LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – By agreeing to plead guilty for his role in an illegal dogfighting outfit, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick took the first step toward putting 1915 Moonlight Road – the home of Bad Newz Kennels – behind him.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that getting back to the gridiron will be an uphill battle, even for a superstar who is one of the National Football League’s top draws, analysts say. Although other NFL players have returned to the game after brushes with the law, Mr. Vick’s involvement in dogfighting and allegations that he drowned underperforming dogs have repelled many Americans.
“The situation with Vick is about gambling, it’s about cruelty, and it’s coming at a time when there’s a lot of focus on athletes’ behavior,” says David Carter, director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California. “I don’t see how he’s able to [come back] with all those things in mind.”
A recent NBC poll found that 34 percent of respondents had a very negative perception of Vick, while only 1 percent had a very positive perception.
Vick’s football career bloomed but never quite blossomed after he was picked first by Atlanta in the 2001 draft. His scrambling ability gave opposing defenses fits. Last year, he became the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Although the Falcons have had up-and-down seasons under his leadership, Vick became a serious NFL fan favorite. Only wide receiver Randy Moss sold more jerseys.