Is Michael Vick an asset or a liability for NFL?

July 26, 2009

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s prison sentence followed by house arrest for participating and bankrolling a dog-fighting operation officially ended on Monday July 20.

It took exactly one night for Vick’s name to be once again embroiled in controversy. Vick’s Virginia-based lawyer Lawrence Woodward denied reports that his client spent his first night of freedom at a Virginia Beach strip club. “It is absolutely, categorically false,” Woodward said.

Two dancers at the club, who identified themselves as Tropical and Tara, told reporters they saw Vick and NBA free agent Allen Iverson there Monday night.


Throughout Vick’s legal ordeal, the NFL seemed content to toss all the controversy into the hands of the legal system. Now that Vick is out of the proverbial dog house, all eyes are on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Shortly after regaining his freedom, Sports Illustrated and other media outlets, quoting anonymous sources, reported that Goodell and Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, secretly met in New Jersey.

It was then reported that the NFL had granted Vick a conditional re-instatement that includes a four-game suspension. NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello quickly went on Twitter to announce that “despite what ESPN says, commish has made no decisions on MVick.”

In a sport where careers are often cut short by injuries, at 29, this is probably Vick’s last opportunity to recoup some of his losses and write a new chapter on and off the field

Despite being away from the sport in the prime of his once promising career, believes the first overall selection in the 2001 NFL draft is still a better quarterback than a dozen current starters, a list that includes Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton and David Garrard.

While the Humane Society was keen to give Vick a second chance by hiring him as spokesperson to help eradicate dog-fighting, the NFL has been coy. However, barring a last-minute reversal, the league appears to be leaning toward allowing the gifted running, passing quarterback to sign with a team and participate in a training camp.

Is Michael Vick an asset or a liability for NFL?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Police officers who kill or brutalize unarmed citizens receive less than Mr. Vick, and it appears that that the life of an animal is more valuable than that of a human being. First you must socially conscienous to understand this, and you have some sense of common decency.

Posted by Acheron | Report as abusive

It’s time for Michael to get back to work. America is jacked up and we place higher value on animals than we do on human life. He has dine his time, and it’s early so I really don’t feel like getting into comparisons or even detail this morning about race, benefits, or the past. He’s done his time and I don’t think that Roger is the person Michael is going to have to deal with, it’s going to be the idiots that will forever hate him and participate in the public relations nightmare for the team that is going to put him on the roster. Face it, he’s better than half of thequarterbacks in the league. Welcome back guy.

Posted by Plain Jay | Report as abusive

Time has been served.

The justice system does not require additional punishment from the NFL.

NFL needs more running quarterbacks.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

Mike made one mistake and it was not knowing how to choose his friends! This man went to jail over fighting dogs and i think he has paid his debt to society way over. Let this man play ball pleases you would have thought he has murdered a human being. They keep talking bout these dogs well now you know how a chicken feels!

Posted by ddw | Report as abusive

i agree hes paid his dues there are a lot of people out there that never did a day for killing people. wow we are messed up . look at kids that we are killing in a war thats not even ours . go for it vick move on and tell the rest to go to hell or dont watch the nfl

Posted by SILK | Report as abusive

Vick’s should go back to work, just not the NFL. This is not about the life of animals being valued more than humans. This is about a man who proved to the world he’s capable of horrendous cruelty & abuse while showing no remorse. Very disturbing to think he may be put back on a pedestal all in the name of entertainment…. once again.

Posted by JDB | Report as abusive

Of course Vick is an asset to the NFL. The whole ordeal is a has been in large part a joke in the context of all that has happened in the world in the last two years. Vick is a very good football player. Period. That’s what the NFL is about. He draws huge crowds as well. The people who are the big detractors to his reinstatement are likley not even football fans but instead soccer moms/dads.

Posted by Shawn Williams | Report as abusive

Reference to the night club incident: Michael Vick is a grown man. He is not a child and should not be treated any less than any other man in the NFL. It appears that the NFL commissioner and his gang are trying to make Mikes wrongs out to be tem times worse than any other pro athlete, or as far as that goes, any other person. But I think it is safe to say that everyone including the commissioner has made a mistake.

