Dear Judge Hudson,
I want to start off by saying thank you for allowing me to be at home for the birth of my third child _______. She's a blessing and I want to personally say thanks.
As you can see, the past six months have been the most difficult of my life. I've lost everything, including my freedom. Throughout my life, I've never been convicted of a crime other than a traffic violation, so this experience was very overwhelming. Growing up in Newport News, I was exposed to numerous illegal activities and dog fighting was one of them. I never understood why people arrested for guns and drugs but never for dogfighting (sic). No one really cared or called the police, so I grew up not knowing the severity of the crime. Your Honor, I grew up loving animals and still to this day (sic). I have (illegible) fine horses, parrots, fish tanks and lizards. I take full responsibility for my actions and am ashamed that my actions hurt animals and allow animals to be hurt and killed.
Your Honor, I am not the bad person or beast I have been made out to be. I have been talked about and ridiculed on a day to day basis by people who who really don't know Michael Vick the human being. They only know the football player, which is unfair. I'm a very humble, soft spoken, and caring guy. Also kind of shy. I'll do anything for anyone and often have a hard time saying no. I'm 100% committed to my family and kids and try to be the best dad I can be. I have a son (8) and 2 girls (2 and 1 month) by my girlfriend and soon to be fiance., _________. This has been painful because my son watches the news and can understand whats going on with his father. He says his friends in school make fun of the situation because we have the same last name. I've read books to the entire school so they know me as a football player and that I am his father. My daughter asks me every day where am I and when I will be home to play
I have accepted responsibility for my actions and I felt that turning myself in early would show my family, friends, and the world that I have accepted responsibility and was willing to pay my debt to society. It hurts deeply because jail is no place for me and it's hard for me to adjust in here, knowing I left my family behind. There's a saying "when you know better, you're supposed to do better." Honestly, I wish I had never been involved in dog fighting. As a result, I've lost everything - my good name, endorsements, and now my freedom. So, sitting here today I can say I've learned an invaluable lesson.
I apologize for the failed drug test. I was suffering from a deep state of depression, and my father attacked me in the media. I was heartbroken. I expected nothing but support from him; however, he was trying to get money from me and threatened to do a tell-all story on me. That's no excuse for using marijuana, but I didn't know how to cope with all the difficulties I was facing because it was all new to me. After my father did what he did, I just thought it was all over for me.
Throughout this entire case, I've just tried to be honest. Sometimes I didn't know how to be and was scared, but eventually put everything out on the table and left no stone unturned. I was scared because I've never been charged with a crime but in my heart, I only wanted to do what was right.
Your Honor, I have no problem paying restitution for the dogs as I believe they should live a good life as well. All the dogs were in good health and I've always made sure of the continuous upkeep of the dogs and all my animals.
One of the many hard lessons that I have learned is that talent is a responsibility, not just a privilege. I have thought a lot about the fact that if I had not allowed my money to be used, I would not be in the trouble I am. I PROMISE that I will never again use a single dollar that I have earned for anything but to help people. This situation shaped my life in more ways than one. I've learned a valuable lesson and have taken my life into a different direction. I purchased a church for my pastor back in July and ever since, have had a different outlook on life.
I pray for a second chance to be back with my family, and show the world the real Michael Vick (not the person the media has made be out to be). I will live righteous and will continue to be the best father, son, brother, and role model God put me on this earth to be. I plan to be more involved in the community and will continue to assist PETA in being an advocate against dog fighting and animal cruelty. I am forever a changed man; I now understand the importance of the people I surround myself with, spending more time with my family, and continuing to be a good citizen. I fully realize I will be judged on what I do and how I live, not what I say.
Your Honor, I just ask for a second chance. This is my first conviction of a crime and I know deep down in my heart it is my last. Your Honor, every year come the holidays. I sponsor a charity event called the "Grateful Give Back". On Thanksgiving I hand out turkeys, and on Christmas I give out bags of toys to the less fortunate children in either my hometown of Newport News or Atlanta. There's someone out there who needs me and I only hope I can be there for them in the future. I'm asking for a second chance your Honor; my family needs me and I need them.
I've pulled together and stayed strong up until this very day. We've all turned to God and pray that a second chance is given. Thanks for taking the time to listen.
Here's a link to an original scan of the letter.