Michael Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge and will wait for a December 10 sentencing date that could send him to prison.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted Vick’s guilty plea. He asked: “Are you entering the plea of guilty to a conspiracy charge because you are in fact guilty?”
Vick said yes.
Hudson added that he is not restricted by sentencing guidelines and can impose the maximum sentence of up to five years in prison. “You’re taking your chances here. You’ll have to live with whatever decision I make,” Hudson said.
The judge also told Vick by pleading guilty to a felony, he loses his right to vote, hold public office, be on a jury and own firearms.
Vick’s mother started to cry when Judge Hudson asked Vick to confirm that he understood that the judge has leeway in sentencing.
In a press conference after his guilty plea, Vick made a statement to the public. He made his statement without any notes or papers.
“I take this opportunity to speak from the heart. First, I want to apologize for all the things that I have done and I have allowed to happen. I want to personally apologize to Commissioner Goodell, Arthur Blank, Coach Bobby Petrino, and my Atlanta Falcons teammates, for I was not honest and forthright in our discussions.”
“I want to apologize to all the young kids out there. I want to apologize for my immature acts. What I did was very immature, and so that means I need to grow up.”
“I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to bettering Michael Vick the person, not the football player. I take full responsibility for my actions. Not for one second will I sit right here and point the finger and try to blame anybody else for my actions or what I’ve done. I’m totally responsible, and those things just didn’t have to happen.”
“We all make mistakes. I made a mistake and used bad judgment and made a bad decision. And those things just can’t happen. Dog fighting is a horrible thing and I reject it. And through this situation, I found Jesus and turned my life to God. I ask him for forgiveness.”
“And now I have to pay the consequences, and it will help me as a person. I have a lot to think about. I offer my deepest apologies to those out there in the world who were affected by this whole situation. I am more disappointed by myself because it’s seeing all the young kids that look up to Michael Vick as a role model. I hope every young kid out there in the world watching this interview who’s been following this case will use me as an example for using better judgment and making better decisions.”
“Once again, I offer my deepest apologies. I will redeem myself because I have to.”
Photo: Associated Press