Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Goodell showed fairness in dealing with Vick

Some wanted Michael Vick reinstated immediately.

Others wanted him banned for life.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did the right thing by avoiding either of those extreme measures yesterday and conditionally reinstating the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback who spent nearly two years in prison for murdering dogs.

In this high-speed Internet society, many have a tendency to want everything done fast. But Goodell realizes that true remorse takes time, and that just by saying you're sorry doesn't mean you're truly contrite. Not everything in life, folks, can be immediately gratified.

As part of his condition for reinstatement, Vick must show that he is remorseful for his heinous acts and that he has distanced himself from the riff-raff of his past.

And in a move, both brilliant and compassionate, the Commish has assigned one of the most respected men in sports, former Colts coach Tony Dungy, to mentor Vick. Dungy is one of the kindest and wisest people you'll ever meet, but he's also a deeply religious person who will not lie. So, if Vick reverts to his old ways, Dungy will be sure to tell Goodell the truth.

I thought Goodell also was generous in allowing Vick to sign with a team right away and be eligible to play in the final two exhibition games and continue to practice with a team until he is totally reinstated.

With all due respect to great arbiters of justice such as Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens - who foolishly said Goodell needed to spend 23 months in jail to understand Vick's situation - I thought the Commish handled this case with intelligence and fairness.

Now, it's up to Vick to show he's a changed man. And that can only be determined over time.

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