Animal rights advocates, unhappy with Michael Vick, who was recently charged with training and procuring dogs for competitive dogfighting, chanted outside of the Falconsâ€™ HQ today. About 50 protestors from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held signs that read â€œTackle Cruelty,â€? â€œSack Vickâ€? and â€œKick Vick.â€?
Vick, who is charged with operating the business of over state lines, making it a federal offense, faces up to six years in prison, fines up to $350,000 and restitution penalties if convicted. The federal indictment sites that dogs that lost fights that did not die in the fighting pit were hanged, shot, electrocuted or drowned.
PETA is calling for the team to suspend Vick, while Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts noted that the team had no comment regarding the protestorsâ€™ request. The QB is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, July 26, 2007, in federal court. The 18-page indictment charges four people with various crimes at Bad Newz Kennels, where allegedly dogs were kept, trained and fought. Bad Newz Kennels is located on land owned by the star quarterback.
Of course the big question facing the NFL is when do they respond to this situation. Itâ€™s certainly tough to do it now, since Vick is just being charged and has not been convicted of any crime. The more immediate question concerns the Atlanta franchise. The circus around the running quarterback is just starting. Vick, his teammates and coaches are all bound to be distracted by the charges, court appearances and public outrage.
Does Vick continue to try to perform? Does he take a leave? If he does, who will lead the Falcons? Joey Harrington, who has been in the pros five years, playing with the Lions for four and Miami one, is the backup. In that time, Harrington has played in 69 games, hitting 55.2% of his passes and throwing 72 TDs and 77 INTs. His QB rating is 68.1.
Michael Vick appears to have put his team in a terrible situation. Itâ€™s tough to say how it will all play out and how much this situation will affect all involved. But the fact is that a football team needs that field general to be focused every moment on one thingâ€”winning the game and not his upcoming court case.