Posted by Bossip Staff
The NFL’s Commissioner, Roger Goodell, isn’t letting Michael Vick out of the doghouse that easy. There’s some tough sledding ahead if he wants to earn a living in the league again:
Michael Vick, in the final stages of serving a 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting ring, will apparently have to pass another standard before he is cleared to return to the NFL. He must show remorse.
That’s the opinion of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Vick indefinitely in August 2007 after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback pled guilty and who will eventually rule if Vick applies for reinstatement after his July 20 release date.
“I’m not going to make a judgment until I know all the facts on Michael Vick,” Goodell said Wednesday, as the league wrapped up its annual meetings. “I think it’s clear he’s paid a price, but to a large extent he’s going to have to demonstrate to the larger community — not just to the NFL community and to me — that he has remorse for what he did and that he recognizes mistakes that he made.
“Everyone makes mistakes, but he has to show that genuine remorse in his ability to be a positive influence to correct the things that he did wrong publicly.”
Goodell did not specify how Vick must show remorse, and said he is unsure of how he will weigh various factors. On Wednesday, Vick was in transit from a Leavenworth, Kan., federal prison to an unknown facility closer to Newport News, Va., where he will testify in an April 2 bankruptcy hearing.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor filed complaints in federal district and bankruptcy courts alleging that Vick illegally withdrew $1.3 million from a pension plan to help pay for restitution ordered as part of his conviction — allegations that add complexity to his future.
Goodell acknowledged that Vick, suspended roughly four months before beginning his prison term, has been partially disciplined. But he gave no hint on how much of a bearing that might have on potential reinstatement.
Asked if Vick will be reinstated for the 2009 season, Goodell said: “I haven’t sat down and looked at his case. I haven’t met with him. I haven’t understood where he is. I’m not going to try to guess.”
The Falcons own Vick’s contract rights, but have ruled out a return and are attempting to trade their erstwhile face of the franchise.
Any takers? Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said that while he is committed to Kyle Orton as his quarterback, he believes Vick deserves a chance to compete for a job.
“I would look at Michael like I look at every other prospect that’s available: He goes back into the pool,” Smith said. “That’s what everyone in society does. Martha Stewart went to prison. She paid her time. Now she’s back in society.
“Mike made a mistake, and he’s paying the price for that mistake. Once you’ve paid your debt to society, you have to say, ‘OK, let’s go on from there.’ “
Michael Vick has shown all the calculated remorse he can possibly show. What more do people want from the man?
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