung on every word he said in a manner they wouldn’t have if a rep from the ASPCA had shown up.

    He did his time, he made restitution, and he probably personally did more to save dogs from being abused in the future than anyone else out there. When he talked, impressionable kids listened.

    Enough is enough.

  11. I’m a huge animal lover, so what Vick did is sickening and horrifying. To be willing to cause pain, fear and suffering in an animal, a person has to be missing some fundamental element of humanity. I don’t care about the fact that he went to prison and served his time; loads of people go to prison and come out just the same or worse.

    What DOES mean something to me is Vick’s involvement with the Humane Society and his work against animal abuse, especially dogfighting. If he sincerely puts effort into that when he doesn’t have to, that means something. I don’t know him, but I’m willing to consider the possibility that he is a better man now.

    But I still think it was a dumb move on the NFL’s part to give him this high-profile gig. It’s going to attract the wrong kind of attention to the Pro Bowl.

  12. Thing is, he didn’t “make a mistake.” I know the protests seem to be all about the animal cruelty but nobody ever seems to address the fact that Michael Vick ran an illegal interstate gambling enterprise. He didn’t just kill dogs; he ran what was basically the SEC of dog fighting leagues and was never punished for it either by the NFL or by the legal system. Makes you wonder who’s being protected, doesn’t it?

  13. It’s not like Vick took a knee or anything. Because that would be unforgivable.

    I’m glad our morals are grounded on what is forgivable and what isn’t.

  14. The biggest part of this to me is the fact that he did his time, did the community service that was required, and still speaks on animal cruelty. I think Vick is a bum but since he keeps going when he doesn’t have to is starting to make me think that he might have learned his lesson.

  15. Vick was chosen for one reason. Forget all of his own demons and his talents. He was chosen because L. Jackson is going to break his record and the NFL is hoping Vick gets to select Jackson to his roster.

  16. This has got to be one of the dumbest controversies I’ve ever seen. Vick committed serious crimes. He paid a heavy price and by literally every account has completely changed his life over the last decade. He works with animal rights and protection groups. He speaks to young people. He is the very definition of rehabilitation. He also was re-admitted into the NFL a DECADE ago and has been in zero trouble since. How is this still a thing?

  17. @eaglesmancave says:
    December 12, 2019 at 11:27 am
    This has got to be one of the dumbest controversies I’ve ever seen. Vick committed serious crimes. He paid a heavy price and by literally every account has completely changed his life over the last decade. He works with animal rights and protection groups. He speaks to young people. He is the very definition of rehabilitation. He also was re-admitted into the NFL a DECADE ago and has been in zero trouble since. How is this still a thing?
    ===============================
    I agree 100%.

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