So, how serious is the new NFL commish?

If you follow the NFL at all you know that the league has a new commissioner, Roger Goodell, and that he’s apparently made it his mission to clean up the league’s little crime problem. His early actions suggest he’s serious about it, too. He dropped an 8-game ban on Cincinnati Bengals wide recidivist receiver Chris Henry and busted Tennessee Titans cornerback Pacman Jones for a whole season. Both penalties are richly deserved, and here’s hoping the boot of justice stomps equally hard on other members of the league’s fraternity of thugs.

There’s an emerging story that might define Goodell’s tenure almost as soon as it’s started. One of the league’s biggest stars, the tremendously overrated Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, is allegedly involved in pit bull fighting. The story has been leaking out bit by bit over the past few weeks, beginning with a massive bust at a home Vick owns. The story has progressed, as these sorts of things often do, from “home Vick owns” to “Vick was aware of it” to “Vick was involved,” and today we have a new level of allegation to chew on: “He’s one of the heavyweights.”

So let’s play a round or two of one of my favorite games, What If Sam Were Commissioner?

First, Vick has been accused, not convicted, and so far none of the sources are really radiating that Mother Teresa thing. His accusers range from anonymous to low-credibility, so until the prosecutors at least develop enough evidence to charge him, we’re going to have to hold fire. (However, my gut feeling here isn’t good – this case stinks to high heaven, and if Vick proves to be innocent I’ll be surprised.)

Second, there’s no reason to hold fire on Clinton Portis at all. His punk ass popped off this past week defending Vick’s right to fight pit bulls if he wanted:

“I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it’s his property, it’s his dog,” Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis told WAVY-TV in Virginia. “If that’s what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business.”When told that dog fighting is a felony, Portis replied, “It can’t be too bad of a crime.” (Story.)

Yes, moron, it can be too bad of a crime. Not that America has historically looked to the University of Miami football program for intellectual or moral leadership, but this is one of the most disgusting, subhuman activities you can engage in. If I’m the commish, you get in front a microphone and advocate for a particularly appalling felony, you’re gone for half a season. And that’s if I’m in a good mood.

Bad sign: Goodell said, “I’m extremely disappointed and embarrassed for Clinton Portis. This does not reflect the sentiments of the Redskins, the NFL or NFL players.” But Goodell did nothing.

So, hypothetically, say that Vick is eventually charged and that when I see the evidence I’m convinced that he’s guilty. That makes him a fourth-rate waste of skin as a human being, just like everybody else associated with the activity, and it makes him the very definition of the kind of citizen I don’t want my league associated with. Now or ever. Lifetime ban. And with luck, he spends a good bit of time in prison, too.

Vick doesn’t like it? Sue me. We’ll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. Owners don’t like it? Fire me – and then see how the PR war plays out. There’s just no compromise on some things, and trust me when I tell you that Vick fares a lot better in What If Sam Were Commissioner? than he does in What If Sam Were King of the World?

I hope Goodell is serious about setting the bar for personal conduct higher than it has been. A lot higher. And here’s hoping the NBA, NHL and MLB follow suit. No organization should tolerate something as brutal as dogfighting. And no American sports fan should spend a penny on any league that allows dog fighters on one of its rosters.

Categories: Sports

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19 replies »

  1. Goodell, Tagliabue, Selig, Stern—it hardly matters.

    Only money is important. These TV Network fans love the steroids and violence. They demand it.

    Dog fights, murders, drunk driving, sexual assault and spousal absue are small prices to pay for entertainment.

    Ask Tony LaRussa and Josh Hancok’s father.

  2. Rome did not have Disney Holding/ESPN/ABC and George Mitchell (Chairman) running that freak show.

    They did NOT have steroids and blood doping either.

    Only lions and cruelty.

    ESPN trumps that pain.