Posted by HTP | Report as abusive

Please just let Vick go back to work! The man has paid his debt to society and he has done his time! There are some players in the nfl and others sports right now who have done far worse than Micheal Vick! SILK needs to get over it already man! Let us free! LOL

Posted by KSam | Report as abusive

Apparently most people just don’t get it. Michael Vick is a thug, his whole life people have been sweeping his troubles under the rug. I live in Norfolk, VA and am well aware of the cover up of his problems starting when he was in junior high school, through Virginia Tech and now the National Football League. Somebody must hold him accountable for his actions (the court system failed). This isn’t about dogs, it’s about a man who thinks he is above the laws of Virginia and the United States. Millions of little kids look up to Vick, and if the NFL reinstates him what kind of message are they sending. It’s okay to break laws if your a gifted football player. It speaks volumes that most of the comments on this page do not see what he did as wrong. Has our society bumped their damn heads or what? Send the message that the NFL will not tolerate its players violating any laws period. Vick, Pacman Jones, Ray Lewis, any of the Minnesota party boat attendees. If the NFL would police their own sport the players would tow the line and be role models. After the 1993 MLB strike I quit watching baseball, please don’t make me quit watching football.

Posted by Kevin Soule | Report as abusive

The NFL is trying to maintain image and brand power. It must appeal to a large mass and media. Having Vick reinstated is a lightning rod of controversy that will not pay off in the long run. When viewing this look at the bigger picture of tv ratings, protests, and negative energy that will generate regardless if he served his time or not.

Posted by paul | Report as abusive

Michael Vick is both a liability and an asset. Football is a substitute for violence, we don’t go ga-ga over soccer in America and we don’t have gladiators of ancient Rome (one could say UFC is swinging people towards that). Football was a workingman’s sport but now all those junior grade athletes, Al Bundys, are trying to be cops because there are terrible job prospects (including construction, Vick).
The lawyers sure made some money off of Vick’s troubles. The legislators (majority lawyers) who put too many laws on the books, including exaggerated PETA type laws are helping to destroy the industrial/manufacturing base on America. We had laws against these type of things in the 1950s but not the extremes we have now. Do talented players get some wrongdoing covered up, you betcha. NFL, along with its media SI are assets because they show Joe-six pack how America really is.

Posted by Chris Davis | Report as abusive

Do you really think Goodell is going to let someone lie in his face and not do something about it? Prison was only Uncle Sam’s pound of flesh. Sportswriters have to due to the nature of their jobs, but not people who are in charge of something. It sets a bad precedent.

Posted by carlsbadcrawler | Report as abusive

I don’t care what anyone says or how they feel. EVERYONE deserves a second chance and what they do with that second chance will define their future. This is his opportunity to prove to all of us that he is a changed man.

Posted by BKaiser | Report as abusive


Posted by tom | Report as abusive

No person that shows deliberate cruelty to an animal deserves to be a sports player or a role model for the same. It is not a question of degree of cruelty between “animal” or “human”; all deliberate acts that have as their desired end pain, mutilation and death are despicable. (I shall not even stress the gambling that took place on this agony). Play again? Play never! I am so sorry to see that we as a nation are choosing to overlook these heinous and ugly acts in the interest of ticket sales. Such a marvelous message for our children! “OK…maim and kill…but since you are so good at what you do, no big deal…come back, we don’t care that you like to watch creatures die in pain!” Oh, by the way, say Hi! to my son who loves his puppy! No hypocrisy there!

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

If the NFL has such high standards then let him remain banned. What he took part in is a horrible crime. No one should treat other creatures in such a way. It’s funny that I myself have been cruel to animals some 25 years ago. What I did was senseless and wrong. I have tried to make up for it to a degree. I wasn’t caught. I’m not a star in the NFL. Perhaps he should play so everyone can be reminded of his actions. I’m sure there are people out there that will constantly remind us of his past crimes. This is part of his punishment is the shame he should feel for his actions.

Posted by copy cat | Report as abusive

Agree with those who point out that Vic was a creul repeat offender who shows no remorse, and we should all be fearful ( d/cruelty_serial_killers.html). Here’s an idea, MAKE Vic play football and assign a portion of his salary to ASPCA — I think 90% sounds fair.

Posted by Bob K | Report as abusive

If more commissioners and more leagues would punish people that cheat and those who display behavior like this, we’d have less nut cases and egomaniacs. Slaps on the wrist don’t get it.

