Michael Vick to be released from prison this week
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is being deliberately vague about the timing of Vick's release, ESPN reports, because of concerns over his security. He'll serve the remainder of his sentence at home due to lack of space in a halfway house.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will return to his five-bedroom, 3,538-square-foot home in Hampton, Va. -- certainly a far cry from his current digs at the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth. ESPN reports on the conditions of his home confinement:
For two months, the suspended NFL star will be largely confined to his home and will wear an electronic monitor that allows federal probation officials to track his movements. He is expected to be released from federal custody July 20.
Vick will be allowed to go to his full-time construction job and will probably be allowed about five hours a week for other court-approved activities, according to Ed Bales, managing director of Federal Prison Consultants, an inmate rehabilitation advocacy group.
Permissible activities for inmates on home confinement typically include medical appointments, religious obligations and meetings with probation officials. No dinners out. No chilling at a friend's house.
Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in the operation and financing of the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring. He also was suspended from play in the NFL, with Commissioner Roger Goodell writing that Vick's conduct in the dogfighting operation was "not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions."
Football teams have thus far seemed reluctant to hire Vick. "Indeed, right now a team would have to be desperate for a quarterback to risk the ire of animal lovers everywhere by signing him," Associated Press sports columnist Tim Dahlberg writes.
But some in the sports community have begun to call for his reinstatement in the league. (Dahlberg calls such a move "inevitable.") For his part, Goodell hasn't ruled out reinstating Vick but says he'll refrain from making a decision until Vick's prison term is officially over. Once that hurdle is cleared, Goodell told ESPN, Vick must demonstrate remorse for his actions.
One way to do that might have been to star in public service announcements denouncing dogfighting. In fact, Vick was apparently in talks with PETA to do just that last year. The animal rights group later rescinded its offer to produce the PSAs after learning, as a result of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Bad Newz Kennels' operations, that Vick had "enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart." (PETA later called on the NFL to subject Vick to "a psychological test as well as an MRI brain scan ... in order to look for evidence of clinical psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder.")
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Vick leaves federal court in Richmond, Va., Aug. 27, 2007. Credit: Steve Helber/Associated Press.