The Commish Steps Up: Goodell orders Vick to not report to training camp

After everyone including yours truly speculated what would happen next to Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick given the gruesome and disturbing allegations against him for dog fighting, Commissioner Roger Goodell made the first move of “disciplining” him. Though the Commish did not suspend him for life as some animal rights activists were asking to be done. Goodell ordered Vick to not report to the Falcon’s training camp at the team’s training facility in Flowery Branch, GA pending the completion of an NFL review of his recent indictment by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Va. The move was done in a letter to Vick dated Monday July 23rd. In the letter, Goodell said: “While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy.” I believe the unprecedented move was done by Goodell, because of Vick not telling the truth to him at the 2007 draft when asked about dog fighting, the national outcry, and potential loss of fans.

He informed Vick that the review would be completed as soon as possible and that he expects Vick’s full cooperation. Vick now has the most powerful league pointed directly at him along with the federal government and he should be in full back-pedal as fast as Deion Sanders. He did make the wise move of upgrading his legal team by adding high profile lawyer Billy Martin, who has represented Allen Iverson in one of his legal battles in the state of Virginia. Vick who is due in court in Richmond, Va on July 26th will not forfeit his preseason pay during his excused absence from training camp.

The Commish also directed the Falcons to withhold any contemplated team discipline regarding Vick until the NFL review is completed. I believe the Falcons Owner Arthur Blank will have the next move after the NFL’s investigation by making Vick take up to a 4 game leave of absence, which he is allowed to do based on the CBA or even cutting him and taking a $6 Million dollar cap hit in 2006 and $15 Million dollar cap hit in 2007 for bonuses already paid on Vick’s 10 year, $130 Million dollar contract extension from 2004.

With the mounting allegations (read the pdf file of the 18 page indictment for yourself) and public fervor, I think it is in Vick’s best interest to concentrate on his legal battles and let the Falcons get ready for their upcoming season without him and the distractions that he brings.

Stay tuned for another episode of “The Young and Restless” NFL style.

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