Okay, so now we have moved on to Stage 2 of the Continuing Saga of the Summer of Seven. Stage 1, like most problems, is admitting that there is a problem. That part got taken care of when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond took the information they had to a grand jury and that Grand Jury issued indictments based on that information.
Just Stay Away...
So, here we are a week after the indictment and the second act begins. It begins with the NFL handing down a letter to Mr. Michael Vick stating, "Do not attend training camp until we’ve had a chance to further review your situation" (that may be a paraphrase—but you get the gist of it).
This part of the story from multiple published reports was born out of Mr. Vick deciding that he didn’t think he needed to skip camp (this isn’t a joke). The NFL, the NFLPA and the Atlanta Falcons all felt that yes, he did need to skip camp. That, at least temporarily, created a bit of an impasse.
That impasse was resolved when the Commissioner of the NFL (and by the way...what a crappy time to be a pro-sports commissioner right now) Roger Goodell came down with the "Letter."
Why a Letter?
The Jolly Roger came up with this letter according again to "Published Reports" because the Falcons were going to just "Suspend Vick for 4 Games."
That would have been a disaster. The NFLPA would have been forced to contest the suspension, it would have ended up in the hands of an arbitrator and all the while, Mr. Vick would have been able to play.
I had the chance to attend the Atlanta Falcons Press Conference regarding Mr. Vick this past Tuesday. Roughly 20 or so cameras, 40-50 reporters, and a couple of protestors outside the building attended the presser.
I do have to compliment the Falcons on this—they have tried to be as upfront as they can be considering the legal ramifications of what is going on (they can’t officially say much). Despite this, they have to try and explain why they don't want the face/highest-paid player/starting quarterback to be around the team right now. Team Owner Arthur Blank went as far as to say, "Mike should consider sitting out and getting his house in order right now."
That is what it boils down to—getting his house in order. You can talk all you want about how "He has to be guilty," "He’s done," "He should be locked up for what he's done," etc. The fact is, as of right now, it hasn’t been proven that he has done any of the things he’s accused of. Even Michael Vick is innocent until proven guilty, that is still how things are supposed to work here in the U.S.
How will they cope?
That will be Act 3. The Falcons will survive. A certain part of their fan base will be disappointed because they probably will not have a "great" season this year. They’ll blame it on not having their Quarterback.
That won’t have anything to do with it. The fact of the matter is that they are a team in the beginning stages of a complete overhaul and won’t be good for another year or two. They will eventually be a good football team, but it more than likely will not be with Michael Vick at the helm. That isn’t to say that he is going to be convicted in court or not, but rather that he’s played his last game as an Atlanta Falcon and quite possibly his last game in the NFL.
“The Time has come, my song is over, thought I’d something more to say” Time- Pink Floyd