Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Mr. Vick was recently released from federal prison, having served an 18-month sentence for pleading guilty to dog-fighting and conspiracy charges. The contract is a two-year contract, with $1.6 million for the first year and an option on the second year for $5.2 million.
The NFL, however, has some control over the contract. Mr. Vick can practice with the team, but is not permitted to play until the third pre-season game. Also, both Mr. Vick’s NFL play approval and his contract with the Eagles have a so-called morals clause. That is, if Mr. Vick violates any of the terms of his probation, which would include any arrests or charges, he would be suspended again and he would also be in breach of contract. This morals clause is more stringent and well defined than those in other contracts because of the ongoing probation supervision. Violations of his probation could include possession of a weapon, the failure to meet his probation officer as required, the failure to meet the terms of community service requirements, and travel outside the country without prior approval.
Evaluate the contract issues in this situation. What would happen if the Eagles allowed Mr. Vick to continue with his contract even if he had a probation violation? Are there social responsibility issues in allowing Mr. Vick to play once again because of the nature of the underlying charges, i.e., dog fighting?
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Nate Davis, “Vick Finds Taker, Signs with Eagles,” USA Today, August 14, 2009, p. 1C.