10 December, 2007

Who let the dogs out?

Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced for his part in a dog fighting ring this morning. As you may already know, a house owned by the former Atlanta Falcon was used for an underground dog fighting ring.

When it came to light, the new gestapo of the NFL, commissioner Roger Godell issued an indefinite suspension. As the investigation developed, several of the people involved in the ring, took plea deals. Vick and his attorneys decided that the best thing to do is to plead out himself. The sentencing came down today, 23 months.

The questions that this raises is was that fair? Speculation was that it would have been closer to 12-18 months, but the statute allowed for as much as 5 years.

Will we see him back in the NFL? Well, if he serves his full sentence, he will be in jail until midway through the 2009 season (October 2009). He then will have to serve whatever sentence the League sees fit to impose. So it is likely that he won't be eligible to play until at least the 2010 season. At that point, he will be 29, and out of the league for 3 years. Sure, he will have the opportunity to stay physically fit while in prison, but that isn't NFL game condition.

Reaction to the sentence was varied. Many were satisfied that he got a stiffer sentence than expected, while others played the 'he was a victim' card and got a stiffer penalty than someone who fit a different demographic would get.

Bottom line, I feel the sentence was fair. He got hit in the pocket book much harder than the jail time. He lost millions in endorsements that will likely never come back even if he does make it back to the league. Do I think he will be back in the league? Probably. If the QB shortage is anything like it is now, someone will give him a shot. I think that he will have paid his debt to society by then. After all, this is the land of second (and third and fourth) chances.

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