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What is the NFL Waiting for? Dump Vick NOW!

For the life of me I don't understand what is taking the NFL so long.

Falcons wanted to suspend Vick

Falcons Owner Arthur Blank acknowledged Tuesday that he had planned to suspend quarterback Michael Vick four games - the maximum allowed by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement - in the wake of Vick's indictment last week in a case involving illegal interstate dog-fighting.

It was only after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell intervened on Monday and ordered Vick to stay away from training camp until the league completed its review of the case that Blank agreed to back off his decision to suspend Vick.

Blank also said that if he had any advice for Vick, it would be to stay away from football for a year.

That last line has me perplexed... The NFL will fine a player if his socks are too high up his leg because it "harms their brand" but they will let the Michael Vick thing drag on for a year?

I know ~why~ the NFL is biding their time, they have probably a hundred million dollars reasons to do so. But I don't understand ~what~ they think they are accomplishing.

The whole presumption of innocence is fine in a court room but in the court of public opinion it does not work too well. The NFL is coddling the (suspected) leader of a dog fighting ring because he makes them money. That's pathetic.

The NFL should have said yesterday that they take allegations of animal cruelty very seriously and that Vick is suspended until the his name is cleared. (which BTW IMO ain't gonna happen)

No ambiguity, no spin, no B.S.

I mock PETA here on a regular basis but this is different. Vick himself is "Bad Newz" and the NFL should get away from him as fast as possible. Period.


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Comments (85)

I think the league is just ... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate Author Profile Page:

I think the league is just worried about the possible (probable) lawsuit from Vick if he is suspended and then not convicted.

I am not in any way condoning dogfighting (and it certainly looks like Vick is guilty), but I do have a problem with someone taking a penalty for a crime before they get their day in court. After that day, if he did half of what he is accused of, I hope the only football team he ever plays for is in the federal Penal league.

I'm glad the Falcons owner ... (Below threshold)

I'm glad the Falcons owner has integrity. The NFL has none.

I'm with Brian The Adequate... (Below threshold)

I'm with Brian The Adequate on this one. Remember Latrell Sprewell? I know it was the NBA and not the NFL, but he even admitted his guilt and he still didn't have to serve the entire one year suspension handed down by the NBA.

In addition, the uniform guidelines are spelled out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so there is no question those rules can be enforced in those situations. There is a provision concerning code of conduct in the CBA, but the legal process is far from over.

Brian the Adequate:<... (Below threshold)

Brian the Adequate:

... but I do have a problem with someone taking a penalty for a crime before they get their day in court.
I understand and appreciate your concern, but Vick plays for a private, professional entity that is free to decide on whether or not an agent of their company, so to speak, is representing them in the best possible way. It's called a "morals clause", and it gives them an "out" if a player conducts himself in a way that is detrimental to team morale, the team's reputation or the team's profitability.

He has a right not to be convicted without due process, but he does not have a right to a job irrespective of his conduct on and off the field.

I should add that maybe the... (Below threshold)

I should add that maybe the NFL should come out with a statement saying that if he's found guilty, he'll be suspended. Vick has no marketing value now, so the only thing the NFL can do now is avoid a potential lawsuit.

How long til the PETA moonb... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

How long til the PETA moonbats start whining about the 'pigskin'?

Vick and brother should both be convicted of stupidity, but then, Im not sure if there is a jail large enough to hold all of those that are deserving.

I also think if Vick goes to jail, he'll soon understand the flexibility requirements of an NFL center.

A few things cross my mind.... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

A few things cross my mind. One, if a teacher is even alleged to have touched a student inabppropriately they are suspended pending investigation and/or given administrative duties. All of this before due process. If a female co-worker alleges sexual misconduct in the workplace, the alleged perpatrator will be suspended with pay while an investigation is condected. Again, due process by passed. Vicks is a public figure. He is indicted. He should be suspended until the investigation or trial is over. I think the sponsors will also have a say over all the Falcons games if Vicks is playing.
Personally, I am a huge, HUGE dog lover. I think anyone that would take these born gentle animals and turn them into killers for profit is on the same level with a child molester. Someone taking advantage of innocence. He.Is.Scum. ww

WildWillie:I agree... (Below threshold)

WildWillie:

I agree with all your statements in your comment, and I have 2 dogs myself. However, I'm wondering if teachers have a provision in their CBA that allows the suspension to take place without contest?

I think Michael Vick is a m... (Below threshold)
Marsha:

I think Michael Vick is a monster and I hope he never sets foot on a NFL football field again.

Peta supporter or not, anyone who can justify what Michael Vick has done to these animals is beyond comprehension.

Innocent until proven guilty? I don't need another OJ jury to tell me what to think. I have read the indictment and I am aware that the unemployed cousin that Michael Vick has blamed this dogfighting operation on was without the funds to sponsor such a costly venture. Michael Vick is guilty and I hope he rots in jail.

He will be the poster child for animal abuse for years to come.

