The big story and a longer story

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, August 15, 2009

Of course the last three days as been All Michael Vick, All the Time. It is a big and one-of-a-kind story. The outcome, not that we’re anywhere near the end of the story, was a big outcome, too.

Vick’s going to a city full of rabid, loud NFL fans who boo weddings, cheer when opposing players are on the field injured, have booed Donovan McNabb multiple times and watch their team get upset over and over again in the playoffs as neighbors such as the Patriots, Giants and Steelers win Super Bowls.

From a football, and entertainment perspective, Vick to the Eagles will be great for FOX. It should be good for Vick, too. He’s not going to be the leader of the team. He’s going to an organization with a coach and an owner who won’t be afraid to tell him exactly where he stands, or even if he’ll continue to be with the team. He’ll play a small, but potentially very exciting and visible, role in Philadelphia’s offense.

On Friday, on the surface, Vick’s press conference was the best he could’ve wished for. In a time where there are way too many athlete (and coaches, Mr. Pitino) apologies to go around, Vick’s seemed real. Vick is now, though, one mistake, one poor decision, one bad remark from being gone for good. The Eagles, even as they take a chance with him now when it seemed few other NFL teams were considering it , will be just fine cutting their losses at any moment if Vick’s “second chance” — which is closer to a fourth or fifth chance — goes wrong.

As Vick’s return to the NFL was the breaking news story of the week, another legal matter from the NFL this week will have longer repercussions.

Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Donte’ Stallworth for the 2009-10 season for his drunk driving-involuntary manslaughter conviction.

It’s been 10 years since Leonard Little did generally the same thing and was suspended for eight games by the league. His example is still ridiculed as a slap on the wrist and a reason why some Vick supporters say, “what he did was only to dogs.”

Even after, or maybe a bit because, Stallworth served less than a month in jail, Goodell sentenced Stallworth to the longest suspension he realistically could have.

The court system cared Stallworth was barely over the legal alcohol limit, the man he hit and killed was jaywalking on a dark street and about Stallworth’s sincere remorse. The commissioner didn’t care, because while Vick’s turmoil should be lesson enough about any of Goodell’s employees going into dog fighting in the near future, up until Stallworth’s suspension, drunk driving would’ve seemed a minor violation.