Atlanta — An NAACP leader said Michael Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL, preferably the Atlanta Falcons, after serving his sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation.
"As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football," said R.L. White, president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter. "We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."
White said the Falcons quarterback made a mistake and should be allowed to prove he has learned from that mistake.
On Monday, Vick said through a lawyer that he will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture.
Three Vick associates have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and say Vick provided nearly all the gambling and operating funds for the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting enterprise. Two of them also said Vick participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs, raising the possibility of the animal-cruelty charges.
Last month, state and local leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urged the public not to rush to judgment in the Vick case. The civil rights organization said animal rights groups, talk radio and the news media were vilifying the embattled athlete and that his team and corporate sponsors were prematurely punishing Vick.