Michael Vick is banned from training camp until the NFL completes a review of his federal indictment for dogfighting.
What am I to think of this?
Is the NFL just laying low until Falcons practices go private and/or the NBA scandal evolves into a full blown nuclear meltdown?
Or is the NFL just laying the groundwork, with the blessing of Upshaw the Castrated, for Vick's indefinite suspension?
Did a few dozen PETA protesters really scare the NFL?
Does Arthur Blank need reprieve from making a big boy decision? Still, he has to be irritated that the NFL has essentially impaired his ability to get money back from Michael Vick if he decides to discipline him. Apparently, Vick's contract has a penalty for missing the opening of training camp. Because Vick's hearing is on the first day of training camp, he would automatically be in violation and potentially have to repay the Falcons some of his signing bonus. The NFL has resolved that potential issue in favor of Vick.
There is some good news today. The authorities in Surry County, Virginia decided they wouldn't pile on and press charges against Vick. And Vick hired a competent advocate - Billy Martin. ESPN has convicted Vick already. The NFL isn't sure. Blank isn't sure. Upshaw doesn't have a clue. Billy Martin is an aggressive lawyer. He has defended Jayson Williams and Monica Lewinsky. The signs say Vick isn't going to plead out. At least somebody has his back. Hopefully, Billy Martin will advise Vick to make an appearance this week before his court date. The "perp walk" can't be the first image that the public has seen of you in months. After that, I hope he demands that the Falcons cut Vick and take the salary cap hit, before they put him on some bullshit leave. See, that's where Upshaw's shortcomings become clear. Gene Upshaw's sole purpose at work is to be an advocate for the NFL players. First and foremost, that means he defends the rights of an NFL player to be PAID and to PLAY. PERIOD. Until Donald Fehr is cloned on behalf of the NFL players, hopefully Billy Martin will step up to defend Vick.
And right now it appears Billy Martin might be the only one defending the Falcons faithful. If Vick doesn't play this season, the Falcons season is done before it started. But, if Vick is gone for the indefinite future, we are officially in rebuilding mode. That means not just season but two or three after it - at least.
But, quietly, is Vick really being punished right now? He gets to sit out training camp with full pay! How many other veterans would like to be inside their home theaters catching up on their stories or back episodes of The Meadowlands? Doesn't everybody hate training camp? The NFL Conduct Policy is in such disarray now. Goodell is just making stuff up as he goes now. The indictment only takes about 30 minutes to review. They don't need more time. They just don't know what to do. Hopefully, Billy Martin will have some suggestions.
Arthur Blank speaks at 4 pm. More later.