06/13/09 — Opinion - Goddell must take strong stance

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Opinion - Goddell must take strong stance

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 13, 2009 11:11 PM

Finally, someone is showing some good, old-fashioned common sense.

It seems to be missing these days in a society that frequently issues second chances like a traffic officer who writes tickets for 15-minute parking violations in New York City.

For some reason, we feed off the negative and forget the positive ideals that we're supposed to set for ourselves, our families and our communities. Obviously, it's difficult to live up those morals on a daily basis and we all slip at a certain point, but not to the degree of some people.

That's why I have to say "thank you" to Thomas Dimitroff, general manager of the Atlanta Falcons and federal bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro. It's evident they are sick and tired of Michael Vick, and his attorneys.

Who can blame them?

Dimitroff announced Friday that Atlanta has relinquished its contractual rights to Vick.

Amen. It's about time.

Santoro, earlier in the week, addressed Vick's bankruptcy plan that hinged on Vick earning a salary from his construction job and once again playing in the NFL. The judge smartly trashed that scheme and gave Vick's attorneys another deadline to come up with a better solution.

Amen. It's about time.

Now, let's hope Roger Goodell follows suit.

The NFL Commissioner has an opportunity to use Vick as an example -- not only for his league, but for professional sports in general. Goodell has not committed to reinstating Vick after the quarterback completes his 23-month sentence July 20 for running a dogfighting ring.

Vick got his second chance by receiving a lesser sentence for committing a heinous crime. The Hokie has left the pokey, but don't give him the opportunity to return to the NFL.

Goodell should impose a lifetime ban on Vick, who deserves nothing better than learning the rigors of a 9-5 job and accepting the fact he has been reduced to an average tax-paying citizen.

Oh, let's not forget Alex Rodriguez. The beloved Yankee admitted his steroid abuse, but did Bud Selig slap the All-Star with a 50-game suspension?


A-Rod takes batting practice every day, plays on a regular basis and draws a paycheck.

How is he ANY different than Manny Ramirez?

Ramirez is a colorful, yet controversial character who has tremendous fan support like Rodriguez. Manny, unlike A-Rod, stepped up to the plate, accepted his penance and took a major paycut.

Amen, Manny. Let your example be a standard for other professional athletes to follow in the future.

Twenty years ago, professional sports faced its own recession. Tired, over-the-hill athletes filled rosters in every sport and franchise owners chomped at the bit to get young blood infused into their respective teams.

But it seems the almighty dollar has caused the biggest infusion. Instead of punishing the athletes with suspensions and paycuts, the owners have sent the message "It's OK. Don't do it again."

They don't want to take a hit in their pockets or bank accounts.

What kind of example does that set for America's youth?

Education should always start at home. But in a society of second chances, what kind of message are we sending children when they see athletes who commit crimes or get caught using illegal substances face little or no discipline?

Where is the good, old-fashioned common sense?