Posted by Rick H | Report as abusive

Fighting and breeding dogs for fighting not to mention, endless hours and years of killing and torture to these dogs that he actively participated in and funded with his NFL money…How can anyone think he deserves the PRIVILEGE of being part of the NFL? This was not an isolated incident of misjudgment it was his life style. What bothers me almost as much is that he didn’t need the money he made from this … which leads me to believe he did it for enjoyment. I would not watch any team that takes vic on.

Posted by Sandy R | Report as abusive

I pity all the players on any team that Vick may play on. These players have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. Vick will be like a circus sideshow. The booing and chanting will follow Vick everywhere, and will be a complete distraction for the entire team.

Goodell took the easy way out. The real decision needs to be made by the team owners, and fans.

Posted by RM | Report as abusive just conducted a national study exploring people’s opinions about Michael Vick being allowed to play for the NFL again. Results showed that the majority of respondants felt that he should not be allowed to play. More in-depth results can be seen at Vick/Index.cfm. Thanks.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Oh, if Tropical and Tara say they saw Mike Vick, then I’m sure they did. Nothing says credible more than going by the name “Tropical.”

Posted by Mike H. | Report as abusive

Vick is an asset to the NFL, but not to any team that takes him. One thing lost in all of this is that he was never a great quarterback in the NFL. His stuff worked in high school and college, but not in the pros. There, teams need quarterbacks to throw, running backs to run, and receivers to catch. Vick’s stuff looks great, and he’s an incredible talent, but he messes up the team concept. I think this will be the bigger issue for teams at this point. If he was Tom Brady, you might overlook his crime. I honestly think teams will be more doubting of his ability as a successful NFL quarterback, than any baggage he brings with him.

Posted by Joel A | Report as abusive

Mike Vick is a thug…end of discussion.

Posted by Johhny Tex | Report as abusive

The guys a beast let him play. He messed up and did his time. A lady killed her son and got 10 years and ppl forgave her. He did 1/5 that time and we still havent let this go. time to put you big boy pants on and let him back in mr goodell. stupid as hell to even suspend him 4 games he hasnt played in 2 years. Talk about hit a man while he is down

Posted by jv | Report as abusive

It’s kind of sad that Vick only got conditionally reinstated – I think the man has served his time and deserves a second chance. It would be shame if no NFL team takes the chance to pick him up and he has to play in the UFL. Here is an interesting article on what might be next for Michael Vick: orts/What-s-Next-for-Mike-Vick-3f/sl4076 3392bp324cpp10pn1.html

Posted by Jimmy T | Report as abusive

First let me make one thing clear, that I in no way condone the actions for which Michael Vick served time, but he did serve his time! It seems to me that we in this self-righteous American Society can always find it so easy to judge someone else; when in fact the majority of us have done something in our lifetimes that we probably would not want to be made public information! It is time people, that we all get real and stop being so hypocritical and judgemental of others; Even Michael! Michael Vick is just another product of a society and culture that has not only existed but also been cultivated in this country for far too long! Just in case you have forgotten, let me remind you that “Slavery” is still alive and well in America and it is evident in the fact that the sports franchise owmers can take a young boy who has never fully understood what it means to be a man. I mean a “Godly Man” and suddenly thrust millions of dollars into his pockets and expect him to suddenly act as though he is use to having that kind of financial clout! Suddenly going from driving an “Old Hoopty” to being able to afford the most over-priced “Touring Vehicles” on this planet, with just the stroke of a pen! Then the people who come into the arenas where they plow their trade sit patiently waiting to unleash the inner-hatred that they truly have for them; at their first misstep or display of behavior deemed inappropriate by this hypocritical society in which we live! Yes, Micael Vick made lots of mistakes in judgement; but the biggest mistake was not within his control and that is being born poor and Black in America! I know you are now saying: “Oh, here we go with the Race Card again”; but I did not create the “Race Card” America, you did and whether or not you are willing to admit it “Racism” is still very previlent in the fabric of our society! If you don’t believe me, just watch Fox News sometimes and you will see it clearly unless you are just blind or totally ignorant! So Michael, God forgives you and I do too!

Posted by James Sherrod | Report as abusive