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How will Michael Vick’s dog-fighting fiasco affect his career? OVERVIEW Over the years, authorities have arrested several professional athletes for breaking the law such as involvement in drugs and gambling. Athletes have learned to play the law better than their own sport; however, Atlanta Falcons former quarterback, Michael Vick, has found out, sometimes the game is still lost. On April 25th, local police raided Vick’s home because of drug-related investigations that involved his cousin. Instead, authorities found evidence of dog fighting operations. Vick denied all evidence and told local police he never spent time at the Virginia property. A court date was set on July 26th for a judge to review Vick’s dog fighting charges. Realizing he was not getting out of the charges brought against him, Vick stood in front of District Judge Henry E. Hudson and pleaded guilty. Taking full responsibilities for his wrong doings, he apologized numerous times to the National Football League Commission Officers, his coaches, team members, and his fans. The NFL looked down upon Vick’s decision to brutally beat dogs, execute them, and watch them fight for their lives. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Falcons owner Author Blank came to the conclusion to suspend Vick from the NFL, with out pay, until legal matters were settled. Vick’s trial date is set for December 10th. Vick could serve up to five years in prison and a $350,000 fine. It is not common for first time offenders to serve the maximum sentencing for dog fighting charges, but U.S Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said, “We thought, however, that the conduct in this conspiracy was heinous, cruel and inhumane.” SUMMARY OF FINDINGS A source, which was interviewed by ESPN, admitted people involved in dog fighting operations are terrified that Vick will reveal their names if it will keep him out of jail. Sandy Christiansen, President of the Spartanburg Humane Society, has been involved in several dog fighting raids. Christiansen explains how dog fighting events are becoming more sheltered. “I’ve heard they will take away cellphones and they may not allow people to come and go,” he said. Although dog fighting is becoming more sheltered, police are still capturing those who are involved in secret stings. James Fricchione and David Tant were both involved in major dog fight operations that were raided by law enforcement. Fricchione was known to authorities as “Al Capone” of dog fighting, and was sentenced to two to seven years in prison. Tant, who is known as one of the world’s top breeders of fighting dogs, was sentenced up to 40 years in prison. They may not have been professional athletes, but they carried a high ranking in dog fight gatherings.

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Dog fighting is now becoming more popular among professional athletes, who throw down thousands of dollars on a single fight. Even though several athletes have been convicted with charges similar to Vick’s, he is not the only NFL player to be convicted of dog fighting charges. Green Bay Packers Running Back, LeShon Johnson pleaded guilty to three charges related to dog fighting. He is now serving a five-year sentence. In April, Roger Goodell was forced to suspend Tennessee Titan’s “Pacman”, Adam Jones, for the 2007 season, even though Jones was not convicted. With the evidence from previous issues involving dog fighting and Goodell, there is not much hope that Vick will continue to play professional football. When his sentencing is announced on December 10th, the life Michael Vick once knew could be changed forever. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS In reviewing many newspaper articles and press releases, a number of key findings and recommendations emerged. Nearly 20,000- 40,000 people in the United States are involved in dog fights. This number continues to grow everyday. The Humane Society of the United States has sent out several press releases that were linked to Vick’s dog fighting charges. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, had a lot to say about the discovery. He strongly believes that dog fighting is a serious crime and that the law should prosecute any person involved in the cruel gambling game. He also stated that there should be a zero tolerance policy for this type of animal abuse. Although dog fighting is illegal in the United States, only 49 states consider it a felony. U.S. congress just passed a bill that will help strengthen “the federal law against interstate dog fighting activities.” The bill is anticipated to be signed by President Bush any day. Many people have already begun to stereotype and protest Vick’s dog fighting charges. They will continue until, and even after, Vick’s December 10th hearing. After he serves his time, Vick will have to prove to himself and the people he has hurt that he is ready to change. He will then be expected to prove to the NFL that he is physically and mentally ready for the football field. NFL commissioner officers and the Falcons owner are not proud of Vick’s recent decisions. Although Vick has taken the blame and apologized for his crime, he is still going to receive jail time, possibly five years. That is a long time for a Number 1 draft pick to make himself that famous football player he once was. CONCLUSION From the evidence gathered in recent articles, Vick’s case is not going to be a pleasant one. Previous professional athletes, such as LeShon Johnson, did not receive special benefits when they were arrested for doing the same crime. Many professional athletes can use their fame or money to get them out of a tight spot, but dog fighting is taken very serious in U.S courts and Vick is going to serve the time he deserves.

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Gruesome Details in Indictment Naming NFL Quarterback Michael Vick in Dog fighting Case Associated Press July 18, 2007

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SUMMARY Michael Vick was “charged with competitive dog fighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting and conducting the enterprise across state lines” after authorities raided his home in Surry County and found evidence of illegal dog fighting. If Vick is found guilty to all these charges, he is looking to serve five years in prison and a $350,000 fine. Vick admitted to brutally killing dogs that were not ready to fight. In a statement, it was said that the dogs were killed "by hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog's body to the ground." John Goodwin of the Humane Society of the United States reviewed the statements and admitted that the way these dogs were executed was “unnecessary and just sick." Authorities seized over 66 dogs from Bad Newz Kennels, the name of Vick’s dog fighting property. Statements that were filed held gruesome details about the dog fights. It explained that the dog fights continued until one of the dogs died or the losing dog surrendered, which was then killed anyway.

