Michael Vick is the Atlanta Falcons quarterback who earlier in the year was accused of being involved in a dog-fighting operation. He denied having any involvement, claiming to not spend a lot of time at his property. This despite the compound behind his house in which nearly 70 dogs were sheltered.
Well, now he's indicted.
From Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports:
Quarterback Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons took a huge hit a week before the start of training camp.
Vick is expected to be suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after news broke Tuesday evening that Vick was indicted by federal authorities in connection with dog fighting in Virginia. The indictment followed a three-month investigation.
The NFL released a statement that both cautioned in not prejudging the case and said Vick would be evaluated under the league's personal conduct policy.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, urged the league to take "appropriate" action.
The indictment is a long way from proof of guilt. In 1999, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tony Martin faced money laundering charges in federal court and was found not guilty.
Vick and three other men – Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips and Tony Taylor – were indicted on a pair of conspiracy charges that carry a total maximum of six years in prison if convicted.
"Obviously, we are disturbed by today's news from Virginia," the Falcons said through a statement issued Tuesday evening. "However, we are prepared to deal with it, and we will do the right thing for our club as the legal process plays out. We have a season to prepare for and training camp opens next week. Our plan is to continue to do everything we can to support our players and coaches."
Now, the question is how fast will Goodell react and how long will he suspend Vick? Vick has yet to be convicted of a crime or even be arrested during his six-year career, but Goodell has made player conduct his most significant issue through his first year in office.
Tennessee Titans cornerback Pacman Jones has been suspended for one year although he has yet to be convicted; Jones has been arrested or called into questioning by police at least 10 times since entering the league and faces charges over a shooting in Las Vegas in February.
Vick met with Goodell in New York, shortly after the raid on Vick's property, before the NFL draft in April. Vick told Goodell and said publicly that he never went to the house and that he was unaware of what his family and friends were doing there.
Reports by media outlets in Virginia disputed Vick's story. Witnesses said that Vick had been seen there many times. The federal indictment also lays out a much different story, saying that Vick participated in the commerce of dog fighting. The indictment said that dogs and participants were brought in from as far away as New York and Texas for fights. The indictment also specifies that the raising and training of dogs were conducted at the home. The home features a series of kennels and a small building in the back where fights were supposed to have taken place.
The indictment also lays out a detailed and ugly description of how the fights were run, including how dogs that lost fights were killed afterward, if necessary. Dogs were often shot, drowned, electrocuted or strangled if they could not otherwise be saved.
"We're talking about activity that went on for years," Pacelle said. "Yes, these are accusations. But for him to have claimed that he knew nothing about the activities there is unbelievable … that's why we think the league should suspend him under its conduct policy.
"If you're just going to wait for the judicial process, why even have a conduct policy?"
This is an area where I wish the punishment would fit the crime. Perhaps Vick, while in jail, should be forced to fight for his survival every so often against other people involved in this crime.
I also read about a little device on his property used for "breeding" referred to as a "rape stand". There again, again perhaps Vick should take a ride on one of those for a while. But then, there may be no need for a stand.