Sunday, December 16, 2007
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
The local NFL team taught us a couple of lessons this week, mainly that money can't always buy you happiness - or freedom.
Within 24 hours of their supended star quarterback being sentenced to 23 months in prison on dogfighting charges, the Atlanta Falcons also lost their coach. While Michael Vick left the team due to his brush with the law, head coach Bobby Petrino left on his own accord, leaving to be the coach at the University of Arkansas with three games remaining in the season.
Petrino's departure was the latest punch to the gut for the Falcons and their owner, Arthur Blank. The founder of Home Depot is a millionaire many times over, but in these two cases, he put his money on the wrong people.
Blank used the word "betrayed" in describing his feelings at the departure of Petrino, whom he lured from the University of Louisville with a salary of nearly $5 million per year. And that word is appropriate for Blank's feelings toward Vick as well.
The quarterback, who never came clean about his involvement in dogfighting until it was too late, was reminded again on Monday of the price of deceit. Because of his "less than truthful" statements about killing pit bulls, Vick received a 23-month sentence, longer than the federal sentencing guidelines called for.
Vick's sentencing came on the day ESPN's cameras were in town for Monday Night Football. A 34-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints only added to Blank's embarrassment, which grew again the following day after Petrino's abrupt departure.
A tough season turned even tougher this week for Blank and the Falcons, who play at Tampa Bay today. And now the only bright spot is that a season to forget is almost over.