This from ProFootballTalk.com:
"Roddy White, Alge Crumpler, DeAngelo Hall, and Chris Houston were all fined $10,000.
Joe Horn also was fined $7,500 for pulling up White's jersey to reveal his "Free Mike Vick" T-shirt."
The league levied the fines under the auspices of the shirts being a violation of the league's uniform policy. Despite the fact that White's t-shirt was UNDER his uniform jersey. And the league doubled the usual fine for uniform violations. Horn was fined and he apparently wasn't even wearing one of the t-shirts.
Normally, we'd support team mates showing some support for an embattled friend. A fellow gladiator. A mistreated and seemingly purposely misunderstood and misrepresented Negro. Normally.
However, we believe that each of these players should sit out a game. Forfeit a game check.
All of these players have foolishly, though altruistically, played into the hands of the league rulers and the attempt to further demonize Vick.
Certainly, the players watched not long ago as Redskin players wore tribute t-shirts under their game jerseys for Sean Taylor. And, just as certainly, the Falcon players assumed that since the Redskins were not in violation of the uniform policy (they weren't fined) for wearing the t-shirts under the game jerseys; there would be no issue if they did it as well.
The foolishness in all this was that the Falcon players thought for a moment that the NFL Czar of Discipline and Behavior might not expound his traditional arbitrary application of policy and rule. And for somehow forgetting who they were memorializing, the Falcon players should march into their GM's office and let him know that they will not be playing in next week's game as a self imposed penance for their foolishness in believing that the Czar would allow them to memorialize the 'dead' player on their team.
What was supposed to be an act to show Vick that he was not forgotten. That he was still in the hearts of his team mates. That, despite the fact that he was locked up in a money making prison, his spirit and soul were still free. That act of brotherly solidarity and compassion for Vick's well being is now turned into a negative by the NFL's PR machinery.
Instead of it being the unifying and rehabilitative message that it was meant to be, the NFL turned it into some sort of forbidden phantom violation. What was meant to generate positive media representation that might get back to the incarcerated Vick was run through the NFL ringers.
And what got back to Vick (from the NFL) is clear:
You are dead to us.
'Free Mike Vick'?
Mike Vick has been in chains from the first day he put on shoulder pads.
And this well intentioned, though poorly thought out maneuvre by the Falcon players only further tightened the shackles around their own wrists.