August 21st, 2007


Football, or thugball?

Star-Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse argued in today's paper that Michael Vick is being treated too harshly, and should be allowed back on the football field just as soon as he gets out of prison. My response, in a letter to the editor:

Patrick Reusse has it exactly wrong in his argument that Michael Vick should have gotten a slap on the wrist for his admitted involvement in dogfighting. The problem is not that Vick is being treated too harshly. The problem is that the people who get off with just a fine and probation aren't being treated harshly enough.

Roger Goodell shouldn't let Vick right back in the game, either. The NFL has a major problem: its players basically think they're above the law. Someone has to get the point across to them that they're not. It looks like that job has fallen to Goodell. Right now, it's not football - it's thugball.

Several years ago, after one NFL coach was arrested for trying to carry a pistol through airport security, the joke was that he was trying to get closer to a player who was also in legal trouble. Nowadays, it's much less a joke. The players have to be shown that criminal conduct has consequences.

Here's a question: Would the NFL rather be remembered for players like Pat Tillman or Pacman Jones and Michael Vick? Goodell's actions will set the stage.
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