In his most recent blog entry, Mark Madsen shares his thoughts on the Michael Vick situation. In short, he makes an appeal for appeals:
Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL and after many days of deliberation, he and his staff announced the NFL's suspension and Vick's conditional reinstatement to the NFL. I will in no way try to weigh in on Goodell's suspension of Vick. Roger Goodell is the representative of the owners of every single NFL franchise. Goodell is doing his job in the most careful and thorough way that he can. I respect what he has done for the NFL and for the NFL players.
However, there is one glaring issue which as a fellow professional athlete is very troubling. There is no system of checks and balances on the current NFL discipline policy that I can discernibly understand. Major League Baseball appears to have the most complete system of appeals which thus creates a process of checks and balances regarding suspensions, and other disciplinary actions taken by MLB….
As I read about fellow professional athletes such as Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, etc., there are times when I ask myself, where is the appeal process and where is the chance for the athlete to make his case to someone else. Even in a court of law, there are numerous appellate courts including the various state supreme courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Are the NFL's methods for determining disciplinary actions more complete and more foolproof than our current legal system which has been in place and evolving for hundreds of years?
In order to drive his point home, Mark went with the obvious: a comparison between Vick and Marth Stewart. (You should have seen what the guy did with his jail cell.)
After Martha Stewart paid a dear price for the stock sale incident she was not put into another penalty box by the SEC, or the city of New York, the locale where she does a great chunk of her business.
He closes with his vision for the future of the NFL:
Why not create a committee in the NFL made up of recently retired NFL players who have proven to be excellent citizens and team players to help in the discipline process. Receiving discipline from your former peers would be much more palatable than giving the owners seemingly unlimited power in imposing discipline on top of the criminal and legal punishment designated by the legal process.
I know the restaurant business is suffering these days. Maybe Dan Marino’s got a little time to spare for NFL justice.