Judge Accepts Vick Dogfighting Guilty Plea; Vick Apologizes

Protestors outside of court Monday
Protestors outside of court Monday
Michael Vick enters court on Monday
Michael Vick enters court on Monday
Michael Vick's Attorney, Billy Martin
Michael Vick's Attorney, Billy Martin

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Michael Vick apologized to the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons on Monday for "using bad judgment and making bad decisions" and vowed to redeem himself after pleading guilty to a dogfighting charge.

"First I want to apologize for all the things that I've done and that I have allowed to happen," the star quarterback said at a news conference following his appearance in U.S. District Court to formally enter the plea.

Sentencing was set for Dec. 10 and Vick could be sent to prison for one to five years.

"I made a mistake in using bad judgment and making bad decisions," he said in his first public statements on the dogfighting ring. "Dogfighting is a terrible thing."

Along with apologizing to his employers, Vick apologized "to all the young kids out there for my immature acts."

"I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to bettering Michael Vick the person, not the football player," he said, looking someber throughout the brief news session.

He concluded by saying, "I offer my deepest apologies to everyone. And I will redeem myself. I have to."

Vick took no questions.

He said little in court, softly answering "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson's questions. Family members occupied the front row of the packed courtroom for the 15-minute hearing.

The plea by the suspended quarterback was accepted by Hudson, who asked: "Are you entering the plea of guilty to a conspiracy charge because you are in fact guilty?"

Vick answered yes.