One other thing I think is ... (Below threshold)

One other thing I think is important to note. There may be more details that come out that will add to what Vick will be punished for.

For everyone talking about ... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

For everyone talking about potential lawsuits and such, I suggest you look at the recent suspension of Pac-man Jones for the 2007 season. Jones has been charged with 2 felonies and received a year-long suspension because of his violation of the "morals" clause in the CBA.

The NFL is showing blatant hypocrisy by not doing the same with one of their marquee stars. Why the NFL wants to protect this loser Vick is beyond me, it's not like they are going to lose any money over it. It seems the opposite would be true, more people would start tuning out if they don't apply the same policy to all players, just look at the NBA.

Isn't football a continuati... (Below threshold)
kim:

Isn't football a continuation of dog-fighting by other means?
=====================================

And men not sporting? Hall... (Below threshold)
kim:

And men not sporting? Hall of Rose Humbuggery.

Bah.
===================

If the sanctioning bodies s... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

If the sanctioning bodies started banning players just because they were criminals, well.. it would certainly rotate in a large number of people up from the farm leagues.

I think the NFL is waiting to see how the public reacts to determine if Vick's actions are enough of a liability to damage his 'brand'.

So, I guess mark me as disappointed but not surprised.

Here is why I see the NFL h... (Below threshold)
Stormin:

Here is why I see the NFL holding off from suspending Vick permanently. If he should be cleared of these charges and it is found out that the only thing that Vick was guilty of was gross stupidity in not keeping better track of what goes on there on his property, and that this was someone pointing a finger at Vick to ruin him (not totally outside the realm of possibility), Vick would own the NFL. Not just a team but the whole damn league by the time he got done suing them. At this point, there is only an indictment, and only an investigator's word that Vick is involved.

If Vick is found guilty, make him the puppy chow for those dogs.

J.R.:That is a gre... (Below threshold)

J.R.:

That is a great point, but I'm betting the NFL would say that there were many incidents that led up to the decision to suspend him, including the current incidents. Chris Henry of the Bengals was suspended for 8 games this year also, and there were several incidents and arrests that led up to that suspension.

Isn't football a continu... (Below threshold)

Isn't football a continuation of dog-fighting by other means?

Since when did they start fighting to the death in football? Now, if you want to talk about Ultimate Fighting...

Isn't football a continu... (Below threshold)

Isn't football a continuation of dog-fighting by other means?

Football is undoubtedly violent, Kim, and there may be some validity in drawing a comparison between indifference to violence on the field breeding indifference to violence of the field. However, NFL players choose to be on the field, knowing full well its risk and reward. No one is indentured and forced to fight to the death. These dogs never had a "choice", and their desire to please their master has been bastardized beyond all comprehension.

Football is ritualized mili... (Below threshold)
BChoinski:

Football is ritualized military combat (witness all the terms used -- long bombs, blitzes, ball in the other team's "territory").

I think we'd be better off with conflicts decided by Football than wars, but this is no perfect world. :}

I think we'd be better o... (Below threshold)

I think we'd be better off with conflicts decided by Football than wars, but this is no perfect world. :}

Amen, brother.

langtrey should watch a pac... (Below threshold)
kim:

langtrey should watch a pack of dogs fight a bear. Somewhere down South.
=======================================

The biggest baddest hongrie... (Below threshold)
kim:

The biggest baddest hongriest bear in the whole wood. The noise could wake a slumbering squirrel.
===========================

What's up Kim? Someone tak... (Below threshold)

What's up Kim? Someone take away your Talbot's credit card? ;-)

Bear Baiting is just as rep... (Below threshold)
BChoinski:

Bear Baiting is just as reprehensible, kim, but if I were down there hunting and were jumped by a bear you can damn well bet I'd be all for my dogs tearing the bear a new one.

Meow!====... (Below threshold)
kim:

Meow!
====

I'm not talking about Bear ... (Below threshold)
kim:

I'm not talking about Bear Baiting. Don't you guys read? One starts with an 'F' and the other just died. Guess who.
===================================

OK, the points are that dog... (Below threshold)
kim:

OK, the points are that dogs fighting to the death in a struggle with a bear has nothing to do with devotion to master, and that squirrels are meaner than the smartest bears.
=======================

I think people are forgett... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

I think people are forgetting that the labor agreement between the NFL and the Player's Union explicitly states that the NFL can't do anything unless there is a CONVICTION. It doesn't matter what the charges are, there must be a court conviction of guilty for the NFL to enact punishment. The Player's Union worded the agreement just for a situation like this.

If the NFL fines or punishes Vick now, and he is found not guilty in court, then the NFL/Owners will get it's collective ass sued off with a liable suit from Vick.

Kinda squirrely that provis... (Below threshold)
kim:

Kinda squirrely that provision, huh, JM? Something nutty about 'innocent until proven guilty'? That one is hard to crack.
==================

Remember that "innocent unt... (Below threshold)

Remember that "innocent until proven guilty" is a statement of the burden of proof at a criminal trial.

