Michael Vick Released From Prison, Not Problems

VickMichael Vick has been released from prison after being incarcerated for 19 months following his conviction on dog fighting charges.  For Vick, however, his problems are not behind him.  He still faces issues with the law, his former and perhaps future employer, and of course the public that once perceived him as Michael Jordan in cleats.

Legal Issues

Vick and his attorneys are still sorting out issues related to his bankruptcy filing.  Perhaps more significantly, Vick’s release from prison does not free him from the oversight of the criminal justice system.  SI.com’s Michael McCann writes as follows:

As a constant reminder of his controlled life, Vick must wear an electronic monitor at all times. The monitor is particularly important since Vick cannot leave his home except for pre-approved and scheduled absences, such as attending religious services, meeting with his attorneys or working a job. Although he’ll be home at most hours, Vick won’t be throwing any parties, as only his fiancé and their children can stay with him. Vick can also expect scheduled and unscheduled visits by supervising officers. Any missteps could lead Vick back to prison.

Click here to real McCann’s entire article, which is excellent and includes a discussion of the “Ricky Williams Rule,” which prevents a CFL team from signing a suspended NFL player.

Employment and Public Relations Issues

Besides the fact that Vick will be working a $10/hour construction job for the foreseeable future, he ultimately wants to return to the NFL.  In fact, Vick needs to return to the NFL if he is to adhere to the plans that he has proposed to the bankruptcy court.  The UFL may be interested in Vick, but the start-up league is unlikely to offer the type of salary that will allow Vick to pay his creditors.

Vick’s ability to play in NFL is governed by different set of laws – those of Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Goodell has established himself as the law and order commissioner, and he holds the power to reinstate Vick or exclude him from the NFL.   The National Football Post’s Robert Boland handicap’s Vick’s odds of reinstatement:

While Vick is a convicted criminal, the NFL has players who have been less severely punished for more serious, if less cringe-inducing, crimes. Maintaining proportionality of punishment is critical to sustaining the entire player disciplinary system for the league and protecting it from legal challenge. So considering that Vick lost two seasons of his career and was handed a much more severe sentence than any of his co-defendants, expect Goodell to reinstate Vick, if Vick says and does the right things.

goodellShould Vick be reinstated, he would still need to find a team and owner willing to sign him and withstand the foreseeable public relations damage.  The National Football Post’s Michael Lombardi thinks that Jacksonville might be that team, and that Wayne Weaver might be that owner.

Although many have speculated that Goodell will deem Vick to have been punished enough by virtue of his incarceration, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion.  The dogfighting operation ran by Vick was certainly heinous, and creates a publicity nightmare for the NFL.  But the biggest problem may be that Vick’s dog fighting involved gambling, a topic about which all professional sports leagues are extremely sensitive.  Although little has been made of the gambling aspect of Vick’s crime, I suspect that Roger Goodell has not forgotten.


  1. construction jobs these days are on demand because the construction business is booming again”:`


  1. […] Click here to read the rest of Lombardi’s “Sunday at the Post” column.  For Connecticut Sports Law’s coverage of Vick, see “Michael Vick Released From Prison, Not Problems.” […]

  2. […] Michael Vick was released from his federal sentence for dogfighting today, after spending 18 months in prison and the last 2 months on house arrest.  See this article by ESPN’s John Clayton on Vick’s next steps now that he is a free man.  For Connecticut Sports Law’s coverage of Vick, click here. […]

  3. […] Goodell Reinstates Michael Vick Michael Vick was conditionally reinstated by Roger Goodell, the NFL’s law and order Commissioner. Vick will be eligible to sign with a team immediately, but will have to wait until after the sixth […]

  4. […] Michael Vick, Commissioner Goodell reinstated the former Atlanta Falcon but suspended him for a period up to 6 […]

  5. […] Michael Vick, Commissioner Goodell reinstated the former Atlanta Falcon but suspended him for a period up to 6 […]

  6. […] Michael Vick Released From Prison, Not Problems.  […]

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