The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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No place for felons in football

NFL should sack Vick for the final time

The NFL should take the initiative to develop a clear standard for dealing with felons by taking a strong stand against serious crimes. This undoubtedly calls for suspending Michael Vick indefinitely after he emerges from prison. The debate over Vick, and other criminal athletes, has dominated the American headlines for too long.

Roger Goodell has a unique chance to set a precedent for the NFL, and hopefully all professional sports, that condemns heinous crimes. Goodell cannot just express his “disappointment” in a press conference and welcome Vick back after he serves his prison sentence. This would send a message to young fans, who idolize star football players like Vick, that felonies deserve only a slap on the wrist.

A year or more in prison may seem like enough punishment, but considering Vick’s role in the dog fights, any jail time under 18 months is less punishment than he deserves. Without Vick’s financial backing, house, property and dogs, “Bad Newz Kennels” would never have been able to sponsor dogfights and executions that can only be described as inhumane.

Athletes should not be role models for children all over the world, but they are some of the most recognizable and idolized people due to endorsements and endless press coverage. With publicity and lucrative contracts comes responsibility. Since Vick clearly cannot handle it, he should not be allowed back in the NFL.

When Vick gets out of prison, hopefully he will be rehabilitated and ready to start his life over. He deserves a chance to reenter society and become a law-abiding citizen with a job, just not a job in the NFL. Playing professional sports is a privilege, not a right.

It is time that the NFL starts treating its players as professional athletes as opposed to entertainers. In other professions, such as the practice of law, a lawyer would probably be disbarred for pleading guilty to a felony charge. Odds are a doctor would also lose his license to practice medicine. If the NFL does not hold its professionals to rigorous standards, the players will be reduced to highly paid entertainers and the NFL will be only a slight step up from “professional” wrestling.

The reputation of the NFL, its players and the sanctity of the game itself are riding on Roger Goodell’s decision. Hopefully Goodell will not take this decision as lightly as Michael Vick takes the law.

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