It's clear after the Falcons' press conference today. The Falcons don't plan on standing by Michael Vick as he awaits resolution of federal dogfighing charges. They don't want anything to do with him. The team claims they wanted to suspend Vick for four games. How they contemplate a future where Vick can rejoin the team after missing training camp and four games is beyond me. So, it's clear.
Arthur Blank reacted with his emotions. The possibility of an indictment has been on the table for months. Still, today Blank is "disappointed" in Michael Vick. That's cool if you're getting over a breakup with a dreamy guy. But this is football. It's about wins and losses. I'm a grown woman and I can suck up any embarrassment I have as a fan for the sake of winning. Blank is a girl though. He's wallowing in betrayal like a teenager. The Falcons' stance against Vick makes no rational sense. Defensive Tackle Jonathan Babineaux allegedly killed a puppy with his bare hands and he's still on the roster. Safety Jimmy Williams just caught a marijuana charge. He's still on the roster. Patrick Kearney was injured for most of last season AND had a woman allegedly raped in his home and he wasn't dismissed from the roster before he signed with Seattle.
Blank kept saying over and over in the presser that he told Michael about the people he hung out with and that Vick should focus on his his legal issues. Blank can't tell Vick what to do. He thought he could. Now the Falcons are rebuilding. I think Blank realized just this week that he ain't Michael Vick's goddamn daddy.
Blank couldn't have been making a "football" decision. Maybe it's that time of the month for him?
You can't say out of one side of your mouth that the Vick you read about in the indictment wasn't the Vick you knew and then say out the other side Joey Harrington is your starter for the season. At least talk to me about Daunte Culpepper. Say you're starting the search for the QB of the future by giving DJ Shockley snaps. I only crave a football decision, not a specific reprieve for Vick. This is a team that hasn't had two winning seasons in a row! Yet Rich McKay and Arthur Blank still feel they enjoy the luxury of having a "character" team. Whatever that means.
Like Falcons management isn't culpable... What kind of negligent is the Falcons' management to not know Vick enjoyed a little dog play? Rich McKay said with a straight face that he didn't even realize people indulged in dog fighting. That sort of ignorance on the part of the general manager does a lot to explain the Falcons' receiving core.
The league and the Falcons can't possibly believe that something significant will happen in Vick's legal matter before now and the beginning of the season. That's a scant two months away. They will be lucky to have a discovery hearing between now and then. Unless... They want Vick to plead out and resolve this situation for then. Yeah, that's the move of a "character" organization. Force a guy to sacrifice his freedom to avoid the company embarrassment. A trial happening during the season is possible, but not likely. "Scooter" Libby was tried in the same district court and his indictment to trial journey took about 2 years. Some of the most major convictions of dog fighters have taken from nine months to over two years, even in federal court.
For the record, it doesn't take a superlawyer to glance at this case and reasonably entertain the possibility that Michael Vick can beat the charges. The federal government hastily threw together a case within a couple of months. The "cooperating witnesses" are most certainly criminal scumbags who might easily be discredited. Plus Michael Vick has unlimited resources for his defense, the defense of his accusers and, ahem, maybe financial influence over some potential witnesses.
If the Falcons and/or the league are genuinely worried about the media circus, they could opt to restrict media access if it's that deep. Hanging Vick out to dry - alone - is not the only solution. Just say clearly that you do or do not stand by Vick. Then it's a non story. At least from the "will they or won't they" perspective. ESPN will obsess, but that's what they do. And they're going to do it whether Vick is playing or not. If he was on the field, at least there would be a chance to turn it into a conversation about winning. As for the mainstream media.... Lindsay Lohan just caught a case. Michael Vick is not going to be the lead story generally.
This isn't going to end well. The Falcons are cursed as losers. Blank and his orange apron aren't going to work any magic. Michael Vick will probably find a way to clear himself of the charges and then Falcons management will look like assholes and they will have burned their bridges. I'm not surprised that the Falcons are shunning Vick, but I'm mad as a fan. And if Blank can act like a bitch, I can pout too. I bet the Cincinnati Bengals won't have a half empty stadium this season.