Just hours after filing papers in a Virginia court, Michael Vick has been suspended indefinitely without pay by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. This suspension now allows the Atlanta Falcons, Vick’s employers, to recover part of the signing bonus Vick received when he signed his $130 million contract.
Here are excerpts of Goodell’s letter to Vick from NFL.com:
“Your admitted conduct was not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions.”
“Your plea agreement and the plea agreements of your co-defendants also demonstrate your significant involvement in illegal gambling. Even if you personally did not place bets, as you contend, your actions in funding the betting and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL Player Contract and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player.”
“You have engaged in conduct detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the leagueâ€™s Personal Conduct Policy.”
“I will review the status of your suspension following the conclusion of the legal proceedings. As part of that review, I will take into account a number of factors, including the resolution of any other charges that may be brought against you, whether in Surry County, Virginia, or other jurisdictions, your conduct going forward, the specifics of the sentence imposed by Judge Hudson and any related findings he might make, and the extent to which you are truthful and cooperative with law enforcement and league staff who are investigating these matters.”
“I have advised the Falcons that, with my decision today, they are no longer prohibited from acting and are now free to assert any claims or remedies available to them under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or your NFL Player Contract.
Judging from the letter, it seems that Goodell is quite pissed off about the matter. And he should be, Vick essentially came into his office and lied to him about his involvement in this awful mess. Had Vick been straightforward in the matter, he still probably would have been suspended.
Arthur Blank, Falcons owner, fully supported Goodell’s suspension of Vick and issued this statement:
“Today, Michael Vick admitted his guilt to very serious charges related to his earlier indictment. His admissions describe actions that are incomprehensible and unacceptable for a member of the National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons.”
“We respect and support the Commissioner’s decision today to place Michael Vick on an indefinite suspension. As with other actions he has taken this year, the Commissioner is making a strong statement that conduct which tarnishes the good reputation of the NFL will not be tolerated.”
“We hope that Michael will use this time, not only to further address his legal matters, but to take positive steps to improve his personal life.”
Unfortunately all of this won’t take Vick out of the news just yet. He will formally enter his plea in court on Monday and will be sentenced in 1-2 months. I, for one, look forward to the day where this terrible mess is no longer in the news.