This is an interesting story, my most loyal comment droppin reader Mike Crack, texted me a couple of weeks ago about this story and this story got a ton of play, but apparently Michael Vick told GQ Magazine, for the upcoming September issue that he wanted to play for the Bengals and Bills and that he felt they were better options. But Vick met with Roger Goodell, the commissioner, and other NFL officials and they all felt that the Eagles were the best choice. Michael Vick says “and I commended and thanked them because they put me in the right situation” He went on to tell GQ that he was always confident in his athletic ability to play QB, but it was in Philadelphia where he became a better football player.
Now if you’re a Buffalo Bill fan (sorry Mike) or a Cincinnati Bengal fan, you’re going to be outraged by that. “How can the commissioner steer Michael Vick to Philadelphia?” But you have to remember, the NFL was thinking of it as a rehab decision, not a talent decision. They had a former borderline league MVP guy, who had just been in the can and who was trying to rebuild his image. So the NFL officials felt like “well, Philadelphia is a solid organization, top to bottom, it’s not Mickey Mouse, and they have a history of excellence and if we’re talking about rehab and not talent – we’d rather you go to Philadelphia.” Now everybody is going to be outraged in Buffalo, but in the NFL’s eyes, it wasn’t a talent issue, it was a rehab situation. Remember, they didn’t have to let Michael Vick in! There is no by-law that says “you go to prison, I’ve got to let you back in” The NFL allowed Michael Vick – not a right, but a privilege back into the league.
If the NFL feels like this is a situation that could affect the brand of the NFL and our imaging, if we have a say, we are going to recommend a more stable organization…I don’t have a problem with that! I know it seems like a talent issue, but to the NFL it was a rehab issue. He was basically a kid that could have gone anywhere and they said “we’re going to send you, compassionately, to the place where you will fit better” But you might say “well that’s not fair for a commissioner to do!” I’ve got news for you; commissioners in all leagues make decisions all the time that favor regions.
I mean, right now Bud Selig is favoring the Northeast by not instituting a salary cap in baseball – that’s a huge disadvantage for Tampa and Toronto, that’s a huge advantage for Philadelphia, Boston and New York. If you look around sports, commissioners, league officials all the time put athletes in better situations. I mean, if you look at the way sports are built, worst team gets the first draft pick “that’s unfair that Lebron goes to Cleveland!” I mean, you don’t have to do worst team gets the first pick because you’re in danger than of teams bailing in the last games of the year to get the first pick, there is always that danger.
But leagues are set up inherently to benefit parity, create some evenness – and in this case, Michael Vick was a felon. The league was not only concerned about their brand – I mean listen, if I’m going to let a felon into the league, at a high profile position, I am not going to put him in a position to fail. I run the league, I am going to put him in a rehab situation where I think he would be a better fit – nobody could’ve guessed that Vick would go to the Eagles and be an MVP candidate. I mean, most people realistically didn’t think that.
But I’ve got news for you –in Cincinnati and Buffalo they don’t want to hear this, but again it goes back to life…you reap what you sow! If you’re the Cincinnati Bengals, you’ve sorta been Clown College of the NFL; you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt from the league. If you’re the LA Clippers, you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt from the league…you’re just not! From advertisers or the commissioner, but you say “Well, commissioners should be above board” really? Don’t commissioners often have to make decisions on expansion? I mean, when you make a decision on expansion and 7 cities bid for an NFL franchise and the commissioner selects 1, is that being totally subjective? Los Angeles is going to get an NFL franchise, is that subjective? No, they’re big and rich! That’s why they’re getting it.
So this idea, this Valhalla, this belief that there is some sort of perfect world where nobody favours anybody is ridiculous to me. Michael Vick spent years in Atlanta doing it his way…it didn’t work! Sending Vick to the Eagles was the NFL’s way…it’s working! Eli Manning didn’t think the Chargers were the right situation for him. He went to New York City and won a Superbowl, the NFL allowed that! All I’m saying is, Cincinnati and Buffalo are going to be outraged by this, but I think the NFL looked at it as a rehab situation, not a talent situation.