FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank answers questions about Michael Vick at the NFL owners meetings:

Q: Do you think he’ll be back?

Blank: “I don’t know, but if I had to guess I would say yes. It would depend on the coach. It would depend on the owner.

“I think the commissioner has to reach a conclusion in his opinion. There’s no question that Michael’s paid his debt to society, obviously. But beyond that, the commissioner has to decide whether or not Michael — based on his view — has not only the personal remorse, but has conducted himself not only personally but with who he’s associated with in a way that’s going to allow him to be a player in the NFL and represent our league well. That’s a decision the commissioner will make.”

Q: Do you want him back in the league, personally?

Blank: “I believe in second chances. I believe in redemption. But the commissioner needs to satisfy himself that Michael’s not only going through his own journey but is prepared to make other decisions that he’s made in the past — both personally and who he associates himself with is a very big part of that. So right now, from what I’ve read, (Vick) is committed to getting his life back in order first, then his family and his own personal life, and at the same time looking to the future in the National Football League. That was pretty clear going through the bankruptcy proceedings.”

Q: What sort of backlash will a team face?

Blank: “I have no idea. I mean, I don’t know. Obviously, I read, as you probably all did, that he’s had conversations with the Humane Society and is prepared to be a spokesperson for them, which is a positive step.

“I think the owner would probably have to go through the same process that the commissioner would, satisfy himself or herself that Michael is ... it goes beyond paying the price, because clearly he’s done that. But whether or not he’s a different person than he was back in December of 2006, the last time he played a game in the NFL, and whether or not he’s surrounding himself in an environment that’s going to allow him to be a productive person and productive player and productive team member in the league.”

Q: Have you talked to him?

Blank: “I have not spoken to him face to face. I have indicated that I would do anything that I can do on a personal level that would be constructive and productive for Michael, and that still hasn’t changed. But we’ve certainly been in communication.”

Q: Those who say he doesn’t deserve a chance, what are your thoughts?

Blank: “I don’t really get into those discussions. Everybody has their views on that and I respect that, etc. That’s for other people to debate.

“Michael and I have written each other. Right now, he’s in a car, he’s driving from Kansas to Virginia. Hopefully he makes the trip safely.”

Q: Will you try to trade him?

Blank: “Obviously, we have his contractual rights. We own those rights. At the appropriate time, we’ve made it clear Michael’s not going to play for us again, as you know. Right now his salary is being tolled so it has no effect on our cap, beyond the allocation of signing bonus, which happens under any circumstances. So we’ll deal with it at the time we think is correct.

“We’ll deal with the contractual rights at some juncture. Whether or not that means he’s going (to) have an opportunity to play again in the NFL will depend on the commissioner’s ruling. And whether or not the commissioner lifts his suspension or not, Michael has to make the determination if he’s going to play the National Football League or the UFL. My guess is that if the commissioner lifts the suspension in the National Football League and clubs have an interest in him, he would prefer to play in the National Football League as opposed to the UFL. I don’t know that, but I would suppose that.”

Q: What do you think will figure into his potential reinstatement?

Blank: “It goes beyond has he paid his debt to society, because I think that from a legal standpoint and financially and personally, he has. Whether or not Michael, what’s the word, remorse gets used. But it goes beyond words. It goes beyond how he’s going to live and how he’s going to live personally and how he’s going to live in the community with others. And clearly, based on what happened over a number of years, a lot of the issues related to Michael were acts that he has to take responsibility for and he has, I think, personally.

“But also, what contributed a great deal to that, was the people that Michael spent time with and the influence they had on him. His ability to separate those people who can be helpful and productive and have them in his life now versus ones that really have another agenda, their own agenda and not his, I think that’s going to be very critical for Michael now, as it is for all of us. But it’ll be very critical for Michael now.

“There’s the expression, you are what you eat. To some extent, you are who you hang with, too, and that does have an effect on lives for all of us.”

Q: Will you offer your opinion to the commissioner?

Blank: “The subject of Michael Vick has been an ongoing point of discussion with the commissioner and I over the last three years, unfortunately in a negative way.”

Q: Will you share the letters you wrote and received with the commissioner?

Blank: “I absolutely would share them with the commissioner. Roger is a very good listener, but he also is a very good decision maker. And I think beyond listening to a lot of people, Roger’s very insightful, in my opinion. He’ll spend time with Michael and draw his own personal conclusion on where he is on his journey and decide at that point if he feels the suspension should be lifted or not.”

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Tags

This Week's Circulars