Vick to plead guilty

Michael Vick's lawyers said Monday that the embattled Atlanta Falcons' quarterback will cooperate with federal prosecutors and plead guilty to dogfighting conspiracy charges, ESPN reports.

Amidst criticism from animal-rights activists, National Football League administrators, and law enforcement officials, the NFL star could now face up to $250,000 in fines, five years in jail, and a long suspension, if not permanent expulsion, from his lucrative career.

Vick may have announced his plea just in time. Less than a month after he pleaded not-guilty amid a circus-like atmosphere in Richmond, a grand jury met Monday to consider possibly bringing more charges against the Newport News native and former Virginia Tech star, including racketeering. Three of Vick's co-defendants have already made deals to testify against him.

The announcement of the plea, though likely to reduce Vick's sentence and rule out additional charges, is more bad news for his multi-million dollar career that hangs in the balance. When dogfighting allegations first surfaced, Vick personally assured NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he was innocent of any wrongdoing. Now he has been caught in what appears to be a high-profile lie to the league czar and others.

Although the NFL is still conducting its own investigation and Commissioner Goodell has yet to hand down any punishment more severe than banning Vick from Falcons' training camp, allegations of betting on dog fights spell further trouble for Number Seven. Under NFL personal conduct policy, all gambling is strictly forbidden, and breach of these rules results in a lifetime ban from the sport.

The debates of those who have followed the Vick saga have almost certainly changed quickly in the past week. It's no longer a question of "Will he go to jail?" but "For how long will he go?" And no longer will sports columnists and pundits debate his credentials as a pocket passer or critique the modern role of the running quarterback, but instead people will ask the question, "Will Michael Vick ever again play football on the national stage?"

#

8 comments

Yes, backwoodslawyer, moral pronouncements about Vick's behavior should be more nuanced. Since there are other people who act like Vick does we should not be so harsh in our judgment. Indeed since a number of people get away with murder every year that should be taken into consideration whenever a murderer is tried for his crime and he should be treated less harshly.

If they were his dogs, he should be able to do what he wants.

There is more to this story than the terrible animal abuse. There is also the lying and gambling and lawbreaking and corruption. Michael Vick had respect and fame and fortune. And he didn't achieve all of that by himself. He has BETRAYED every single person who has ever supported him. Michael Vick is now just a common criminal. The folks who still support him are in denial.

John imagine yourself hanging or drowning a dog, would you watch the animal thrash around as he suffered and suffocated, or would you simply lynch him and walk away? Now, think about Michael Vick engaging in this behavior. Why would a person of his wealth and prestige take time away from the many fun and fulfilling ways he could be occupying his time with to lynch dogs? What sort of human being is Michael Vick? What sort of human being is John?

John if you believe that then you should work to repeal the numerous state and federal laws that Vick violated. I would suggest that you go down to the hearing next week in Richmond with a sign that reflects your beliefs.
No time like the present!

John, perhaps if you tried to stand up a little straighter, your knuckles wouldn't drag.

Out of the Woods:

What you describe is exactly what happens in murder cases. In all murder cases with a guilty verdict, the court hears lots of information about the defendant's background before sentencing. In other words, those things are taken into consideration, and yes, sometimes murderers are treated less harshly than would satisfy bloggers.

My point is that all of the over-wrought moral pronouncements are pretty cheap. It is too easy to have a strong opinion on something like this, and to have the other members of the public jury congratulate you on your self-righteousness.

I would rather let our justice system work. If left to the blogosphere, I am almost certain Vick would be executed. He is in federal court with a hard-nosed judge. Let the system do its work.

I have not heard of any other dog-fighting prosecutions in recent memory. Remember, both fornication and adultery remain crimes in the state of Virginia. Both are a "way of life", for some people, and not some innocent mistake. Both also involve lying and some level of moral corruption.

Personally, I find dog-fighting reprehensible, but the bandwagon of people making stark moral pronouncements against the man is a little trite. Worse, why aren't other blood sports (e.g. foxhunting, boxing, mma, cockfighting, etc.) receiving the same outrage and prosecution?

I am aware of a case in Central Virginia where someone was charged with stealing dogs he used to train his pit bulls. He got 6 months in jail. My point is that other people are getting far less time for an equally reprehensible crime.