Monday, August 20, 2007

Vick pleads guilty

"After consulting with his family over the weekend, Michael Vick asked that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him," Vick's lead defense attorney Billy Martin said.

"Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

-NFL Response

“We are aware of Michael Vick’s decision to enter a guilty plea to the federal charges against him and accept responsibility for his conduct. We totally condemn the conduct outlined in the charges, which is inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons. We will conclude our own review under the league’s personal conduct policy as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have asked the Falcons to continue to refrain from taking action pending a decision by the commissioner.”

-Atlanta Falcons Response

“We are certainly troubled with the news today concerning Michael Vick’s guilty plea to federal charges. It is our understanding that the terms of Michael's plea will not be available until next Monday, August 27. Additionally, Commissioner Goodell has asked us not to take any action until he has completed his own review of Michael's situation. Accordingly, we will have no further comment until that time."

-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) response

"PETA called—no, bellowed—for strong action on behalf of dogs, and we scored! NFL quarterback Michael Vick has accepted a deal to plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges involving illegal dogfighting. This is the latest in a long line of animal abuse cases involving NFL players. While the speed and efficiency with which prosecutors handled this case is a victory for animals and a sign that the crime of dogfighting is being treated with the gravity that it deserves, the NFL needs to follow suit.

"PETA is again calling on the NFL to add cruelty to animals—in all its forms—to its personal conduct policy. This case has clearly shown that NFL fans are just as outraged by cruelty to animals as they are by any of the other antisocial behaviors outlined in the policy. As these recent examples show, the high incidence of animal abuse cases in the NFL indicates a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed immediately:

"Earlier this year, Vick's teammate Jonathan Babineaux was accused of inflicting blunt force trauma on his girlfriend's dog, Kilo, following an argument. Kilo died after reaching the emergency vet clinic.

"In 2004, NFL running back LeShon Johnson was found guilty for his involvement in a massive dogfighting ring.

"In 2001, former Eagles running back Thomas Hamner was twice convicted of beating his dog and has been convicted of animal cruelty.

"Furthermore, an informant from inside the dogfighting world who spoke on ESPN's Outside the Lines told reporters about "a whole roster of names of professional athletes that we know are involved in dogfighting... I bet not even 10 percent have come to light." Given these disturbing allegations and the numerous recent cases of animal abuse involving NFL players, the NFL needs to act vigorously and with authority to stamp this out immediately."
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