RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Michael Vick won't be on the field when the Atlanta Falcons open training camp next Thursday. He'll be in a federal courtroom in Virginia answering charges that he participated in a dog-fighting operation.
Vick and three associates must appear in Richmond next week for bond hearings and arraignments on charges contained in a detailed, 18-page indictment handed up yesterday. What happens after that is anyone's guess.
For the time being, the NFL intends for the foreseeable future to let the star quarterback continue to play. After consulting with the Falcons, commissioner Roger Goodell and top league officials agreed to let the legal process determine the facts. A person with knowledge of the meeting, who requested anonymity so the case would not be influenced, said the NFL would stick to that position for the time being, despite its new personal conduct policy.
In April, Goodell suspended Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones for the 2007 season even though Jones had not been convicted of a crime. He did, however, have ten encounters with police and five arrests since he was drafted in 2005.
The NFL players' union took the same stance as the league. In a statement released Wednesday, the union said the allegations against Vick "are extremely disturbing and offensive." But it said the case is in the hands of the judicial system, and the legal process must be allowed to run its course.