There is nothing that "requires" me or anyone else to pretend that we think he is innocent in the meantime - so long as we are not placed on the actual jury.

It has nothing to do with anything outside of the criminal proceeding. I do not know the language of the NFL contract, but if participating in the conduct alleged would be a breach of the contract, then Vick could be treated as breaching the contract before the criminal charges are resolved. If Vick sued the NFL / Falcons for breach of contract, then all the NFL / Falcons would have to show is that he breached the contract under the lower civil burden of proof - usually just a preponderance of the evidence.

"The whole presumption of i... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"The whole presumption of innocence is fine in a court room but in the court of public opinion it does not work too well."

What's the difference between this and Murtha calling our troops murderers? Or the Duke Lacross players having their season canceled? If the last year has taught us anything it should be that we need to have a VERY healthy scepticism of sensational charges.

>I think people are forgett... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I think people are forgetting that the labor agreement between the NFL and the Player's Union explicitly states that the NFL can't do anything unless there is a CONVICTION.

Can you give us a link? Because until you do, I call bull shit.

From the NFLPA Collective B... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

From the NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement:

http://www.nflpa.org/RulesAndRegs/ConductPolicy.aspx#3

Sorry, I meant to highlight... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Sorry, I meant to highlight this:

Any Covered Person arrested for or charged with conduct prohibited by this policy will be required to undergo an immediate, mandatory clinical evaluation and, if directed, appropriate counseling. Such evaluation and counseling must be performed under the direction and supervision of the NFL Vice President of Player and Employee Development. Failure to cooperate with evaluation and counseling (including being arrested for or charged with additional criminal activity during the evaluation and counseling period) shall itself be conduct detrimental to the National Football League and shall be punishable by fine or suspension at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Now, that's regarding to co... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Now, that's regarding to counseling after said offense; I haven't heard about Vick undergoing "counseling" of any type for animal abuse, and I'm not too sure if this section could even apply to Vick, but it certainly seems like NFL Commish Roger Goddell should be able to take SOME kind of action under the NFLPA CBA.

I'd investigate the NFL's ability to suspend Vick using the CBA, but my Day Job is beckoning. :-(

The teacher analogy is not ... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate Author Profile Page:

The teacher analogy is not the best one for Vick's situation, an acused teacher is suspended from the classroom with pay to ensure other kids are protected. The last thing I would want to see would be a guilty Vick drawing a paycheck for nothing. Guilty or innocent as a lamb, Vick will be safer off the field. Especially if any of his lineman are animal lovers who might "miss" a key block or two if he were on the field.

Also I have absolutely no problem with sponsers dropping him at the accusation.

The comparison to Pacman Jones on the other hand is interesting, because if my memory serves he has not been convicted of anything despite like 9 or 10 indictments.

I just don't like the rush to judgement, because I know first hand what a false accusation and it potential to wreak havoc with ones life feel like.

@ Peter F:You're q... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

@ Peter F:

You're quoting from the Conduct Policy, which is not part of the CBA, available at http://www.nflpa.org/pdfs/Agents/CBA_Amended_2006.pdf.

Article VIII of the CBA limits club-imposed discipline for off-field conduct to a maximum of 4 weeks suspension without pay, which explains the news item about the Falcons planning to suspend Vick for 4 weeks before Goodell barred him from training camp.

Section 15 of the stock player contract (Appendix C to the CBA) appears to give Goodell the leeway he needs to suspend Vick, and the CBA prevents modifications to this stock contract unless approved by both the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association:

15. INTEGRITY OF GAME. Player recognizes the detriment to the League and professional football that would result from impairment of public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of NFL games or the integrity and good character of NFL players. Player therefore acknowledges his awareness that if he accepts a bribe or agrees to throw or fix an NFL game; fails to promptly report a bribe offer or an attempt to throw or fix an NFL game; bets on an NFL game; knowingly associates with gamblers or gambling activity; uses or provides other players with stimulants or other drugs for the purpose of attempting to enhance on-field performance; or is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football, the Commissioner will have the right, but only after giving Player the opportunity for a hearing at which he may be represented by counsel of his choice, to fine Player in a reasonable amount; to suspend Player for a period certain or indefinitely; and/or to terminate this contract.

The big question here is the use of the word guilty in realtion to "any other form of conduct". Does that require conviction? Is it ambiguous? Guess that's why we're all jailhouse lawyers.

I figure any action by the ... (Below threshold)
hermie:

I figure any action by the NFL towards Vick is proportional to the Falcon's chances of winning the SuperBowl, the 'skill level' of the player, and the depth chart.

If Vick was an offensive tackle or 2nd string cornerback, he'd already be kiced to the curb. But a 1st string cornerback will get more breaks and of course, more public support by the usual suspects who'd blame Vick's 'persecution' on 'racism'.


