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Trying To Understand Vick's Reinstatement (and Subsequent Reactions and Overreactions)

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News of Michael Vick's reinstatement is kind of old cheese -- I mean it was almost 24 hours ago! -- but the questions about the terms of his reinstatement and general reaction to the whole thing are fresh fodder. ↵

↵I was immediately puzzled by this "conditional reinstatement" that 1. allows Vick to sign with a team but 2. doesn't allow him to play in a game until the third and fourth preseason games and then 3. will also not allow him to play until Week 6 of the regular season. ↵

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↵It's not often discussed that Vick was actually kept away from Falcons camp back in '07 by the commish, so it's not to say that he hasn't already been somewhat disciplined. And this action, which Rich Eisen compared to Goodell putting Vick on the Physically Unable to Perform list (saying PUP list seems inappropriate with Vick), seems incredibly arbitrary. I fall in the camp of players like Terrell Owens, Deion Sanders and Chris Johnson, all of whom were somewhere between disappointed and outraged that Vick isn't being reinstated into the NFL unconditionally. ↵

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↵It's no great surprise, but not everyone agrees. For the "THERE WILL BE BLOOD!" take, we sample SI's Peter King: ↵

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↵⇥I think it's silly to think Vick should serve no penalty. ↵
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↵And jail was what again? Moving along. ↵

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↵⇥Johnson joined Owens and Sanders -- who previously said two years in jail was enough of a punishment for Vick -- by saying on Twitter that he was angry Vick was getting more forced time off. The damage he did to the image of the game, and the gambling, and his serial lying to the commissioner and his owner and his GM ... That all can't be swept under the rug. ↵
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↵OK, wait, I feel as though I'm in some sort of bizarro world where Vick got the Donte Stallworth sentence here for killing a person. He did go to jail, right? ↵

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↵⇥Vick has to pay for it. And now he will. All in all, I think it's a fairly lenient price for Vick to pay. ↵
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↵Well, that made my head hurt a little bit. ↵

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↵For what seems like in more reasonable take on the subject, I turn it over to FOX's Alex Marvez, who shines the light on an issue that not enough people are talking about today: ↵

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↵⇥I believe that Goodell's heart is in the right place. He wants the disgraced quarterback to rebuild his shattered existence. Goodell also doesn't want Vick to make the same mistakes that led to this NFL embarrassment in the first place. Holding reinstatement over Vick's head through the first six regular-season games should get the intended results. ↵⇥

↵⇥But Goodell's ruling again shows the biggest problem with the personal conduct policy he instituted in April 2007. Goodell's power is unchecked and growing. ↵⇥

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↵Hammer meets nail with that last point. I ask again, why is Week 6 the time for reinstatement, and why are there these quasi-restrictions on the preseason? Show me the chart. Show me the guideline. Is this like that South Park episode where we find out we're handing out bailouts based on chickens' heads being lopped off? (Slightly graphic, but cartoony, clip.) ↵

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↵And, I know, I'm inviting the fire-and-brimstone, never-done-anything-wrongers to jump down my neck, but jump, I say! The guy did 19 months in jail plus a few more months on top of things at home. So while everyone needs a bad guy, a lot of this holier-than-thou talk strikes me as the latest example of fans wanting to crucify someone so they can feel better about themselves and sleep at night. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.