Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ROGER GOODELL SPEAKS ON VICK REINSTATEMENT

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Michael Vick has paid a significant price for doing an “egregious thing” and will have to show genuine and rehabilitation in order to get a chance at resuming his playing career.

Goodell appeared Tuesday night at Washington & Lee University, engaging in a panel discussion about leadership in sports and taking questions from the audience.

Afterward, Goodell said he has not kept up with Vick’s legal issues since suspending him from the league after his conviction in a federal dogfighting case. (Really? Tell us the college kids gave him a rousing guffaw over that one!) Vick is serving a 23-month prison term and has a team of lawyers trying to settle his finances in bankruptcy court.

A major component of the bankruptcy lawyers’ efforts to find a way for Vick to satisfy his creditors is based on his ability to again earn millions in pro football.

Many have speculated that Vick would become a lightning rod for animal rights groups and others if he is reinstated and added to a team’s roster, but Goodell said he think the public will apply the same standard he’ll use when determining whether to allow him to return.

“Our issue is trying to do the right thing and represent the NFL in the best possible way,” said the commissioner.

“Michael did an egregious thing. He has paid a very significant price for that. If he’s learned from that and is prepared to live a different life, I think the general public is forgiving on that when people are genuine and they show remorse and are prepared to live a different life,” he said. “That’s something he has to prove to myself and the general public.”

Vick, 28 and once the NFL’s highest paid player with a seven-year contract for $130 million, is scheduled to be released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., on July 20, but could be transferred to home confinement in Hampton as early as May 21.

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