Football Star Falls from Grace: Vick Pleads Guilty in Dogfighting Charges
BY JOEY MERKEL
NFL hotshot Michael Vick may have apologized for his role in dogfighting, but students like junior Pat Whelan aren’t satisfied.
“I think Michael Vick should be in jail for at least a year and a half, then should be suspended from the league; the commissioner should suspend him another year,” Whelan said.
Vick is the NFL’s newest convicted felon after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges on Aug. 27 after a plea agreement was drawn up on Aug. 20.
According to the agreement, the former star pled guilty to “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture, in violation of Title 18, Section 371.”
The charges include gambling on dogfights and the killing of dogs using methods such as electrocution and drowning.
Vick is estimated to spend between 12 and 18 months in jail and was immediately suspended from the NFL without pay. He will receive no money from his 10 year, $130 million contract he signed with the Falcons in late 2004.
In response to dogfighting charges, junior Daniel Curran has a mixed opinion.
“Dogfighting’s alright I guess,” Curran said. “What do [the dogs] do in the wild? They fight for territory. [But] the killing of dogs, and the way they were killed, was cruel and not right.”
Officials agree and have punished Vick accordingly. The Falcon’s plea agreement, on top of jail time, states that he must become a government informant against other people involved in the dog fighting world and testify at trials.
Vick must be as available as possible to do any pre-trial conferences or debriefings. Vick will also be subject to polygraph tests if need be. However, there is no requirement for the government to use Vick in any cases.
But Vick’s troubles don’t end there. As soon as these dogfighting allegations began to surface, Nike and Reebok both completely cut ties with Vick. Nike stopped making his shoes, the Air Zoom Vick, which was set to release its fifth model.
Reebok have ceased to produce the number 7 Vick football jerseys. The Donruss trading card company has also announced they will be pulling Vick from any further releases of the 2007 season.
Vick’s problems began Apr. 20, 2007 when Vick’s cousin, Davon Boddie, was arrested on drug charges. Boddie gave his address as 1915 Moonlight Road in Surrey County, Va.
After a legal search of the home on Apr. 25 police found on the dog training facilities including 66 dogs including 55 pit bulls. Police soon came with a second warrant to seize the dogs, which had obviously been subjected to dog fighting and animal cruelty.
On July 6, 2007 after another search, authorities were able to find what the believed to be animal remains.
The climax of the investigation came July 17 when Vick, Tony Taylor, Purnell Peace, and Quanis Phillips were all indicted by a federal grand jury in link to illegal dog fighting.
Vick and his three co-defendants initially pled not guilty before Tony Taylor became the first to step forward just four days later, officially pleading guilty on July 30.
Vick followed suit Aug. 17, along with Peace and Phillips.
On Aug. 20, Vick’s lawyers announced that he and federal prosecutors had reached an agreement, and Vick would plead guilty to his charges.
During a press conference on Aug. 27, Vick took full responsibility for his actions, stating he had given his life over to Jesus and asked for forgiveness.
“We all make mistakes. I made a mistake,” he said.
Vick later went on to discuss how he had let down people that looked up to him, especially young kids.
“I’m disappointed with myself…I hope very young kids watching this interview now will use me as a example on using bad judgment,” Vick said.
Vick will wait until his sentencing on Dec. 10, where he is expected to receive at least one year in jail, and possible further suspension from the NFL following his sentence.