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NAACP official: Vick shouldn't be banned from NFL

  • Story Highlights
  • Michael Vick expected to plead guilty next week to federal conspiracy charges
  • Head of Atlanta NAACP says Atlanta Falcon quarterback can be redeemed
  • NFL considering what, if any, action it will take against Vick
  • Three of Vick's co-defendants have entered pleas in dogfighting case
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The head of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP said Wednesday that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has made mistakes but that they should not cost him his football career with the NFL.

NFL star Michael Vick has accepted an offer to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in a dogfighting case.

Vick is expected to plead guilty Monday to federal conspiracy charges in an illegal dogfighting operation.

R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said his organization does not condone dogfighting or any other illegal activity, but he told reporters that Vick should be given a chance to redeem himself.

"In some instances, I believe Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he would've killed a human being," White said. "The way he is being persecuted, he wouldn't have been persecuted that much had he killed somebody."

White said he believes Vick will cut a deal rather than roll the dice on a trial and take a chance on being found guilty, but "whatever he's done wrongly, he needs to pay for it.

White also said he didn't understand the uproar over dogfighting, when hunting deer and other animals is perfectly acceptable. Video Watch NAACP official say don't pile on Vick »

He urged the National Football League, the Atlanta Falcons and Vick's commercial sponsors not to dump the troubled athlete.

"We feel that whatever the courts demand as a punishment for what he has done, once he has paid his debt to society, then he should be treated like any other person in the NFL," White said.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have said they will not make a decision on Vick's future immediately.

After Vick's indictment last month, Goodell ordered the quarterback not to report to training camp until the league completed its review of the case. The NFL is considering what, if any, sanctions it should impose on Vick.

When Vick appears Monday in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, the details of his plea agreement will be made public. The judge in the case will have the final say over the plea agreement.

The deal, if accepted by the judge, means the 27-year-old football star will avoid more serious charges that would have been considered by a grand jury that convened this week.

Sources close to the case have said federal prosecutors offered to recommend an 18- to 36-month prison sentence for the suspended star quarterback for his alleged role in the dogfighting operation. Vick's attorneys were trying to reduce that to less than a year.

Vick's three co-defendants in the dogfighting case already accepted agreements to plead guilty in exchange for reduced sentences.

Court documents released last week showed that two of Vick's alleged partners said he helped kill dogs that didn't fight well and that the three men "executed approximately eight dogs" in ways that included hanging and drowning.

The dogs were killed because they fared poorly in "testing" sessions in April at Vick's property in Virginia, where the dog fighting venture was based, according to documents released following guilty pleas from two co-defendants -- Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta. See what Vick's former co-defendants admitted »


Peace and Phillips pleaded guilty Friday. A third man, Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Virginia, pleaded guilty July 30.

In the court documents, Peace and Phillips said that the money behind the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation came "almost exclusively" from Vick, and they told prosecutors that other accusations in the 18-page indictment are true. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mike Phelan and Carol Cratty contributed to this report.

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