HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

August 13, 2007
A Prehensile Precis

Lawrence R. Velvel


Professors Diane Sullivan and Holly Vietzke, of the Massachusetts School of Law, recently wrote an op-ed piece demanding the suspension of NFL quarterback Michael Vick after being indicted on charges of animal cruelty. This piece, published in several newspapers (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hartford Courant, Lowell Sun, and Andover Townsman), points to the recent inconsistencies of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in his punishment of NFL players.

Goodell has said, “The highest standards of conduct must be met by everyone in the NFL because it is a privilege to represent the NFL, not a right.” In the past, say Sullivan and Vietzke, Goodell has followed the direction given in this statement, suspending players like Tank Johnson for eight games after violating his probation on gun charges. Now, Goodell diverts from his own called “’standards of conduct.’” Vick’s ghastly acts tarnish the NFL, continued the two professors, yet has not sufficed for suspension. One is left asking whether Vick’s popularity, “sport[ing] the league's second-highest selling jersey,” has anything to do with Goodell’s decision not to suspend, they say.


The views expressed in A Prehensile Precis do not represent those of the Massachusetts School of Law.


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