Tag Archive | "Michael Vick"

Michael Vick-Should The NFL Forgive And Forget?

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Michael Vick-Should The NFL Forgive And Forget?


vickHide your dogs and cats!  Michael Vick  is a free man.   His sentence arising out of a conviction on federal dog-fighting charges has ended.  He is now free to make his case for reinstatement to the NFL.  Vick had previously been released from Federal prison to home-confinement but was required to wear an electronic ankle monitor.  He can now walk without a limp as that requirement has ended.

It is being reported that Vick will work with the Humane Society of the United States on anti dog-fighting campaigns.

It is a given that  Vick will seek to re-enter the NFL.  It has been reported that he could return to professional football as soon as September if reinstated by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I frankly do not see that happening.   NFL Commissioner Goodell will certainly want his own “stupid mouth” probationary period. That is a time frame long enough to see if Vick does or says anything stupid that would be in conflict with a claim of rehabilitation and remorse.

There will  also be opposition from animal rights groups and animal lovers in general.  I count myself among the animal lovers.  Many would even consider me a “radical” animal lover.  I am both anti-hunting and horse racing.  Do not however, count me among the opposition to Michael Vick being allowed to again play professional football.

When the time comes, should Roger Goodell find that Vick is in compliance with internal NFL conduct guidelines,  I believe he  should re-instate Vick’s eligibility to play and seek NFL employment under whatever probationary terms he deems appropriate.

Anyone who knows me is probably shocked as hell to read this. I have been active in various animal rights causes and benefits.  I screamed loudest for Vick’s head on a doggie platter and a long prison sentence. I was disappointed when his state sentence ran concurrent with his federal sentence although as an attorney I was expecting just that.

I do not like Michael Vick.  I think he is a gangster thug.  I admit that I have never met him.  It does not matter.   In my mind it is res ipsa loquitur.  If you abuse animals or take pleasure from watching them abused that is all I need to know.  You are a bad person and a gangster thug.  End of story.

I  believe Michael Vick will  again end up in trouble with the law.  Why?  I believe that anyone who abuses animals or takes pleasure in watching them abused has on a certain level, a sociopath personality.  That person lacks the mental mechanism to understand societal values.  This  moral disconnect will more often than not lead to long term trouble.  You can’t grow a conscience regardless of any explanation for not having one.

With all that being said how could I possibly support Michael Vick?

I support Micheal Vick being allowed to seek employment in the NFL because I respect our justice system and the equality of judgment it is supposed to represent, even if it often does not always work out that way.  Michel Vick was judged.  He is paying his debt born out of that judgment.  Once that happens, our Constitution and justice system mandates that while we can hold opinions, express them and judge him as a person, we can no longer legally judge his act.

I am comfortable enough in my convictions in this area to know that I would never hire someone who did what he did to work for me in any capacity.  You have the right to ask me for a job.  I have the right to say no.  I have the right to bring my moral compass into play in saying no.  You have the right to find someone else to hire you in the same type of job who may view things differently than I do.

Michael Vick has paid his legal dues to society.  He should not have to pay them again in being denied the right to seek employment.  I know there will be an NFL owner or two who does not view Michael Vick the same way I do. The NFL is too competitive and the margin of error too small.  A team will give him a chance.  I won’t like it.  I however am not society’s moral gatekeeper.  The NFL and individual team owners will decide which way their own compass points.

I will say that whoever hires Michael Vick had better hope that somewhere deep inside himself  he has found the guilt ridden emotions that help shape the human conscience.  If he has not, it is a given that  he will be judged again.

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Should Michael Vick Play Football?

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Should Michael Vick Play Football?


vickMichael Vick  was released from a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.  He will serve the last two months of his 23-month sentence in home confinement at his Virginia residence.  It is being reported that Vick will work with the Humane Society of the United States on anti-dogfighting campaigns.

It is a given that at some point Vick will seek to re-enter the NFL.  It has been reported that he could return to professional football as soon as September if reinstated by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  There will be opposition from animal rights groups and animal lovers in general.  I count myself among the animal lovers. Many would even consider me a “radical” animal lover. I am both anti-hunting and horse racing.  Do not however, count me among the opposition to Michael Vick being allowed to again play professional football.

When the time comes, should Roger Goodell find that Vick is in compliance with internal NFL conduct guidelines,  I believe he  should re-instate Vick’s eligibility to play and seek NFL employment under whatever probationary terms he deems appropriate.

Anyone who knows me is probably shocked as hell to read this. I have been active in various animal rights causes and benefits.  I screamed loudest for Vick’s head on a doggie platter and a long prison sentence. I was disappointed when his state sentence ran concurrent with his federal sentence although as an attorney I was expecting just that.

