Goodell orders Vick not to report to training camp

Goodell orders Vick not to report to training camp

Goodell orders Vick not to report to training camp
July 23rd, 2007

New York, NY (Sports Network) - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has ordered Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick not to report to the team's training camp, which starts Thursday.

Goodell noted Vick won't be allowed into training camp until the league completes a review of Vick's recent indictment by a federal grand jury for allegedly participating in an interstate dog-fighting enterprise.

The charges stem from a dogfighting ring that allegedly was conducted at Vick's house in Virginia.

He is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday for a bond hearing and arraignment. The court date coincides with the first day of training camp for the Falcons in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

Goodell informed Vick that the review would be completed as soon as possible and that the quarterback's full cooperation is expected.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell wrote in a letter to Vick.

The NFL said Vick will not forfeit his preseason pay during his excused absence from training camp.

Goodell also told the Falcons not to discipline Vick until the NFL review is finished.

Vick and three others were indicted with travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

If convicted of the travel part of the conspiracy charge, it carries with it a statutory maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and full restitution. If convicted on the dog fighting charge, the defendants could face either one-year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

The indictment was brought about in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Richmond, VA.

According to the indictment, the defendants were involved in an ongoing animal fighting business based out of Vick's property located in Smithfield, VA from early 2001 through sometime in April of this year. Since Vick purchased the property in June 2001, the defendants formed a dog fighting enterprise known as "Bad Newz Kennels" and used the property for housing and training pit bulls used in dog fights. From at least 2002, the defendants and others sponsored dog fights on the property and bringing dogs from several states to participate in the events. During the fights, the participants would place bets ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. The fights would last until either the death or surrender of the losing dog, which would then sometimes be put to death by drowning, hanging, gunshot, electrocution or other methods.

Also, the indictment said the defendants participated in dog fights in North and South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere in Virginia.

The dogfighting affair was first brought to light when Vick's home was raided on April 26 when authorities seized 54 dogs, along with several other pieces of equipment associated in dogfighting.

The property was again searched on June 7 by federal officials, who uncovered the graves of several pit bulls on the property.

Vick denied any involvement in dogfighting conducted on his property when the case first broke, and has blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity.

The indictment could affect Vick's playing status for the upcoming season under the guidelines of the NFL's new player conduct policy.

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