Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has been released from federal prison in Kansas and is expected to head to Virginia to finish the remainder of his sentence. After spending nearly two years behind bars for running a high-dollar dogfighting ring, he would like to spend his days helping the Humane Society of the United States steer inner-city youths away from the violent, illegal sport.
"Michael is very interested in putting this together," said one of Vick’s attorneys, Billy Martin.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the group, said that he met recently with Vick at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., and that Vick expressed an interest in the program.
"He indicated that he's tremendously remorseful about this, and now he wants to be an agent of change, to work to end dogfighting and to specifically get young kids to cease any involvement in these activities," Pacelle said. "Sometimes folks who are reformed can be particularly strong advocates. We agree that he's got to put boots on the ground and hit the issue hard and do it over a long time."
Whether Vick is genuinely interested in seeing dogfighting eradicated or whether he’s all about the points he’ll earn in the eyes of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has said that the fallen baller must show genuine remorse before being allowed back into the league, is unclear. So when will Vick be allowed back?
"I think that's going to be up to Michael," Goodell said Tuesday during a break at the NFL meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Michael's going to have to demonstrate to myself and the general public and to a lot of people, did he learn anything from this experience? Does he regret what happened? Does he feel that he can be a positive influence going forward? Those are questions that I would like to see when I sit with him."
Added Pacelle: "He's got to help himself. We can give him an opportunity to do the right thing, but it's ultimately going to be his level of intensity and sincerity that is going to convince the American public," Pacelle said. "He still has to prove himself over time."