I also do not like Michael Vick.  I think he is a gangster thug.  I admit that I have never met him.  It does not matter.   In my mind it is res ipsa loquitur.  If you abuse animals or take pleasure from watching them abused that is all I need to know.  You are a bad person and a gangster thug.  End of story.

I also believe Michael Vick will  again end up in trouble with the law.  Why?  I believe that anyone who abuses animals or takes pleasure in watching them abused has on a certain level, a sociopath personality.  That person lacks the mental mechanism to understand societal values.  This  moral disconnect will more often than not lead to long term trouble.  You can’t grow a conscience regardless of any explanation for not having one.

With all that being said how could I possibly support Michael Vick?

I support Micheal Vick being allowed to seek employment in the NFL because I respect our justice system and the equality of judgment it is supposed to represent, even if it often does not always work out that way.  Michel Vick was judged.  He is paying his debt born out of that judgment.  Once that happens, our Constitution and justice system mandates that while we can hold opinions, express them and judge him as a person, we can no longer legally judge his act.

I am comfortable enough in my convictions in this area to know that I would never hire someone who did what he did to work for me in any capacity.  You have the right to ask me for a job.  I have the right to say no.  I have the right to bring my moral compass into play in saying no.  You have the right to find someone else to hire you in the same type of job who may view things differently than I do.

Michael Vick is paying his dues to society.  He should not have to pay them again in being denied the right to seek employment.  I know there will be an NFL owner or two who does not view Michael Vick the same way I do. The NFL is too competitive and the margin of error too small.  A team will give him a chance.  I won’t like it.  I however am not society’s moral gatekeeper.  The NFL and individual team owners will decide which way their own compass points.

I will say that whoever hires Michael Vick had better hope that somewhere deep inside himself  he has found the guilt ridden emotions that help shape the human conscience.  If he has not, it is a given that  he will be judged again.

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Michael Vick Was Justice By Example

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Michael Vick Was Justice By Example


vick_courthouse_320I was driving around Dallas listening to The Michael Irvin Show on 103.3 ESPN Radio.  For those who do not listen to sports talk radio or follow the NFL, Michael Irvin is a former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.  They were discussing the Michael Vick case.

The subject of the  show segment focused on Vick’s transfer to  Atlanta from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in preparation for his release to home confinement and eventual freedom.(In reality  it was a temporary stop and he is back at Leavenworth).  They covered the usual hot buttons such as his pending bankruptcy case and of course whether he will be reinstated to play in the NFL.  Vick’s civil attorney Peter Ginsburg was a guest, discussing Vick’s testimony in the bankruptcy case.

The discussion  turned to whether they thought Michael Vick’s sentence was fair.  Michael Irvin and his co-host thought Vick was treated unfairly as compared to sentences other defendants had received in similar circumstances.   Ginsburg  chose his words carefully,  simply agreeing that Vick received a harsher sentence then anyone else sentenced on similar charges. (I don’t know that to be true but will take his word for it)  Was it fair and appropriate that Vick be treated differently than others similarly situated?  I believe it was.  My rational is as follows.

When looking at crime and sentencing , our justice systems sets two distinctly different types of deterrent values. One  is the range of sentencing and discretion given juries and judges for classes of crimes that set social policy in the long term.  There is no need to set specific sentencing examples for these crimes as a means of social deterrence.  Such examples in themselves, taken alone,  would have little or no effect on crime deterrence moving forward.  Such crimes are so woven into society and occur with such frequency that unless we change our entire sentencing structure and philosophy to make everyone an example , singling one person out for a harsher sentence would have no social detterrent effect .  The sentence for these types of crimes  send a societal message but not a message directed at any one individual. The example is made is in the consistency of prosecution and sentencing.

As an example, Jim Leyritz is on trial for vehicular manslaughter. He was allegedly driving drunk, ran red light and killed a women.  If Jim were to be convicted there will be a range of sentencing.  Whether he gets the minimum or the maximum it will have no deterrent effect on the the next person to drink and get behind the wheel.  It is a sentence of social policy against drunk driving and and not individual deterrence.  No one is going to think about the Jim Leyritz case before they drink and drive.(except maybe Jim Leyritz)

There  is also the class of crimes in which  the range of sentencing allows for a direct message to be sent to a narrow class of people.  Crimes that may not occur on a repetitive level to a degree that it is a societal issue versus a regional or even local issue. Crimes we do not hear about and are not de-sensitized to on a societal level.  Crimes such as dogfighting.  For these crimes, when the opportunity presents itself, sentencing ranges speak to a specific opportunity to send a targeted message to the narrow class that may be engaging in such conduct.  The message that such conduct will not be tolerated with the opportunity for the message to actually be heard and heeded.  Without the opportunity to make an example and send such a message in high profile cases such as Michael Vick there would be no deterrent value at all  beyond the person sentenced in prosecution of individual cases.  No one would take notice.

