What's next for Vick? (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 27, 2007 5:35PM; Updated: Monday August 27, 2007 5:59PM
3. What advice should Vick's attorney give him as he prepares for his sentence?
According to some media reports, Vick apparently has been counseled to take to the airwaves, repeat his expressions of sorrow and personal responsibility before TV and radio interviewers, while avoiding the temptation to make excuses or to furnish comments that may contradict his sorrow. Those interviews might prove advantageous if Vick is coached well for them, but they also present the real danger of backfiring, particularly if Vick is asked a tricky question that leads him to the "wrong" answer. This is, after all, a player who has not always shined during times of adversity (e.g., giving the middle finger to fans).
But no matter what Vick says or writes, he needs to back up his words with action. A football player knows well that anyone can talk a good game.
In that vein, I would strongly encourage Vick to undertake a pro-active effort. As an expression of restitution to the people of Smithfield, Va., for instance, he could purchase real estate there and build facilities that heal, rather than hurt. Organizations that aid, such as drug and gambling addiction treatment centers and homes for the homeless, are almost always in need of tangible support. In addition to helping people, Vick would demonstrate that his comments today were from his heart and not from his attorney's head.
Vick should also pledge to setting aside a meaningful portion of his future football salary for charities. At this moment, such a pledge may not be worth all that much, but it's the right gesture to make. It might also impress both Judge Hudson and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and help them believe that Vick is genuinely sorry and wants to improve himself.
There are still additional and more risky propositions that Vick could undertake. He could, for instance, make a series of large donations to prominent animal groups, such as the Humane Society and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Perhaps for good reason, those organizations might say "no thanks" (and I suspect they could use a different expression for "no thanks"). After all, such generosity may seem desperate, disingenuous, and indicative of a strikingly haste and convenient metamorphosis of dog abuser to dog savior. On the other hand, the mere act of giving might fortify his words and cast him more favorably in the eyes of Judge Hudson (and also Goodell and many Americans). Along those lines, his primary audience as he prepares for his sentencing is Judge Hudson, and no one else.
4. After Vick is sentenced, what kind of prison will he be sent to?
By recommendation, Judge Hudson will play an influential role in determining the kind of facility that incarcerates Vick, although the U.S. Bureau of Prisons ultimately will make that decision. While the heinousness of Vick's admitted acts will prove influential, the fact that he pled guilty, (arguably) appears contrite, and is a first-time offender, makes him more likely to receive a favorable assignment. Fairly or not, another possible factor weighing in his favor is his celebrity status and whether he would be a target of victimization in more notorious facilities.
It is probably too early to speculate the specific nature of Vick's assignment, particularly without the benefit of Judge Hudson's sentence and the reaction to it by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (which, also, is sometimes constrained in its assignment due to incidental issues of limited space and overcrowding at certain facilities). Still, given the factors above, there seems to be a good chance that Vick will wind up at a minimum security facility in which he lives in an almost dorm-like facility, rather than a tightly-confined cell in prison. While such a "camp" facility is surrounded by guards, it often does not feature high fences (or even fences at all).
5. When will Vick actually report to prison?
After sentencing Vick on Dec. 10, Judge Hudson probably will offer him a period of time, such as a month or six weeks, before he must report to prison. Vick, however, may waive that period and report immediately, or shortly after the sentence. He would have at least two compelling reasons for doing so. First, it would likely strengthen the perceived sincerity of his apology and, in turn, impress Goodell. Second, it would get him out of prison earlier in time. Considering the limited career window of an NFL player, particularly of a player who relies so considerably on his speed and who will probably be headed for a lengthy suspension at age 29 or 30 or whenever he gets out of prison, one month may offer real professional value.
2 of 2