Okay, I’ve had a few days to sit back and think about this issue. I consider myself a pragmatic thinker, so therefore I was in no rush to make a judgment on this issue. It’s been able to sink in, but it’s still probably a bit early. The Falcons kick off training camp next week, and that’s when it’s all going to come to a head.
I fully expect that the Falcons training camp will be picketed unless the Falcons decide to suspend or release Michael Vick between now and Thursday. It’s a shame really, that arguably the most notable thing that has happened to this franchise is this.
Personally, I believe that Arthur Blank should ask Michael Vick to take a voluntary leave of absence. That would be the best thing for the Falcons, the NFL, and probably for Michael Vick. It seems based on the schedule at AtlantaFalcons.com, training camp runs through August 14, in which practices are open to the public. It’s in the best interests of all parties involved that Vick makes himself scarce at least until then.
If Vick was to join the team in mid-August, perhaps he’d be ready to play in the final preseason game against the Ravens, and then a few weeks into the season perhaps be able to suit up for the team and continue to play until legal events prevented him. I’m hopeful his lawyers will be able to delay the trial until January, and therefore Michael Vick could reasonably play most of the season with the Falcons.
Now, I know some are reading this, and hope that I’m kidding. They don’t want to see Michael Vick play this year. And I understand those sentiments, but I just don’t share them. Not over some great amount of support I have for Michael Vick. Anybody who has read many of these blogs going back to January will know that I have no love for Michael Vick. But because I believe that you can distinguish what someone does personally and professionally. A good example in my eyes is Mel Gibson. I believe Mr. Gibson to be an anti-Semite, something I deplore in people. But that doesn’t prevent me from believing that Mr. Gibson is a good actor and filmmaker, and doesn’t stop me from enjoying or viewing his films. Another example, is if the best car mechanic in town is a convicted felon for a despicable crime, does that change the notion that he can fix your car better than anybody else? I don’t believe so.
In a perfect world, our personal and professional lives shouldn’t intermingle. Of course we live in about an imperfect world as they come, but that doesn’t stop me from upholding that belief.
Football is what matters to me. And because of that, I want to see Michael Vick out on the field this year, because I believe he makes our football team a lot better. Does that mean I think Michael Vick is an outstanding quarterback? No, but he’s a better one than Joey Harrington or D.J. Shockley.
But I completely respect the notion that perhaps the majority of people have a strong opposing belief on that matter. If so, then so be it. If you think there isn’t a circle of Hell low enough for Michael Vick, then so be it. I don’t expect to sway your opinion (nor am I attempting to).
Now, going back, if Vick is unwilling to accept this voluntary leave of absence, then I believe Arthur Blank has no recourse but to suspend him for four games. Why that amount? Because it’s basically written in the CBA that conduct detrimental to the team allows for a team-imposed suspension of up to four games. Besides releasing him, Blank has no other disciplinary recourse.
In my eyes, either option that the Falcons take basically result in the same thing. Basically it means that Michael Vick will miss the first few games of the season.
I don’t envy Blank’s position. He is weighing several options right now, and has to factor in a lot of things before coming to that decision. I believe we’ll have a decision before next Wednesday (when players report for camp), but I don’t think it’s necessary for him to make a quick judgment despite public and media pushing for it.
He has to weigh football vs. public relations vs. the fan base. In terms of football, the decision would probably be to do nothing. Let Michael Vick play in both camp and during the regular season. For public relations, the best thing for him to do is to severe all ties with the man, by releasing him yesterday. For the fan base, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. He has to show that he’s not going to let it slide, but he can’t exactly “pack in” the season by dumping Vick. That is why ultimately I expect Blank to make a decision along those things.