Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors, who were seeking a prison term of 12 to 18 months, have yet to formally agree to the plea.
Vick is charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. Quanis Phillips of Atlanta and Purnell Peace of Virginia Beach signed statements saying Vick, 27, participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs by various means, including drowning and hanging.
Phillips, Peace and Tony Taylor, who pleaded guilty last month, also said Vick provided virtually all of the gambling and operating funds for his "Bad Newz Kennels" operation in Surry County, Va., not far from Vick's hometown of Newport News. The gambling allegations alone could trigger a lifetime ban under the NFL's personal conduct policy.
The Falcons have yet to release Vick. They are awaiting the decision by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
In a statement issued Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called on the league to incorporate cruelty to animals into its personal conduct policy.