Now that I read further int... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

Now that I read further into the Conduct Policy, I see that Goodell's hands are tied. The Policy requires criminal conviction prior to the imposition of any discipline, assuming the player was not currently in evaluation and counseling period discussed in the section titled Persons Charged with Criminal Activity. Pacman Jones and Chris Henry had already been charged with crimes, requiring the counseling and evaluation period, then were charged with additional crimes during this period. It's the additional charges that triggered Goodell's ability to suspend Jones & Henry. Since Vick had not previously been charged with a crime, this section of the Conduct Policy doesn't apply.

In short, if either the NFL or the Falcons try to suspend Vick for the season prior to any conviction, they're fighting an uphill battle based upon the agreements in force.

>Now that I read further in... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Now that I read further into the Conduct Policy, I see that Goodell's hands are tied. The Policy requires criminal conviction prior to the imposition of any discipline,

Can you save me some time and give me the verbiage? I'm very busy but in the 12 seconds I spent looking, I can't find it.

Captain Ned:Mine w... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Captain Ned:

Mine was a VERY cursory scan of the CBA at best. Nice job of finding that in CBA!

And you ask a very good question; probably one the NFL is trying to figure out.

Meanwhile Ron Mexico is losing millions. Good...

(Just a nit, but I'm fairly certain the Conduct Policy IS a part of the CBA; it is a detailed explanation of Section 15. Then again, I'm no lawyer and could very well be wrong...!)

RE: Captain Ned"In... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

RE: Captain Ned

"In short, if either the NFL or the Falcons try to suspend Vick for the season prior to any conviction, they're fighting an uphill battle based upon the agreements in force."


Thank you!!!

All those who called BS on my first post can kiss my collective ass!

Short of a conviction, the ... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Short of a conviction, the key right now is to see what the player's union does, if anything.

In essence, if the majority of the union agrees to punish Vick, then something will happen before it goes to trial.

>All those who called BS on... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>All those who called BS on my first post can kiss my collective ass!

Perhaps you have a reading comprehension problem...

or is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football,

They do not need a legal conviction you nitwit.

@ Paul<a href="htt... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

@ Paul

http://www.nflpa.org/RulesAndRegs/ConductPolicy.aspx

The fifth section, titled Persons Convicted of Criminal Activity, gives Goodell the power to suspend or ban players after conviction on or admission to criminal charges. The fourth section, titled Persons Charged With Criminal Activity, only allows for discipline if a second charge occurs during the counseling period brought on by the first charge.

Ned, that's fine and all bu... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Ned, that's fine and all but that is irrelevant, that's the conduct policy, the CBA says the commiss has the power. (after a hearing) It's a typical "Conduct unbecoming" clause.

YOU found it.

Let me clip it for clarity:... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Let me clip it for clarity:

15. INTEGRITY OF GAME. Player recognizes the detriment to the League and professional football that would result from impairment of public confidence in ... the integrity and good character of NFL players.

Player therefore acknowledges his awareness that if he ... is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football, the Commissioner will have the right, ... to fine Player in a reasonable amount; to suspend Player for a period certain or indefinitely; and/or to terminate this contract.

case closed

Final two words for Falcons... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Final two words for Falcons fans: Joey Harrington.

Guys, you're missing this, ... (Below threshold)
Skip:

Guys, you're missing this, he doesn't need to be found guilty of 'other conduct'. He's in direct contravention of one of the terms:

"knowingly associates with gamblers or gambling activity"

They don't have to find him guilty of breaking any law here - if he was present at any of the dogfights he broke this one.

@ Paul:You keep sk... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

@ Paul:

You keep skipping over the word "guilty" in the stock player contract. Does it mean found guilty by a criminal court? Does it mean found responsible by a civil court? I'm sure the NFL's & NFLPA's lawyers are beavering away as we speak over just what is meant by "guilty". The fact that Vick hasn't been summarily suspended or banished implies to me that the NFL doesn't think it has the power to do so.

I'm no Vick apologist and wish he'd do the smart thing and take a voluntary leave of absence until the criminal case reaches final adjudication. All I've trying to say here is that those who believe, like you, that the NFL has the clear-cut ability to instantly suspend Vick without pay and aren't doing so for some suspect reason don't appear to have the documents on their side.

If the NFL had MLB's antitrust exemption, we wouldn't be discussing this as Vick would have been thrown out of football using MLB-style "best interests of football" Commissioner powers. Goodell doesn't have that power, at least not as I read the docs.

>You keep skipping over the... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>You keep skipping over the word "guilty" in the stock player contract.

NO I DON'T!!

NO WHERE DOES IT SAY A LEGAL CONVICTION IS REQUIRED.

CAN YOU READ???

Not to mention Skip's point.


OK, I've found more stuff t... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

OK, I've found more stuff that further explains things. The Conduct Policy we've all been analyzing from the NFLPA website is the old Paul Tagliabue policy. The revised Goodell policy is here:

http://blogmedia.thenewstribune.com/media/Personal%20Conduct%20Policy.pdf

The top paragraph of page 3:

"Unless the case involves significant bodily harm, a first offense will generally not result in discipline until there has been a disposition of the proceeding (or until the investigation is complete in the case of employee or workplace misconduct)."

