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Michael Vick's prison sentence for dogfighting is complete

July 20, 2009 |  1:54 pm

Michael Vick

Disgraced NFL star Michael Vick left a federal prison back in May, but his prison term wasn't yet officially over.  Due to lack of space in the halfway house where he was originally intended to spend the last few months of his term, Vick was allowed to return home and serve time under home confinement. 

Today, however, Vick's freedom is official as his 23-month sentence for his part in financing and operating the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring comes to an end. The big question in many sports fans' minds, of course, is if and when Vick will return to football.  He's been suspended from the NFL, and his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, released him from his contract last month.  (The commissioner for a fledgling football league, the UFL, has said Vick would be welcome to play for its Orlando team when it begins play this fall.)  From the Associated Press:

Vick hopes to soon meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has said he would review Vick's status after Vick completed his sentence.

Goodell has said he wants to sit down with Vick, but it's unclear when that face-to-face meeting will take place.

The former quarterback reportedly "enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with fighting pit bulls and ... laughed as dogs ripped each other apart," a detail that led animal rights group PETA to nix an offer to partner with Vick for an anti-dogfighting public service announcement.

In May, the Humane Society of the United States picked up where PETA left off, announcing that it had agreed to work with the troubled star in its anti-dogfighting campaign.  According to Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, Vick grew up around dogfighting and had "never sufficiently questioned it as he grew into manhood."  Pacelle wrote on his blog that Vick told him "he's changed forever. And he said he wants to show the American public that he is committed to helping combat this problem." 

Of course, many speculate that Vick's partnership with the Humane Society is purely a calculated move designed to get him into the NFL's good graces.  Whatever his true motives, it will be interesting to see how this story plays out in the coming months.

RELATED:
More than 400 dogs seized in multistate raid on dogfighting rings
Animal cruelty DVDs as free speech: Will the Supreme Court buy that?
Sports Illustrated features Michael Vick's pit bulls

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Vick arrives for a meeting with his parole officer in Norfolk, Va., May 22.  Credit: Steve Helber / Associated Press

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