If NFL didn't know, it should have

As image-conscious as the National Football League is, it is hard to believe that their hands are absolutely clean in the Michael Vick saga.

Going back as far as 1972 when I began working at the now-demolished Omni Coliseum, the National Basketball Association, NFL, Major League Baseball and the other professional sports teams had retained retired FBI agents and other law enforcement officers to monitor the conduct of their players and their associates. With Vick being the face of the Atlanta Falcons organization, it is absolutely unbelievable that league and team security would not have paid particular attention to Vick's off the field activities.

A strong argument can be made that if the NFL and the Falcons didn't know about the dogfighting and gambling, it should have known. By extension, this means that it should have known Vick wasn't being honest when he first spoke with NFL officials. If they knew and said nothing, what does that say about them?

Considering the overwhelming support the Falcons have received in Atlanta's black community since Vick's arrival, were NFL officials sitting back to let the criminal justice system do something they were afraid to do? Or, if they knew and said nothing, was it because they didn't expect more from Vick off the field?

The fact that these questions have not been raised, or amplified, shows the influence that the league has over the media. It's almost as if the writers and columnists on the sports pages are reprinting press releases that they receive from the teams and the league. Perhaps they should begin their articles with the following disclaimer: "This article is written by a person who does not want to lose credentials to NFL press boxes or the Super Bowl, where we are wined and dined liked royalty."

Reggie Williams, Atlanta

(The writer is a former general manager of the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.)

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