VETTEL: Vick Must Sit

The federal indictment against Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick has created a furor of discussion as to how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should react. Many of my colleagues in the media indicate that the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty should take precedence. Those who feel that way are simply out of their minds.

Vick should be suspended indefinitely and should remain off the field until and unless he is cleared of all charges. There are a number of reasons why the NFL should take such strong action.

This is a FEDERAL indictment ----- While local prosecutors will often use an indictment for political purposes or to generate pressure on someone to accept a plea, federal indictments are much different. When someone goes to court on a federal change, he/she is convicted more than 90 percent of the time. Ask Scooter Libby if the feds aren't serious.

The Charges are Despicable ----- Vick is not merely accused of allowing dog fighting in a home he owns. He is accused of purchasing, training, torturing and killing animals. He is accused of doing so in multiple states. He is accused of establishing "front" companies to cover up the activities.

The Pac Man Factor ----- The NFL's pre-eminent bad boy has never been indicted or charged with a felony and yet is suspended for the upcoming season. Vick has not been convicted, but a federal indictment is about as strong as it gets.

Playing in the NFL is not a "right" ----- Certainly Vick has the right to earn a living while he fights these charges. But he does not have the right to play in the National Football League. Tank Johnson and Pac Man also can get work elsewhere, but the NFL can and should set its own standards. There is no way on earth a league that sits Johnson and Jones can turn a blind eye to this far more egregious accusation.

I think Michael Vick is an amazing talent who could be one of the stars of the NFL for years to come. Perhaps he is innocent of these charges, but that's irrelevant. No athlete should ever be allowed to compete while under indictment. For that matter, no reporter or broadcaster should be allowed on the air, either. If you disagree, let me ask you this, should a person indicted on charges of being a pedophile be allowed to continue working at a pre-school while fighting the accusation?

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