As much as I'd like it to be so, I don't think the bodily harm referred to here applies to Vick's dogs. Reading this, I think Goodell knows he's backed himself into a corner with this first offence language.

Ned, (taking a deep breath)... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Ned, (taking a deep breath) I'm not guilty of ignoring the word guilty, you are guilty of pretending it means he is found guilty in a court of law....

Read it in context and it is an absurd assumption...

or is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football,

Unless the legal system starts arresting people for doing things "detrimental to the League or professional football" then demanding a legal conviction is stupid.

PLEASE read this thing you clipped.

OK Ned, nice to see you gav... (Below threshold)
Paul:

OK Ned, nice to see you gave up the "guilty" canard.

ESPECIALLY since your new link specifically destroys your argument. -- 3 times over that I've found so far.

Now gimme a minute to nuke this new argument...

Reading is so fundamental..... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Reading is so fundamental....

Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are GUILTY of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, EVEN WHERE THE CONDUCT DOES NOT RESULT IN CONVICTION OF A CRIME. Discipline may be imposed for any of the following circumstances:

(stuff snipped)

* Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL Clubs, or NFL Players.

You would have had to read all the way to page 2 before you found it. I see why it eluded you.

The interesting this is the... (Below threshold)
Skip:

The interesting this is the process this sets forth. Sometime, presumably well before the start of the season, Vick's going to get summoned to a hearing 'with counsel of his choice'. And he's most likely going to say in answer to every question 'on the advice of my attorney I'm not going to answer that'.

Because anything he says can certainly be subpoenad by the Feds - he's got no right against self-incrimination here.

That will give Goodell all the grounds he needs to suspend Vick indefinitely, because the evidence presented will have been completely unrefuted.

Another EXCELLENT point by ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Another EXCELLENT point by skip. Ned, take notes.

Paul:Do I want Vic... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

Paul:

Do I want Vick suspended or, preferably, banished? Yes. That said, the NFL won't do it until their lawyers (and the NFLPA's lawyers) agree that the underlying agreements give them the power to do so and that the forms have been obeyed. Losing the White v. NFL suit (through negotiated settlement in 1993) made the NFL very wary of any future legal action that could smack of antitrust implications.

I don't think it's Vick's "star power" that's holding them back, because he has no star power left. It's lawyers being lawyers and not doing anything until it's all been thought through.

A summary suspension would have contravened the section of the Conduct Policy that requires the NFL to conduct an investigation; this is currently taking place. I have no doubt that Goodell will eventually suspend or banish Vick; I think he's waiting until the Feds share whatever info & evidence they have.

And no, I haven't given up on "guilty". I'm not asserting it means criminal guilt; hell, I'm not asserting it means anything. It's an ambiguity that the lawyers will work to smooth over in the way lawyers do. I also believe that if Goodell was intended to be given summary, ex-parte suspension/banishment power through the new conduct policy, such power would have been clearly spelled out. It isn't, and the policy still calls for due process in its requirement for an investigation.

>A summary suspension would... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>A summary suspension would have contravened the section of the Conduct Policy that requires the NFL to conduct an investigation; this is currently taking place.

Can you point me to that "requirement?" No because it does not exist. (well see below)

>I also believe that if Goodell was intended to be given summary, ex-parte suspension/banishment power through the new conduct policy, such power would have been clearly spelled out.

It is, I quoted it.

>It isn't, and the policy still calls for due process in its requirement for an investigation.

Can you give me that? No, then quit pretending it exists.

=============

First you tried to claim he had to be "guilty" but since that was nuked now you've changed the argument to "there needs to be an investigation" even though there is no such requirement.

(well, to be clear, no such requirement before the league takes action.)

And Ned, forgetting your fe... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And Ned, forgetting your feeble attempts to get him off the hook, just use a bit of common sense...

Do you REALLY believe the NFL signed agreements that said they have no control over who plays ball??

So... if someone found 12 bodies in a player's basement on Friday the league couldn't pull him from Sunday's game??? It strains credulity.

Besides.. it has been determined the TEAM could suspend him for 4 weeks. Do you REALLY believe the league has LESS power than the team???

Get real.

Under the heading "Discipli... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

Under the heading "Discipline":

"Upon learning of conduct that may give rise to discipline, the League will direct an investigation, which may include interviews and information gathering from medical, law enforcement, and other relevant professionals. The League will promptly advise the NFLPA of any investigation of a player, as well as the results of the investigation. As appropriate, the employee will also have the opportunity, represented by counsel and/or a union official, to address the conduct at issue. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Commissioner will have full authority to impose discipline as warranted."

Essentially, you wanted Goodell to suspend or banish Vick the instant the indictment was handed down. Unless you can somehow construe the indictment as the League's investigation, Goodell can't impose discipline until the League's investigation is complete.

