PHILADELPHIA (AP) - NFL Players Association lawyers argued Thursday that the league's collective bargaining agreement protects Michael Vick from the Atlanta Falcons' attempts to be refunded up to $22 million in bonus money.
A decision is expected by Oct. 12, said Stephen B. Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania law professor and special master who led the arbitration hearing.
The Falcons argued the suspended Falcons quarterback knew he was in violation of the contract when he signed the $130 million deal in December 2004, and that he used proceeds from the deal to fund his dogfighting operation.
New York-based attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represented Vick and the NFLPA, countered that the CBA extension agreed to last year prevents forfeiture of bonus money even if the player contract says otherwise, union spokesman Carl Francis said.
NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen also represented Vick. Team president and general manager Rich McKay led the Falcons' group.
Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said McKay was traveling back to Atlanta from Philadelphia and had no immediate comment.
In pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Aug. 27, Vick admitted helping to kill six to eight dogs, among other things. He faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced Dec. 10 on the federal charges. He also faces state felony charges in Virginia.
Suspended indefinitely by the NFL without pay, Vick tested positive last month for marijuana, a violation of U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson's order that he stay clean in exchange for being allowed to be free.
After that positive test, Hudson ordered Vick confined to his home address between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with electronic monitoring and random drug testing.
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