Former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira thinks Michael Vick should have been fined for the comments he made after Week 3 about not getting calls from referees.
Speaking to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Pereria, who now works as a referee analyst for Fox, said Vick's statement will affect the way officials around the league will call his games. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback said he was frustrated that officials weren't calling more roughing the passers on defenders hitting him. Pereria thought those words were a fineable offense. He told Florio:
"I think what he did was basically throw the 17 referees in the National Football League under the bus and put them in a very difficult position. [...] A referee now based on what Mike said, as far as I'm concerned, is in a lose-lose situation. If he calls roughing the passer on a hit against Michael Vick, then everybody is going to say that they taunted him into the foul. If he doesn't, then they more heap criticism on him based on what Mike said.
"To me, that's a reason why the league should deal with comments made by players. But they traditionally don't."
As usual, Pereira speaks with a rationality usually unseen in NFL circles. There are gray areas in the NFL and this is one of them. Far too often we see things in black and white and lose sight of the middle ground. In this situation, Vick wasn't necessarily wrong for trying to prod officials into calls. That doesn't mean it shouldn't have been dealt with.
Pereira is probably right when he says Vick should have earned some sanction from the NFL, though I disagree with him in how a fine would have affected the situation. Even if Vick were fined, the same scrutiny would be there. The comments don't disappear because a guy cuts a check.
Earlier this week, Pereira analyzed which NFL quarterbacks drew the most roughing the passer penalties over the past 19 games and Vick ranks ninth on the list, behind Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler and others but well ahead of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.