We both want the same thing. You want it yesterday, damn the legalities. I prefer to see the forms obeyed.

As for "getting Vick off th... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned Author Profile Page:

As for "getting Vick off the hook", you've seriously misread my posts if you believe that to be my intent. What I want to see the NFL do is follow its own written policies, contracts, and agreements so that when Goodell's justice is handed down Vick has no legal leg to stand on. Does that take longer than "off with his head!!!!" Yes, but it'll produce a better result in the long run.

I used the MLB analogy above for a reason. MLB commissioners have the summary, ex-parte, and unreviewable power to suspend or banish players from the game solely because of the anti-trust exemption Congress so graciously gave them. Bud Selig could not be successfully sued by Barry Bonds for restraint of trade or other anti-trust allegations should he decide not to let him pass Hank Aaron. Goodell is constrained by anti-trust law here (a point conceded by the NFL in the settlement of Reggie White's 1992 class action suit against the then-extant free agency rules) and thus must follow the process laid down by the NFL's own policies. If he does not, he opens himself and the league to an anti-trust suit.

>Essentially, you wanted Go... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Essentially, you wanted Goodell to suspend or banish Vick the instant the indictment was handed down.

He's already done that you dimwit. Where have you been?

My point is that he shoudln't pussyfoot around and make it open ended... He should just come out and say that Vick is gone unless and until his name is cleared.

How hard can you make a very simple idea?

He's still getting paid his... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

He's still getting paid his preseason pay, so he's not officially suspended or banished.

As for the end game, Goodell will suspend him when and if the NFL's investigation concludes that Vick has violated the conduct policy. The sooner the better, but it's clear that Goodell's not doing anything final until the investigation has run its course. And I guarantee that that's what his lawyers are telling him to do.

As a (gasp) lawyer who has ... (Below threshold)

As a (gasp) lawyer who has worked with professional athletes' contracts, and who has read the excerpts referenced above, I tend to lean toward Ned's approach.

The problem here is that Vick is well lawyered-up and any misstep by the league or the Falcons will be exploited to the nth degree.

This is not well-plowed legal ground and there are no easy answers, despite the certainty with which some commenters offer opinions.

Having said that, it appears to me that the league is in a better position under the CBA than the Falcon team is.

I would advise the league to concentrate on the gambling portions of the indictment. Using the precedent of the Karras, Hornung cases of the sixties combined with the clause:

Player therefore acknowledges his awareness that if he... knowingly associates with gamblers or gambling activity...or is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football, the Commissioner will have the right, but only after giving Player the opportunity for a hearing at which he may be represented by counsel of his choice, to fine Player in a reasonable amount; to suspend Player for a period certain or indefinitely; and/or to terminate this contract.

The Commissioner should, assuming the required hearing verifies that there is evidence to support the gambling allegations in the indictment, exercise his authority to suspend Vick for the year.

That was the penalty meted out to Alex Karras and Paul Hornung. Hornung was, BTW, subsequently inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

>He's still getting paid hi... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>He's still getting paid his preseason pay, so he's not officially suspended or banished.

You are such an abject moron.

Teams and the league suspend players all the time without "investigations" what planet do you live on?

So you've gone from him having to be "found guilty" to a mythical requirement for an investigation to saying a suspension isn't a suspension because you don't like that word.

You're just babbling.

Grow up, you little buddy is toast, he's not getting back on the field... The league just needs to make it official. Fast.

Now grow up and get over it.

>As a (gasp) lawyer who has... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>As a (gasp) lawyer who has worked with professional athletes' contracts, and who has read the excerpts referenced above, I tend to lean toward Ned's approach.

Which one, he has taken 3?

Paul:The one that ... (Below threshold)

Paul:

The one that I recommended. After conducting the prescribed investigation, suspend him for one year, assuming there is evidence to support the allegations of gambling set out in the indictment.

vnjagvet:Does the ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

vnjagvet:

Does the 2000 murder case of Ravens Ray Lewis take any precedence here? Like Vick, Lewis' alleged involvement in a murder occurred during the off-season, but the trial didn't happen until the following spring; the NFL did not take action or enact any sanctions against Lewis back then.

Any way the cases are possibly similar, or not?

That is a good question PF.... (Below threshold)

That is a good question PF. Note that being in a fight (resulting in death or not) or being in a night club is not among the conduct specified as being detrimental to the game. It would have to fit into the clause:

...or is guilty of any other form of conduct reasonably judged by the League Commissioner to be detrimental to the League or professional football...

That is why I suggest that the commissioner concentrate on the gambling provision for the suspension.

If I were Vick's attorney, though, I definitely would raise the point you raised.

I think the commissioner would have the better argument because of the Hornung/Karras precedent.

What is the NFL waiting... (Below threshold)
marc:

What is the NFL waiting for?

