By now, everyone and their
dog brother has had something to say about the ongoing Michael Vick saga. I'd love to be able to be the guy that sits here with a straight face and talks about due process and innocent until proven guilty and all that other good legal stuff.
But that's not going to happen. Why? Well, first off, I already commented about how I feel about this whole thing, and my thoughts on the whole thing haven't changed. I still think Michael Vick is a bottom feeder, and if you're really under the impression that the guy "didn't know what was happening on his property," I've got some land in Kansas with a view of the ocean I'd be willing to sell you, too. He bought the property where all of this took place in 2001. It's currently 2007. Six years is a whole lot of "Duh, I don't know." Hell, ONE year would be a whole lot of "Duh, I don't know," never mind six.
Now, while in the chat room for the SBNation Sports Report this past week, the question came up about whether or not the NFL should suspend Michael Vick at this point as a result of all of this. During the broadcast, I felt that the league can't suspend Michael Vick yet. After all, he hasn't been convicted yet (though if he manages to get through this unscathed, I'll eat my hat). Before people compare this to Pac Man Jones or Tank Johnson, keep in mind that those guys were both habitual offenders. . .and while Jones had never been "convicted," he did plead out to a lot of stuff. Based on that standard, I still don't think the league can suspend him at this point.
But the Atlanta Falcons can sure as hell suspend him. . .and they should.
Make no mistake, folks. . .Michael Vick has taken his last snap in an Atlanta Falcon uniform. When the Falcons come into the Metrodome on 9 September, Joey Harrington will be leading the way for the red, white, and black. Hell, the next uniform we might see Michael Vick wearing is that of the Virginia Penal League. There is absolutely, positively no way the Falcons can go into training camp next week with Michael Vick within 100 miles of their facilities. Vick's arraignment is actually in Virginia on the first day of camp. . .that's a pretty good start. Hopefully for the Falcons, the media circus that's going to follow will stay confined to Virginia as well, although I'm not sure if that's going to happen.
But even if Vick doesn't stay in Virginia and makes his way down to Falcons camp. . .Atlanta isn't going to be able to rely on him at all. Not even for a few weeks. The point in these proceedings is inevitably going to come where the defense attorneys in this case are going to tap Michael Vick on the shoulder and say, "Hey, buddy, we need some more of your time. . .you busy?" As much as this is going to sadden some of the folks in Georgia. . .Joey Harrington is their quarterback now, and Bobby Petrino and the rest of the Atlanta staff and team need to start preparing as though that's the case. Whether that means that Vick takes a "leave of absence" or Arthur Blank suspends him or. . .quite possibly. . .flat out cuts him (and really, who the heck is going to SIGN him if the Falcons cut him at this point?), the Atlanta Falcons need to get Michael Vick as far away from them as they possibly can.
As far as the proceedings themselves, there's an aspect of this that I find interesting that one of the afternoon hosts on ESPN Radio mentioned as I was driving home the other day. Vick isn't alone in this indictment. . .he's got three co-defendants. Their names are Purnell Peace, Tony Taylor, and Quanis Phillips. Now, as someone whose only legal qualifications are having seen damn near every episode of Law & Order that's ever been produced, even I can tell you that the feds really don't give a damn about those other three guys. Those other three guys aren't making the headlines. The prosecutors in this case want the big prize. . .that being Michael Vick's head on a stake in their front lawn, Lord of the Flies-style. While the other three losers in this case committed the same equally heinous acts, they're largely irrelevant.
So, in an effort to satisfy that most basic of human instincts. . .that being the overwhelming desire to save one's own ass. . .it's not a matter of if one of these guys rolls on Vick and tells the feds everything they want to know, it's a matter of when and a matter of who can plead out first in exchange for their testimony. We've read about the way these guys treat animals for the past few days now. Based on that alone, does anyone (including Michael Vick) think that any of these guys are going to take a bullet for Michael Vick? Hell no.
Michael Vick is going away, folks. . .and, if I might borrow a line from Office Space, he's not going to some white-collar resort. He's going to federal "pound me in the ass" prison. Frankly, if even a little bit of what's in that 19-page indictment is true. . .and, at this point, there's no reason to think that it isn't. . .this whole thing couldn't possibly be happening to a more deserving guy.