Michael Vick Dogfighting Update

I don't know how I got myself following this story, but since we started getting hits via CNN.com's "who's blogging this" section on the story, I feel a little obligated to continue, even though I generally get my web news from MSNBC.

But they have essentially the same story--Nike and Reebok have dropped Michael Vick because of the dogfighting, just as anyone with an ounce of foresight expected. Corporate sponsors are nothing if not risk-averse, and right now, Vick is an advertising leper. No one wants his name anywhere near their products.

The trial is set to begin on November 26, and there will be plenty of discussion on it between now and then. As of now, Vick has been suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and will not be allowed to participate in training camp, which begins this weekend for most teams. Goodell is supposed to hand down a more definitive suspension before too long, and I hope it's for at least a year, if not a lifetime ban (which doesn't generally mean lifetime, since players can apply for reinstatement after some period).

I can't begin to guess what will happen with Vick's contract with the Atlanta Falcons--I'd be surprised if the Falcons can't get out of it via a moral turpitude clause, but I don't know how cancelling that contract would affect them as far as the NFL salary cap. He signed a monster contract in 2004--10 years, $130 million--and generally that means that if the team gets out before the contract is at least half done, they're sunk under the salary cap.

None of which means much in the larger picture. The MSNBC article I linked to above has some details on the indictment, and it looks like Vick is pretty sunk.

Vick and the three others were engaged in a dogfighting enterprise known as “Bad Newz Kennels” from early 2001 through April 2007, according to an 18-page indictment released last week.

It alleges that the dogfighting operation began in 2001, not long after Vick was the first overall selection in the NFL draft. His first contract was for $62 million. In 2004, he signed a 10-year, $130 million deal, then the richest in league history.

The indictment says the fights offered purses as high as $26,000, and that Vick once paid $23,000 to the owner of two pit bulls that had beaten Bad Newz Kennels dogs.

That owner is one of four cooperating witnesses cited in the document.


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