The NFL Commissioner is waiting to clear his "markers" accrued while betting on cock fights.

vnjagvet:In readin... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

vnjagvet:

In reading your posts, I really have to agree that the gambling angle is Goodell's seemingly best stance on which to suspend Vick for the year. My argument (citing Lewis' case) would be pretty flimsy and convoluted, I imagine--so many variables and differences between the two cases, especially trying to figure out whether or not Tagliabue "reasonably judged" Lewis' case and comparing it to Vick's case. Yuck...

I wonder what it's like to watch $110-$200 million go swirling down the toilet...all to get your rocks off for a couple of grand on dog fighting.

I say this with the some wo... (Below threshold)

I say this with the some worry that you're going to bite my head off, but holy cow, Paul, too much coffee today? Captain Ned said that he doesn't want Vick on the field either for the same reasons, so Vick isn't his "little buddy".

Maybe he was confusing about the way he described his position, and maybe he's getting a few facts wrong, but you berating him probably didn't help him much.

vnjagvet and Peter F.:... (Below threshold)

vnjagvet and Peter F.:

Great points. I had a gut feeling that the NFL's wait had to do with the CBA and I spent a lot of time looking around before I finally saw Peter's comment. I think the gambling angle is a good bet as well.

Tom, I tire quickly of peop... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Tom, I tire quickly of people who make poor arguments then move the goal posts (no pun indented) when they are proven wrong.

If you read the thread he continued to grasp at straws and change his position. Again and again and again.

I don't mind reasonable debate... However, I get really worn out when people babble just to babble. No matter his claims that he thinks Vick is despicable, it is obvious he is taking irrational positions to support him. Therefore I doubt his claims.

It is obvious to even a casual observer of the NFL that players get suspended all the time who are not convicted in a court of law. Likewise it is also obvious that players get suspended all the time without an "investigation." -- INDEED this player has already been suspended sans the aforementioned investigation.

Then when Ned says that he isn't suspended because he is still being paid, yes, I admit it, I'll call him a moron.

The fact is as obvious as the day is long, the commish can (and did) pull him. The point I'm making is that the commish shouldn't pussyfoot around, he should have the balls say that Michael Vick will not return until his name is cleared. Period.

No amount of Ned's stupidity can change the obvious facts.

I'm sorry if my calling a moron a moron offended you. Personally, I'm more offended by the obvious insult to reason and logic committed by the moron. YMMV

>The one that I recommended... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>The one that I recommended. After conducting the prescribed investigation, suspend him for one year, assuming there is evidence to support the allegations of gambling set out in the indictment.

(bold mine, not yours)
Full Disclosure, I'm a Saints fan BUT forget that, here is my candid analysis....

Michael Vick will never take another snap in the NFL.

Forget the gambling. The public will not stand for someone who abused animals being a starter in the NFL.

A thief? Sure, no problem. A druggie? Hey, give him the ball...

Someone who abuses animals???? Not gonna happen.

I might be wrong, star power may win out but when the pictures and video really hit the media, IMO Vick is doomed.

And I'd say that no matter the player or the team. He's toast. -- The league is only damaging itself by not admitting that and going on.

Tom, I tire quickly of p... (Below threshold)

Tom, I tire quickly of people who make poor arguments then move the goal posts (no pun indented) when they are proven wrong.

Fair enough. It seemed to me you lost patience quicker than normal, but he didn't make much sense to me either. I've lost patience with people also, so I understand. ;-)

Michael Vick will never take another snap in the NFL.

I have to say I disagree with you on that. I don't think he'll take another snap this year for sure, but the public tolerated Ray Lewis and Latrell Sprewell, so I think he'll eventually be back. Unfortunately, as we all know, if you have talent like Vick has, the public tends to have a short memory. (Unless you're name is Marcus Vick).

"I don't mind reasonable de... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

"I don't mind reasonable debate... However, I get really worn out when people babble just to babble. No matter his claims that he thinks Vick is despicable, it is obvious he is taking irrational positions to support him. Therefore I doubt his claims."

WTF are you smoking? I've never uttered one word in support of Vick, your assertions notwithstanding. It appears that you consider anyone who disagrees with a single letter of your prescription to be a Vick supporter, assertions be damned.

My position all along has been that the NFL needs to adhere to its written, established policies and procedures if it wants any terminal discipline of Vick to stick without further litigation. My exposition of those policies may well have been flawed, but it took me some time to figure out that we weren't even analyzing the proper Conduct Policy. Sorry if I don't jump to your hangman's tune, but THE FORMS MUST BE OBEYED to make things come out right in the end.

As for Vick's current "suspension", I challenge you to find word one from an official Roger Goodell/NFL statement using the words suspension, suspend, or suspended in relation to Vick's non-attendance at the Falcons' training camp. Even USA Today's article makes this clear:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/falcons/2007-07-23-vick-goodell-order_N.htm

You've taken the Robespierre approach to this whole matter combined with a little Louis XIV. Your zeal to see Vick's head on a pike yesterday has blinded you to the NFL lawyers' need to ensure that any action they take won't be overturned by some New York court.

