According to an article in today's Washington Post, an April 2, 2008, trial date has been set for NFL Falcons QB Michael Vick on Virginia state felony charges related to dogfighting. Vick's lawyer requested a jury trial. On state charges, Vick faces of up to 5 years' imprisonment for each of two charges: beating/killing dogs and/or causing them to fight, and participating in or promoting dogfighting.
Michael Vick admitted both to bankrolling dogfights through his 'Bad Newz Kennels', and to participating in the very cruel deaths of at least six dogs. He surrendered himself to a Virginia jail November 19 to begin serving time for a forthcoming federal sentence. (Judge Henry Hudson is scheduled to formally sentence Vick on federal charges Dec. 10, 2007.) In my opinion, Vick's early reporting to jail is clearly a strategic move on his part, perhaps in hopes of a release date timed to allow him to join in pre-season football practice - one of these years.
The personal financial consequences of Vick's actions and federal conviction are rather staggering. In October, an NFL and NFL Player's Association arbitration ruling requires that Vick return to the Falcons almost $20,000,000 of his signing bonus. Yikes! (Don't worry, he gets to keep the other $9 million.) Click on this link to read an excellent story by ESPN staffer Lester Munson explaining the contract legalese that felled Vick. (Munson is both a lawyer and a journalist.) To read an Associated Press story that discusses the financial specifics of the arbitration ruling, click on this link.
Additionally, Vick is facing lawsuits from 3 banks alleging his default on almost $6 million in loans, and the federal government is billing him almost $1 million for care of the dogs rescued from his Virginia property. To read a Reuters story outlining Vick's financial woes, click on this link.
To read the Washington Post story Vick Trial Date Set on State Charges, click on this link. To read the CNN story Vick faces April dogfighting trial, click on this link.
In just 7 months, Mike Vick has gone from denying knowledge of a dogfighting enterprise on the grounds of his Virginia home, to denying involvement in the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring, to admitting his bankrolling of dogfighting through the kennel that he owns, to admitting his participation in the transporting and gruesome killing of dogs, and now serving time for these offenses. Whew! That's a hell of a lot of change for someone that "From the beginning...has accepted responsibility for his actions...," as his lawyers would have us believe.
One thing working in Vick's favor is time. The public has had time to settle down a bit emotionally, and time to rethink Vick as a fellow human being. Vick is young enough that his talent may hold and he might still have time to pursue a successful football career - given that the NFL believes time has healed the wounds of both the general public and football fans.
What does detroit dog think?
I'm still not sure that Vick "gets it". His gambling with his career and 'good name' indicate that he's never understood that it 'takes a village' to raise a professional athlete. Certainly his positive drug test in September indicates that he's still willing to flip a finger at the law. I don't see any indication that Vick has any remorse for his actions, other than that they adversely affected his career and personal life; morals and decency have nothing to do with it. The only thing that gives an inkling that Vick is considering the reality of animal cruelty are reports of his conversational engagement with 'instructors' during an 8-hour educational course by PETA that he attended in mid-September. Good for him.
What's next? Time will tell.