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NFL Quarterback Michael Vick Due in Court July 26 on Dog fighting Charges Associated Press July 19, 2007

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SUMMARY Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, sat in court on July 26th as his team prepared for preseason games. Vick was charged for his involvement in dog fighting operations. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and top league officials faced a tough decision of letting Vick continue to play for the Falcons or suspending him. Goodell stated Vick still had a fair chance of proving his innocence. Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank both met with Vick and told him to straighten up or he would face consequences. Vick announced that he did not want to let his coaches, team members, or his fans down. If the Falcons release Vick from the team, they are looking at a $6 million salary cap and $15 million next year.

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Vick Apologizes After Entering Guilty Plea Associated Press August 27, 2007

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SUMMARY Standing in front of a podium after pleading guilty to dog fighting charges, Michael Vick apologized to members associated with the NFL, his teammates, and to all his young fans. He said that it is now time to better “Michael Vick the person, not the football player.” Vick was suspended by the NFL until after his December 10th trial. The NFL could not afford to dismiss him right away because of “salary-cap issues.” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the one handling Vick’s case on Dec. 10th. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is embarrassed over the whole situation. Blank has received many complaint letters from fans and he has admitted that he is doing everything he can to make the situation better. Vick had several supports outside the courtroom as he stood in front of the judge. They sang hymns like “This Little Light of Mine.” The Falcon’s are trying to put all the anger, embarrassment, and disappointment behind them. They are trying to make it without their star quarterback, for the time being.

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Vick Pleads Guilty, Apologizes Rusty Dornin August 27, 2007

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SUMMARY After pleading guilty to “federal dog fighting conspiracy charges,” Michael Vick apologized to all his teammates, coaches, the National Football League, and to all his young fans. He admitted to being disappointed in himself and he would do whatever it took to make up for his wrong-doings. Several protestors and supporters stood outside the courtroom chanting and raving during Vick’s hearing. Vick’s charges will be announced in a hearing on December 10th. The Friday before pleading guilty, the NFL suspended Vick without pay until the legal matters were settled. The 27-year-old Falcons football player admitted to buying pit bulls for dog fighting and killing the ones that did not fight well. Vick said that he never gambled on the dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is evaluating over 50 pit bulls that were removed from Vick’s property.

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NFL Star Quarterback Michael Vick Investigated for Alleged Dog Fighting Humane Society of the United States April 26, 2007

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SUMMARY The Humane Society of the United States was very unhappy when receiving the dog fighting news. Authorities raided the home of Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick, on April 25th. They found evidence of dog fighting. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, had a lot to say about the discovery. He said that dog fighting is a serious crime and that the law should prosecute any person involved in the cruel gambling game. He also stated that there should be a zero tolerance policy for this type of animal abuse. Although dog fighting is illegal in the United States, only 49 states consider it a felony. U.S. congress just passed a bill that “strengthens the federal law against interstate dog fighting activities.� The bill is anticipated to be signed by President Bush any day.

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Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick Indicted for Dog Fighting Human Society of the United States July 17, 2007

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SUMMARY Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, was accused July 17th by the grand jury “on felony dog fighting charges.” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, believes that dog fighting is a very serious crime and investigations should be taken very seriously. Authorities raided Vick’s home in Surry County, VA. and removed over 52 pit bulls off the property. They found a fighting pit that contained blood stained carpet. Dog fighting is a very cruel game. Dogs are bred as puppies to become vicious. Most the time they are kept in trucks or closets, and are beaten. They are bathed before thrown in a pit to face off with another dog, most the time for their lives. If the dog lived through the fight, they were usually drowned, hung, shot, or killed with some other method.

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Source: Vick 'One of the Heavyweights' in Dog Fighting Kelly Naqi May 31, 2007

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SUMMARY Being in the dog fighting world for over 30 years, a source, who did not want his name revealed had a lot to say about Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting. He explained to reporters that Vick was one of the higher people in the dog fighting world and he bet a lot of money on the fights. On April 25th, Vick’s home was raided by authorities. They found clear evidence that dog fighting had taken place in Vick’s home, such as 66 dogs and blood stained carpet. There are 20,000- 40,000 people in the United States take part in dog fighting. Several celebrities take a risk in the dog fighting world for the thrill of it. The source tells reporters that he does not understand why it is a big deal. He explains that they are just dogs. He also says that people pay to see UFC fights, two people beating each other up. With Vick being investigated, people are now scared that he is going to start talking to keep himself out of trouble.

