Goodell won't take action against Eagles' Vick

Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and coach Andy Reid are all smiles at training camp. Goodell later met with Michael Vick.
Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and coach Andy Reid are all smiles at training camp. Goodell later met with Michael Vick.
Posted: August 04, 2010

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Michael Vick will not face discipline from the NFL for the June shooting outside a bar where his birthday was being celebrated, but must now live up to "higher standards," the league said Tuesday, confirming what was widely expected when training camp opened.

"I don't feel it's appropriate to take any disciplinary actions based on the facts that I know from the incident," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after meeting Vick face-to-face for the first time since the June 25 shooting returned attention to the quarterback's off-field behavior.

Instead, "additional support measures" will be provided for Vick, according to an NFL statement. Goodell said the steps would help the quarterback make "better decisions for him and his family," but declined to say what the measures will be.

"These additional steps will remain confidential, but they will require Michael to meet even higher standards," the league statement said.

Goodell also did not specify what "higher standards" will mean for a player who was already under a glaring spotlight when he returned to the NFL after a conviction on dogfighting charges.

When Vick was reinstated to the league last year, Goodell wrote to the quarterback: "Your margin for error is extremely limited."

"People expect more from him. He can't do things that other people can do," Goodell said Tuesday after meeting with Vick for what he estimated was 10 to 15 minutes. "He's going to have to recognize that, understand that that's part of the responsibility he has to this league."

Vick declined comment Tuesday. However, he and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie were scheduled to speak to reporters at Lehigh on Wednesday.

Goodell was visiting Lehigh as part of a training-camp listening tour Tuesday and spoke to the entire team, along with Vick individually.

Vick was not charged with any crime or considered a suspect in the shooting, but many questioned his judgment in hosting a birthday party open to paying club-goers, especially while he still faces restrictions as part of his release from prison.

Goodell said he and Eagles coach Andy Reid expect better judgment in the future.

"I think he gets the message," Goodell said. "He obviously said he was sorry he put everybody in this position and he recognizes he has to make those better decisions."

The formal decision largely confirms an expected result. People close to Vick believed the quarterback would escape punishment, and it was widely held that Vick was in the clear when he reported for training camp July 26 without any restrictions on his participation.

At that time, an NFL spokesman e-mailed reporters that there was "no change in [Vick's] playing status."

Vick has made "significant progress" since reentering the NFL last year but "let himself down" and "can't afford any lapses in judgment," Goodell said in a news conference before announcing his decision.

"He obviously made some tragic errors, some big mistakes, and he paid a heavy price for it," Goodell said.

"I'd like to see him get on the right road. I think he can be more productive in society as a positive role model, hopefully someday," he added.

The decision to forego punishment for the incident comes as details of the party remain murky, at least to the public. The Eagles and NFL said they investigated the incident, but have not shared information about what happened before a man was shot outside the party.

The victim of the June shooting outside a Virginia Beach club has been identified as Quanis Phillips, a codefendant in Vick's dogfighting case. Police, however, have not confirmed his identity, and no one has been charged in the case. The lead prosecutor has said Vick was in a confrontation before the shooting.

When he arrived in Lehigh for training camp, Vick said he knew he was "on thin ice."

"Just the smallest thing will probably have me kicked out of this league or banned forever," he said then.

Goodell also addressed other NFL issues, extolling the benefits of an 18-game regular season with fewer preseason contests.

"We don't think that four preseason games are necessary any longer to get our players ready," Goodell said.

The idea, however, has faced resistance from players who worry that extra games will lead to more injuries.

As for a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, now that New Jersey is getting the first outdoor game in a cold winter climate, Goodell said the league would wait to see how the 2014 game plays out first.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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