We are not talking about Vick or others like him receiving a sentence so harsh/disproportionate as to the crime committed to be considered unconstitutional and “cruel and unusual” as in the case of Genarlow Wilson or Marcus Dixon.  For our justice system to work properly these constitutional types of  “example” sentences such as Vick received must be made when the opportunity presents itself.

For these reasons Michael Vick’s sentence was appropriate and “fair”.

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Gridiron Gangsters

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Gridiron Gangsters


gangsterThey are  wreaking havoc on the streets of big and small town U.S.A.  The likes of Dallas, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, New York and Chicago have been invaded and terrorized. The sometimes weapon wielding thugs have made front page news as they shun the laws of the civilized society to do as they please at the expense of those who want nothing more than  to enjoy their evenings uninterrupted by stray gun shots, bar room brawls, drive-by shootings and posse gang wars .  Welcome to the world of the Gridiron Gangsters.  The dark side of professional sports. Who are some of these gangster types? The list is long and distinguished:

Pacman Jones

Pacman Jones

1.   Adam “Pacman Jones“, former cornerback for the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys.   Pacman has not done any jail time yet but his non-stop off field troubles qualify him for gangsterhood.  He was suspended by the NFL for numerous gangster like activities including his alleged role in a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club(his preferred venue of choice) that left one person paralyzed. He pleaded no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. He was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, probation, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service  The sum total of Pacman’s  brushes with the law could fill an entire season of Law and Order.   It is now being reported that he is being investigated in Georgia in an alleged shooting-for-hire scheme.

2.    Plaxico Burress, former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and NY Giants.  Plaxico carried an unlicensed loaded plaxico-burresshandgun into a NYC nightclub.  Fortunately the only person he shot was himself.  While Plaxico was not seriously injured, he is facing some serious personal freedom injury with mandatory jail time required under New York’s Sullivan Act.  While Plaxico had always skated on the edge of the gridiron gangster lifestyle, he can now consider his initiation complete.

3.  Micheal Vick, former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons plead guilty to  federal and state dog fighting charges. He is currently in federal prison. He will be eligible for release in June of this year.  He is expected to apply for reinstatement to the NFL upon his release.  Will anything change?

4.   Jamal Lewis, running back for the Cleveland Browns.  Jamal led the NFL in Rushing in 2003. He  served four  months in federal prison as the result of a plea bargain stemming from federal drug charges. While there is evidence that he is a good guy who made one terrible error in judgment, his four months in federal prison related to drug activity get him the Gridiron gangster tag. The jury is still out on his continued membership in the elite fraternity.

5. Marvin Harrison, wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. Marvin was allegedly involved in a brawl and shooting outside of his Philadelphia car wash that left 3 people wounded. Marvin admits fisticuffs but denies being armed. He was not charged despite two witnesses who state that he was armed.  The local district attorney has questioned the credibility of the witnesses in the decision not to charge.  Has Marvin entered the gridiron gangster ranks?  Not yet but give him time.

6.   Tank Johnson Defensive Tackle for the Dallas Cowboys.   Tank’s gangster kung fu is strong.  Numerous scuffles, arrests and a jail sentence culminating in his eventual suspension from the NFL.  He has since been reinstated and is currently playing for the Dallas Cowboys. You can read his gangster resume here.

7.    Rae Carruth Former wide receiver for the Carolina Panther.  Rae would be considered the Godfather of the Gridiron Gangster lifestyle.  His almost 19 year prison sentence for conspiracy to murder his girlfriend qualifies him as the Don.  He must have had some of the  John Gotti Teflon going during his trial. He slid though the crack of reasonable doubt on a 1st degree murder conviction and possible death sentence down to a conviction on a lesser charge sparing his life and guaranteeing that he will be eligible to  play in the  just announced annual NFL All Con Reunion game.

These are a few of the high profile incidents.  There are countless other examples of NFL gridiron gangster conduct of high profile and lessor known players ranging from drunken altercations to drugs and sexual assaults.  In all fairness to the NFL, it is not like gangsterism has just suddenly sprung upon the NFL scene.  The history of the NFL is replete with athletes in trouble.  It can certainly be argued that the only thing that has changed is the media exposure.  There were no cell phone cameras to catch Paul Hornung and Alex Karras placing bets when they were suspended indefinitely from football by commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons.  Gangsterism is certainly of function of the era we live in.

