The National Football League  lifted its suspension on former Virginia Tech football star quarterback Michael Vick, clearing the way for a team to sign him to play in the upcoming season.

Assuming, of course, that any team is willing to sign the convicted felon who ran a dogfighting ring while playing for both Tech and the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise. Somebody probably will but some teams, like The Washington Redskins, actually show some moral courage and say “no way.”

In most circumstances, I believe a person who served their time for a crime deserves a chance at redemption but Vick got off with an incredibly light sentence and has not shown any real remorse for his crimes.

Like his criminally-delinquent brother Marcus , Michael Vick is just another example of Tech football coach Frank Beamer’s willingness to recruit thugs and misfits in order to produce winning football teams for the school’s grandiose, but unnecessary, football program.

Testimony during his trial showed Vick ran in dogfighting circles while at Tech. An investigation into Vick’s involvement in dogfighting rings in Southwestern Virginia was quashed after Tech officials intervened. Blacksburg and Montgomery County police officers tell me their departments were too often forced to cover up Vick’s run-ins with the law because of pressure from Tech officials. The school also threw its weight around when other athletes got into trouble. Sources within the area’s law enforcement agencies tell me much of this would have come out in trial if Vick had not copped a plea which makes me wonder what role Tech played in Vick’s deal with the government.

Comments Norfolk-area resident Kevin Soule on Reuters Blog:

Apparently most people just don’t get it. Michael Vick is a thug, his whole life people have been sweeping his troubles under the rug. I live in Norfolk, VA and am well aware of the cover up of his problems starting when he was in junior high school, through Virginia Tech and now the National Football League.

Techsideline.Com columnist Will Stewart says Beamer gets too close to his players and their families and this hurts Tech:

He gets so close to his players and their families that he can’t hand out the harsh discipline required to reel the kids in. Beamer and his staff have noted for years that when they recruit these players, they promise their families that they’ll take care of them. So when the kids step out of line, often repeatedly, the coaching staff treats them like you would your own son, giving them second chances, and more.

This approach is a kind, caring approach. It works well on the recruiting trail, because it creates a family atmosphere at Virginia Tech, and recruits and their families respond positively to it. They trust Frank Beamer and his staff to care for their sons. But when athletes embarrass the university, it angers the fan base and reflects poorly on Virginia Tech — and lately, Frank Beamer himself.

Beamer should have lost his job over his cover-ups of the criminal acts of both Michael and Marcus Vick but Tech has become a school more interested in big-time college football glory than education. It’s a shame that an educational institution once known more for its world-class engineering school and agriculture programs is now the poster child for pampered athletes and deranged students that go on murder rampages or decapitate their ex- lovers.

Vick does not deserve to ever play again in the NFL and, if there was any real justice in this whole despicable mess, Beamer would be fired and banned from college football. But if that happened, he’d probably get hired as an NFL coach and sign Michael Vick as his quarterback.

(Updated Aug. 1, 1009, to include new material)