FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Michael Vick fully supports the man who gave him a second chance in the NFL.
The New York Jets quarterback defended NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell while the league and its teams have come under heavy criticism during the past two weeks over how they are dealing with several players facing domestic violence allegations.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” Vick said after practice Sept. 18. “I think some situations are more complicated than others. You’re not going to get it right all the time on the first time. These situations that are arising are situations that we have never dealt with before in the NFL from a PR standpoint, just from a situational standpoint.
“It’s kind of new to everybody. That’s why we’re all talking about it right now.”
Goodell has remained mostly silent during the last two weeks as the NFL has dealt with perhaps its most brutal stretch ever, starting last week when video surfaced that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on felony child-abuse charges and deactivated by the team. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was also removed from the active roster until his domestic violence case is settled. He appealed a ruling in July when he was convicted of assault on a female and communicating threats.
On Sept. 17, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on aggravated assault charges and deactivated after police said he head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances, and punched her in the face the next day.
“There’s a lot going on and there’s a lot of issues that are taking place and I think in due time, they’ll all be cleaned up,” Vick said. “But it’s kind of hard right now. Hopefully, everything will resume (to) normal in the next couple of months. We just can’t continue to keep feeding into it. Every day, there’s a new story that’s being written about and being talked about. We don’t seem to let it go.”
The pressure has increased during the last several days from lawmakers, sponsors and fans who have taken issue with whether the NFL is acting swiftly enough to investigate or discipline players.
“Nobody’s perfect,” Vick said. “Nobody can make the correct decisions right then and there on the spot when faced with all forms of adversity.”
Vick dealt directly with Goodell when he was suspended in 2007 and reinstated after serving nearly two years in prison for his role in a dog fighting ring.
“You’ve got to give the man a chance,” Vick said of Goodell. “You’ve got to give everybody a chance to get it right. You see that the other teams that are dealing with it now are making the right decisions based on what’s happened in weeks prior. You’ve got to give people a chance, man.
“You’re not going to get it right all the time the first time.”
Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, currently on the practice squad, was arrested and charged with domestic violence and simple assault on Aug. 31. The NFL is reviewing the situation under its domestic violence policy, but neither Enunwa nor the team has commented.
As a member of the practice squad, Enunwa is not on the active 53-player roster, so he is not eligible to play in games. Enunwa, whose next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 1, has continued to practice with the team. He was a sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska in May.
Despite the tumultuous time in the league, Jets coach Rex Ryan doesn’t think it’s getting tougher to deal with players’ off-field conduct. He said the team regularly brings in specialists to speak to players about a variety of issues, to try to educate them before they face any problems.
“How different was it from 15 years ago or whatever? I’m not sure it was a whole lot different,” Ryan said. “It just seems like it’s out there front and center now, some of these issues.”
(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)