If Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, wants to step up and truly set an example to the 255 members of this year’s draft class his choice of one speaker certainly questions his view on the Michael Vick dog fighting situation. It was reported by the CBS SportsLine and news organizations across the United States that during the meeting this week Goodell was concerned about “how they become not only great NFL players, but how do they become great men?” Goodell constantly states that the conduct issue is one of his priorities and therefore one of the players chosen to speak at this meeting was slightly inconsistent with his stance on conduct. According to the report speakers included Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Romeo Crennel – all good people, no problems so far – and then Jonathan Vilma.
Jonathan Vilma of the New York Jets (he who puts his foot in his mouth by comparing dog fighting to horse racing) is listed as one of the speakers. Now is Vilma the best choice by Roger Goodell or his colleagues that organize these meetings? What did Vilma have to say to the draft class about standing up to issues but then again the NFL has certainly not set an exemplary position about taking a stand against dog fighting. “Curiouser and curiouser” says Alice in Alice in Wonderland and it appears that Roger Goodell and the NFL’s head in the sand position on the horrors and cruelty of dog fighting and not speaking out to players, coaches and staff could be straight from Wonderland.
Mr Goodell, please do better than passing the buck as Vick seems to do and make each team owner and coach aware that the NFL is against dog fighting. A good first step would be to send out The Humane Society of the United States’ fact sheet about dog fighting to these owners and coaches and perhaps reminding them that a majority of NFL fans own a pet and these are the people that pay the salaries.