The gangster lifestyle often also outlasts football careers with tragic results.  Athletes who had the protection o  the posse fame and agents lacking any sense of identity outside of their stardom find themselves  in the real world alone, unskilled, uneducated in real life business concepts, broke, and still gangster.  Nothing good is going to happen.   The NFL alumni gangster fraternity includes Darryl Henley, Byron Bam Morris, Lawrence PhillipsDave Meggett, Maurice Clarett and Art Schlichter to name a few.  michael-vick-this-is

What is going on with present day athletes?  Are they getting into trouble at greater rates or in greater percentages to the general population?  Does it just seem that way due to the social media, cell phone video, instantaneous news delivery world we live in?  The gridiron gangster is certainly not the standard of behavior in professional sports.  The majority of NFL  players live their lives by the rules of civilized society.  NFL stars such as Donovan McNabb, LaDainian Tomlinson Brett Farve, Tom Brady, the Manning brothers, and other high profile professional athletes manage to get by day to day and night to night without guns, possess and drunken altercations.  Their evening activities do not become TMZ,  TNT and ESPN fodder.  They do not have criminal attorneys, bail bondsmen and posse henchmen on speed dial.  Instead Michael Vick,  Pacman Jones, Plaxico Burress and other law breaking professional athletes become flash points for the public perception of everything that is wrong with professional sports. The perception of  athletes as prima-donna selfish, self-entitled thugs.  Why do athletes who seem to have everything put everything at risk as they engage in conduct that qualifies them as a Gridiron Gangsters?  I asked some people on the front lines.

Marc Roberts is no stranger to the gridiron gangster lifestyle having represented numerous high profile athletes.  He is the author of “Roberts Rule! Secrets From America’s Most Trusted Sports Agent”  Marc had this to say:

“Athletes get in trouble because they think they are invincible. They have been pampered in every aspect of their life”

Patrick Johnson is a wide receiver for the Toronto Argronauts of the Canadian Football League. He has also played for the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Redskins. He earned a Super Bowl ring when the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV.  He follows-up on the points raised by Roberts.

“The psychology of why athletes get in and out of trouble can be a very complicated, but very simple at the same time.  First of all, what do we define as trouble?  I firmly believe that if the athlete has a good support system around him/her other than the agent, it can minimize most of the issues they face.   Many times however, athletes from a certain demographic don’t have individuals around them who know very much about the business.  They have to rely on their agent who in many cases is only interested in what their client can give them financially.   They are best of friends as long as the player can bring in  money  but quickly disappear when the cash flow stops.  That is where the real trouble begins.  Without an advisor willing to give the athlete the time after it’s all over, the reality of life sets in as the issues that were put on the back burner pop up.  That’s the trouble with all of this.  Contrary to the many stereotypes held about  athletes, it’s not about  homeboys, posses, fighting dogs and the like.  Its the people who you put your trust in at the beginning when the say they can get you a dynamite contract.   What if an agent introduced his players to Mr. Madoff?  What’s bigger?”

Jordon Woy is  a nationally known sports agent and a principal in the firm of Schlegel Sports, publisher of Replay Sports Monthly,  He has represented high profile athletes such as Donald Driver of Green Bay and Flozell Adams and Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys. He had this to say:

“I feel the main reason that players stay out of trouble in the NFL or any other sports is they have a strong parental figure in their lives as they are growing up.  That person can be a Mom, Dad, Uncle, Grandmother, coach, etc.  It is the first question NFL teams ask me about any player who I am representing…What kind of a character kid is this?  When I recruit a college player they usually have someone who is helping them make their agent choice.  You can learn a lot about the player by who they are choosing to help them make their decision.  Some have no one to help them.  Some have a really smart, caring relative who has played a big part in helping them get where they are.

I think the other reason so many athletes get in trouble is they start to believe their own “press clippings”. The one characteristic that I see in a lot of players who really stay on the straight path is that they are still humble as people.  It is always impressive to me when I meet a world famous athlete who is still humble and considerate of others.  He or she may know that have skills that set them apart from everyone else but they still treat people the way they want to be treated.  The reverse is also true, the athletes who begin to think they can act any way and do anything they want are usually the ones who find trouble.  I have always marveled at athletes who come down to earth after they retire and the glory fades.  They “find” their humbleness again.  I have heard a lot of them say they feel bad for the way they acted and they realize it was wrong.  I think it is a part of growing up that everyone has to go through even the most talented athletes in the world.”

Does living the gangster lifestyle automatically spell lifetime doom for professional athlete?  Not necessarily. There are examples of athletes who were able to leave their gangster toys behind them and live productive law abiding lives.  Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson are notable examples.

There you have it.  Do you know feel any sympathy for athletes who must grow up and “put away childish things” when their careers are over.  Is there a difference between a reason and an excuse?   You decide.

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