NEW YORK (AP) -- Michael Vick was ordered by commissioner Roger Goodell on
Monday to stay away from the Atlanta Falcons' training camp until the league
reviews the dogfighting charges against him.
"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.
Yes, it is true that Michael Vick is still technically innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to the full measure of legal defense available to anyone. (And let's face it... with his money, he'll avail himself of celebrity justice as much as he is able.) This does not, however, mean that the court of public opinion can't push for and cheer action outside of the legal system. The case against Vick looks extremely strong, with Federal witnesses providing information about Vick personally executing animals and paying out huge cash settlements for gambling losses relating to the brutal activities on his farm.
Dog fighting (along with cock fighting and other forms of animal fighting for "sport") is one of the most barbaric, under reported and under prosecuted atrocities in our society. People who engage in animal fighting display a casual evil which should leave decent people both shocked and appalled. To allow such a person to continue to prosper in the public forum in the face of such evidence would be an insult to all of America.
So Kudos to Commissioner Goodell for his somewhat late, but still appropriate action. Should this somehow turn out to be a tragic error on the part of law enforcement and Vick be proven innocent, I will gladly apologize and welcome him back into the NFL. However, if even a small portion of the accusations are proven true in court, I hope the bastard rots in jail for a very long time.