  3. Let’s wait a minute here. We’re banning Portis for being a moron? I know you have absolutely no tolerance for morons, but this seems harsh even for you. Granted, I know you love canine-kind more than mankind, but the 1st Amendment protects Portis’ right to stick his foot in his mouth.

    While we’re at it, a lifetime ban for Vick seems needless. Let’s assume for a minute that Vick is guilty. The prosecutors go out of their way to make an example out of him and give him the max – five years in prison and the cost of sheltering the dogs they confiscated. Vick, while gifted with outrageous athleticism, doesn’t have much accuracy or football brains. Throw on five years of rust and maybe a year suspension, and I don’t see Vick bouncing back from this.

  4. Good words Sam!
    Agreed on all counts. If Vick actually did some time maybe the idiots that look up to him would see that while they don’t find anything wrong with dogfighting, civilized society does. I imagine Vick calls himself a Christian, too.

  5. I think you’ve been too kind – I think Goodell, Selig, Stern, and Bettman should have this tattooed on their foreheads like the “ecnalubma” on an emergency vehicle so they can read it while they shave: WWKLD? (What Would Kennesaw Landis Do?). There’s a difference between civil rights and the rights of employees. Put people who can’t/won’t behave in legally acceptable ways out of work. The word will get around quickly enough.

    Your best shot here: “the tremendously overrated Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick”

    Thank you. Best description of the guy I’ve heard or read. Nails him.

  6. What difference does it make if Vick isn’t yet convicted? IIRC, Pacman Jones was not charged with any crime, yet he got a whole year. Chris Henry was already punished (two games) for his transgressions, leaving just one infraction (driving on a suspended license, which I think was later dismissed or reduced) to cause an 8 game ban.

    Goodell has done a poor job illustrating where the line is. At the moment, a mere accusation of trouble (or just being a bystander to trouble) is enough. And if it’s enough to punish Jones, it’s enough to punish Vick.

  7. How is dog fighting that much different than the “ultimate fighter” TV shows that enough morons apparently watch to keep the shows on the air? Just for the record I think both activities appeal to the morons amongst us.

  8. My stomach turns each time a new revelation comes out about this.
    Fuck the NFL. They will get none of my money or attention this year.

    Vick is a two-bit thug and the only fit punishment when he’s actually convicted of some dogfighting charge is is throw hit in the ring with the poor dogs he’s ruined. Throw Goodell in too if he won’t do anything about it.

  9. I’ll bet you those dogs belonged to Roger Goodell and Paul Taglibue.

    It suits their twisted belief systems.

    Their personal income is tied to steroids, cortisone, amphetamines and VIOLENCE!

  10. Incase Vick plays this season, all 8 teams that will play Atlanta in their respected barns have already downloaded and cued that shit song “Who let the dogs out” God bless the witty stadium DJ’s.

  11. I feel almost certain the league wouldn’t tolerate THAT. How ironic would it be if they did and the league landed on THEM instead of Vick.

    I don’t know – I can live without the NFL, and if Vick is guilty and they don’t land on him with both boots I may just have to find some other way of spending my Sunday afternoon cash from here on out. I feel about the same way on this one that I did on Todd Bertuzzi’s maiming of Steve Moore, and I STILL haven’t spent a penny on the NHL since that happened.

  12. The NFL is wholly corrupt.

    WWE is the clean version of steroid fighting.

    The NFL and college football is doped out of control.

    Roger Goodell and Pete Carroll both love it! It pays their bills nicely.

  13. A couple of years ago I went to a Bills v Falcons game and the NFL kicked fans out who wore Vick Jerseys with “Mexico” on the back of them. Again solidifying the moniker No Fun League. Of course we all wore sombraros and chanted Meixco along with the usual “over rated” chant. Otherwise a typical home game in B-Lo.

  14. I hope Ricky Williams goes Postal on Goodell & Tagliabue’s BBQs this summer.

    Maybe OJ Simpson has a thought on this wacky pharma behavior.