Wednesday, October 10

Arbitrator: Falcons can recoup $20 Million from Mike Vick

The legal saga that is the life of Michael Vick has taken a turn for the worse, just when the troubled superstar athlete thought things couldn’t get worse.

Having recently failed a drug test which could affect his sentencing in connection with his conspiracy conviction; Special Master Stephen Burbank, a U of Penn law professor and arbitrator, ruled that the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback must pay back close to $20 million dollars in bonus money to the team.

Vick, Special Master Burbank ruled, funded the now infamous “Bad Newz Kennels” with proceeds from his huge $130 million dollar contract.

In a departure from one of his earlier rulings involving former Denver Bronco wider receiver Ashley Lelie Special Master Burbank stated, that the money that could be recouped was for future services. In the Lelie ruling, Burbank stated that the money that the Broncos could collect was only signing-bonus money for players deemed to have breached their contract.

It is surmised that since Vick is suspended and will likely be headed to jail he cannot perform on his contract and has breached it, thus allowing the Falcons to recoup their losses.

"We are certainly pleased with today's ruling by NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank," the Falcons said in a statement.

"It is the first step in a process that our club has undertaken in an attempt to recoup significant salary-cap space that will allow us to continue to build our football team today and in future years."

One thing this does immediately for the Falcons is it allows them to pursue free agents, because the money owed to Vick is now off the books, for salary cap purposes. Although it remains to be seen, how much, if any, money Mike Vick has left. Just a few weeks ago a Canadian Bank filed a lawsuit against Vick claiming he defaulted on a $2.5 million dollar loan.

The NFLPA (the players union) said they will appeal the ruling.