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A Remorseful Michael Vick Pleads Guilty, Calls Dog Fighting a 'Terrible Thing' Paul Newberry August 28, 2007

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SUMMARY Full of apologies, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick, took full responsibilities for his wrong doings. "I offer my deepest apologies to everybody out there in the world who was affected by this whole situation, and if I'm more disappointed with myself than anything,” said Vick. Vick is looking at serving five years in prison unless U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who is handling Vick’s December 10th case, decides to shorten his sentencing. Joey Harrington, Vick’s replacement, showed fans that the Falcons still have a chance of winning without their star player. Harrington threw two touchdown passes, leading the Falcons in a win over Cincinnati, 24-19. Vick’s team members and fans stand behind him through this rough time. Vick made no excuses in hopes that Hudson will reduce his sentencing.

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Michael Vick Dog Fighting Case Makes Way to Floor of U.S. Senate Trish Turner & Michael De Dora Jr. July 19, 2007

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SUMMARY Senator Robert Bryd, 89, became very emotional and aroused when discussing Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting. He said, “one is left wondering who are the real animals: the creatures inside or outside the ring?” Many people are upset with Vick’s involvement in a game of animal cruelty. Nike has refused to release Vicks AirZoom Vick V shoes, and NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, is being pressured to suspend Vick. Vick was told that he could continue playing with the Atlanta Falcons until the “legal process determines the facts.” The Falcons face a devastating hit to their team budget if they release Vick, $6 million this year and $15 million next year.

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Michael Vick Dog Fighting Case Opens Racial Divide Dionne Walker 2007

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SUMMARY A case that started out as a dog fighting allegation has now turned itself into a racial matter. The home of Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons Quarterback, was raided on April 25th by authorities. It was evident that Vick was involved with dog fighting. It was noticed that Vick supporters were mostly black and his “critics” were mostly white. Earnest Hardy Sr., one of Vick’s neighbors, claims Surry County is just trying to bring down a successful black man. Gerald Poindexter, an attorney who is part of the Vick case, has been harassed by critics “for stalling an investigation to protect one of his own.” The people of Ethical Treatment of Animals claim that they would be protesting if it had been any other person, it is not a racial factor.

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Vick Case Sheds Light on Dark World of Dog Fighting Tom Weir 2007

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SUMMARY Atlanta Falcons Quarterback, Michael Vick, was recently charged for being involved with dog fighting. Seeing Vick’s face all over the news for the involvement in these felonies, America has begun to open their eyes to how serious and cruel dog fighting really is. When law enforcements raid a dog fight, several people fled the scene. Officers have found evidence that many people make it a family event. But most of the time law enforcements find guns, drugs, and gambling money at these events. Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office has made over 65 dog fight arrests in the last five years and there has only been one that drugs were not involved in. Vick is looking to serve up to a six-year conviction and a fine of $350,000. His case did not involve drugs or weapons. James Fricchione and David Tant were both involved in major dog fights. Fricchione was known to authorities as “Al Capone” of dog fighting, and was sentenced to two to seven years in prison. Tant, known as one of the world’s top breeders of fighting dogs, was sentenced up to 40 years in prison. Sandy Christiansen, president of the Spartanburg (S.C.) Humane Society summed it up perfectly. “You've got to have a pretty violent streak in you to sit and watch man's best friend rip another one to shreds so someone can make money.”

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REFERENCES Associated Press. (2007, July 18). Gruesome Details in Indictment Naming NFL Quarterback Michael Vick in Dog fighting Case. In FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289729,00.html Associated Press. (2007, July 19). NFL Quarterback Michael Vick Due in Court July 26 on Dog Fighting Charges. In FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289895,00.html Associated Press. (2007, August 27). Vick apologizes after entering guilty plea. In MSNBC. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20450544 Dornin, R. (2007, August 27). Vick pleads guilty, apologizes. In CNN.com/US. Retrieved September 23, 2007, from http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/08/27/michael.vick/index.html. Humane Society of the United States. (2007, April 26). NFL Star Quarterback Michael Vick Investigated for Alleged Dog Fighting. In In Animal and Cruelty & Fighting. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/press_releases/ michael_vick_dog_fi ghting_allegations.html Humane Society of the United States. (2007, July 17). Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick Indicted for Dog Fighting. In Animal and Cruelty & Fighting. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.hsus.org/acf/news/vick_indicted_dogfighting.html

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Naqi, K. (2007, May 31). Source: Vick 'one of the heavyweights' in dog fighting. In NFL. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from ESPN Web site: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2884063 Newberry, P. (2007, August 28). A remorseful Michael Vick pleads guilty, calls dog fighting a 'terrible thing'. In YAHOO! Sports. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-vick-plea&prov=ap&type=lgns Turner, T., & Dora, M. D., Jr. (2007, July 19). Michael Vick Dog fighting Case Makes Way to Floor of U.S. Senate. In FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,290061,00.html?=vick Walker, D. (2007). Michael Vick dog fighting case opens racial divide. In USA Today. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/2007-08-03-3554597947_x.htm Weir, T. (2007). Vick case sheds light on dark world of dog fighting. In USA Today. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/falcons/2007-07-18-vickcover_N.htm

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