The miseries that Michael Vick has brought upon himself seem to have no let-up and the latest development has the potential to strip Vick of millions of dollars. Vick (below) is scheduled for sentencing for federal dogfighting-related offenses next month, but he faces even more trouble today as the Falcons and the NFL Players Association are in Philadelphia for an arbitration hearing before a University of Pennsylvania law professor, special master Stephen Burbank.
Atlanta is trying to recover either $16 million or $22 million in bonus money, according to various news accounts. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that today's hearing involves $22 million in bonus money. ESPN is reporting that the Falcons may pursue return of the money through two routes.
The arguments for the two sides go like this: The union probably will contend that Vick has already earned the bonus money and that the new collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from recovery. The Falcons will likely argue that when Vick signed his contract in 2004, he was already engaged in the illegal dogfighting activity and, as a result, was already in violation of his contract -- hence, he collected the cash under fraudulent circumstances. In addition, Atlanta may also contend that the new CBA went into effect in 2005, the year after Vick's contract extension.
Depending on how Vick has invested the money he's received, what he faces in forfeitures, legal expenses and other financial obligations, it's possible that when he emerges from prison, he'll not only will he be scrambling to salvage his football career, he'll also be in or headed toward financial ruin.
Photo credit: Steve Helber/AP