Paul:The day the i... (Below threshold)

Paul:

The day the indictment came down, linked to it and said:

The charges include gambling over dogfights and abusing dogs which have traveled in interstate commerce. At least some are felonies.

To put this in perspective with something we have followed over the past few years, this is a much stronger indictment than the one brought against Lewis Libby.

A conspiracy case is difficult to defend because any one of the conspirators can bring down the whole group. Any it is not necessary for a defendant to have participated in any of the "purposive acts" in furtherance of the conspiracy.

I will be very surprised if Vick plays another down in the NFL.

The new commissioner has suspended "Pacman" Jones for the season, and he has not even been charged with a crime. It is inconceivable to me that he will allow Vick to play while he is under indictment.

A year suspension will give the justice system ample time to work. If the feds get a conviction against Vick on the gambling or dog cruelty, he is toast.

That is in my opinion the result that should be reached. I predict now as I did last week that it will be the end result.

Crap, hit submit too soon. ... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

Crap, hit submit too soon. The USA Today article states that Goodell told Vick to stay away from training camp and hinted at the possibility of a suspension should the ongoing investigation find violations of the Conduct Policy.

Vick is not currently suspended.

>My position all along has ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>My position all along has been that the NFL needs to adhere to its written, established policies and procedures if it wants any terminal discipline of Vick to stick without further litigation. My exposition of those policies may well have been flawed, but it took me some time to figure out that we weren't even analyzing the proper Conduct Policy.

In other words, you had no freaking clue what you where talking about but you kept arguing in ignorance anyway.

Thanks for making my point.

>I will be very surprised i... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I will be very surprised if Vick plays another down in the NFL.

>The new commissioner has suspended "Pacman" Jones for the season, and he has not even been charged with a crime. It is inconceivable to me that he will allow Vick to play while he is under indictment.

>A year suspension will give the justice system ample time to work. If the feds get a conviction against Vick on the gambling or dog cruelty, he is toast.


ABSOLUTELY! They will not suspend him for life absent some sort of conviction and I've never even hinted they would or that that is what I wanted...

No, Vick's fall will (in legal terms) take a while. (as you suggest) He'll cool his heels while the legal case goes forward then after he is convicted the league will dump him forever.

As I said in my post:

The NFL should have said yesterday that they take allegations of animal cruelty very seriously and that Vick is suspended until his name is cleared. (which BTW IMO ain't gonna happen)

(we're basically saying the same thing in different words) My point was from a PR point of view the league is just fiddling while Rome burns.

Dragging it out won't make him "unguilty" and IMO only damages the brand. Sure, I guess some will give them props for not throwing him overboard based on an "allegation," I just believe that the risk they run for coddling a (supposed) leader of a dog fighting ring is exponentially greater.

Tom (you) may be right, maybe Vick's talent will overshadow the facts.... I have more faith in mankind than that.

Of course the only Bart Simpson quote you'll ever hear me use is "You'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator." So perhaps maybe Tom is right.

I sure hope not.

OK OK OK Ned... you play al... (Below threshold)
Paul:

OK OK OK Ned... you play all the little word games you want..... The league is not currently using the word "suspended." Yahoo for you.

They just told him not to come back and told the club to prepare for the season as though he ain't going to play this season. -- But he's not "suspended."

They might not use the term but I sure as hell can. He's suspended. So there.

========

BTW to address my point of this post, from your link:

"Security would also have been an issue; about 50 demonstrators gathered at the Falcons' headquarters Monday to demand Vick's suspension and they threatened to show up every day."

and more will come.

Can you imagine the spectacle of 200 protesters outside an NFL game protesting on game day? Vick better not only be found not guilty but he better look downright innocent of all charges.

And that ain't going to happen.

My point was from a PR p... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

My point was from a PR point of view the league is just fiddling while Rome burns.

Good point. And not at all out of line with the NFL's recent actions against Adam "Pacman" Jones, Tank Johnson, the seeming entire Bengals team and numerous other NFL criminal chuckleheads.

Commish Goodell has been in office less than a year and already he's off to a bad start. He has a chance to redeem himself (and the NFL as a brand) if goes hard on Vick and makes an example out of him--not that he couldn't have done that with the aforementioned hoopleheads above, but the impact and the message sent to rest of the league's players.

I'll paraphrase Jerry Glanville here and say that if Goodell goes hard on Vick, it'll be a way of saying to other players that, if you get into trouble, you know what "NFL" will stand for? Not For Long when it comes to you getting a big paycheck and playing in the league.

As a HUGE NFL fan, I'm sick of this crap and it's really beginning to turn me off as a fan.

Update to my last post:... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Update to my last post:

Seems the Vick Scandal is having an affect on other current cases. Goodell has denied Pacman Jones request to attend training camp (good!), and he's upheld the year-long suspension of Bengals' LB Odell Thurman.

My guess is that these are going to help pave the way for Vick's suspension--especially now that his trial date is set for Nov. 26, right smack dab in the middle of the season.

Hint: Don't draft Vick in your fantasy league.




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