Vick reinstated by NFL
The National Football League announced on Monday that Commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated Michael Vick on a conditional basis. Vick will be considered for full reinstatement and will be eligible to play in regular-season games by Week 6 (October 18-19). He had been suspended indefinitely since August 2007 after pleading guilty to federal charges relating to a dog fighting enterprise. He served 23 months in prison and was released from federal custody on July 20.
Vick, an unrestricted free agent, may now participate in preseason practices, workouts, meetings, and may play in the final two preseason games. During the regular season, Vick can participate in all team activities other than games. Vick will also be evaluated by the commissioner periodically during his suspension and will be mentored by former Colts coach Tony Dungy.
Following are excerpts from Commissioner Goodell’s letter to the 29-year-old quarterback:
* “Among the conditions of this reinstatement, you are required to abide by the terms of the supervised release that were imposed on you by the court, which include not committing any further crime, limits on who you may associate with, prohibitions regarding drug and alcohol use, possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, and forbidding you to own, possess or be involved with the sale of any dog.”
* “Apart from these conditions, you have submitted to me a written plan concerning your proposed living arrangements, how you will manage your financial affairs, counseling and mentoring plans, and your proposed work with the Humane Society and other groups. You have committed to me that you intend to abide by this plan, and as I said when we met, you are accountable for doing so.”
* “I am also encouraged by your recognition that you cannot do this yourself, and that outside mentors and continued counseling will provide you with valuable support and assistance. After discussing possible mentors with you, I have asked Coach Tony Dungy to continue his work with you and to initiate a more formal mentoring relationship with you. Earlier today, we discussed in detail with Coach Dungy the precise nature of that relationship, and I share your view that Coach Dungy can help you in many ways as you rebuild your life and resume your career. I will stay in close touch with Coach Dungy and his views will be part of my decision concerning whether and when you return to play. I encourage you and Coach Dungy to select other mentors and advisors who can help in other phases of your life.”
* “In deciding whether to reinstate a player, I have stressed my belief that playing in the NFL is a privilege. It is not an entitlement. Everyone fortunate enough to be part of the league is held to a standard of conduct higher than that generally expected in society and is correspondingly accountable when that standard of conduct is not met. I have also endorsed an approach under which players who have been suspended for a significant amount of time, as you have been, may through a series of steps demonstrate that they have addressed their prior problems, that they can make good decisions, and that they conduct themselves in a way that is lawful, responsible, and consistent with NFL values.”
* “As I emphasized to you when we met, as I have said in other cases, it is actions that count. I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around and that you intend to be a positive role model for others. I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands.”
* “Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you.”