PHILADELPHIA -- NFL Players Association lawyers argued
Thursday that the league's collective bargaining agreement protects
Michael Vick from the Atlanta Falcons' attempts to be refunded up
to $16 million in bonus money.
A decision is expected by Oct. 12, said Stephen B. Burbank, the
University of Pennsylvania law professor and special master who led
the arbitration hearing.
The Falcons argued the suspended Falcons quarterback knew he was
in violation of the contract when he signed the $130 million deal
in December 2004, and that he used proceeds from the deal to fund
his dogfighting operation.
New York-based attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represented Vick
and the NFLPA, countered that the CBA extension agreed to last year
prevents forfeiture of bonus money even if the player contract says
otherwise, union spokesman Carl Francis said.
NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen also represented Vick.
Team president and general manager Rich McKay led the Falcons'
Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said McKay was traveling back
to Atlanta from Philadelphia and had no immediate comment.
In pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Aug. 27, Vick
admitted helping to kill six to eight dogs, among other things. He
faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced Dec. 10 on
the federal charges. He also faces state felony charges in
Suspended indefinitely by the NFL without pay, Vick tested
positive last month for marijuana, a violation of U.S. District
Court Judge Henry Hudson's order that he stay clean in exchange for
being allowed to be free.
After that positive test, Hudson ordered Vick confined to his
home address between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with electronic monitoring
and random drug testing.
In other developments Thursday,
Vick has spoken with representatives from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about appearing in an advertisement for the animal protection group, but no deal on a partnership has been reached, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told ABC News Wednesday.
"The requirement from us would have to be extremely strong language," Newkirk said. "It would have to include Michael Vick saying, 'We've lost everything, and you would, too.' "
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.