Predictably, Michael Vick's ugly legal problems has put the NFL in a difficult spot and for the time being, commissioner Roger Goodell has punted.
According to reports, Goodell is allowing Vick to participate with the Falcons while the judicial process plays out. There are two problems facing the league by taking this tack -- and I'm not arguing that it's the wrong thing to do, just that there are pitfalls here.
First and most obvious is that Goodell slammed Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones with what will likely amount to a season-long suspension without Jones being convicted of anything. Of course, we all know the circumstances with Jones -- multiple police contacts and multiple arrests in the last two years. But the move does invite the criticism of special treatment for special people.
Perhaps a little less obvious is that, as the legal process drags on, more evidence may come to light about Vick's alleged involvement in the dogfighting operation at a Virginia property he used to own. The media will be scouring for more witnesses and even details that are known to investigators but were not included in the federal government's grand jury indictment. And the government itself will likely continue its investigation and details about that may leak out.
If there are any more smoking guns out there, the league will be under enormous pressure if it perseveres with the "wait until the legal process runs its course" position.
I think Goodell is doing the only thing he can at this moment. But I also believe he should be open to reviewing the current stance if the circumstances warrant it.
Photo credit: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun