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August 17th, 2009
10:47 AM ET

Michael Vick opens up about jail & dog fighting

For the first time since he was released from prison, Michael Vick is opening up about his time behind bars as well as his involvement in dog fighting. Vick sat down with James Brown of CBS Sports for a piece on “60 Minutes” that aired last night.

Brown spoke about the interview with John Roberts and Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday. The following is an edited version of the transcript.

Kiran Chetry: Let’s listen to just a little bit of what he told you about what he might have learned behind bars.

From "60 Minutes" interview:

James Brown: Do you understand why people are outraged?

Michael Vick: I understand why, but I’m going to say it again. It sickens me to my stomach and it was, you know, the same feeling I’m feeling right now is what people was feeling.

Brown: And the feeling you’re feeling right now is?

Vick: Disgust. Pure disgust.

Chetry: He also went on to say that he cried the first night in his cell. Did you walk out of that interview feeling he was someone who was truly remorseful for what he had done?

Brown: Kiran, the frame of reference that I have in saying yes is that I did visit with him in Leavenworth, Kansas during his incarceration and also during home confinement in Norfolk, Virginia where I had about a three hour sit down with him just to do some background work prior to the interview. And Kiran, I can say that he was very consistent in all three visits and there certainly seemed to be a real resolve and understanding of why folks are so outraged and him understanding why in fact what he was doing, although introduced early to this, that it was in fact the wrong thing and cruel indeed.

John Roberts: He said one of the reasons why he determined what he did was so bad was because he found God when he was in jail. You asked him about this. Are you skeptical of this jailhouse conversion? There are so many people who get into trouble, find God, seek redemption, and they say it’s all because of that I was able to become a better person.

Brown: Excellent question. No, I do believe him. And the reason was, he shared with me, he shared with Tony Dungy, the former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, in separate discussions, that he was in fact a man of faith early on when he was in college, John, praying to get to the Promised Land of the NFL. But once he got there, I think folks saw the iconic images, the hubris that he was displaying, thinking he was a Teflon man, and everybody would make excuses for him because of the station in life where he was at and he realized how seriously wrong he was and now is trying to resurrect that.

From "60 Minutes" interview:

Brown: Michael, is this you talking or the Vick team of attorneys, image shapers, and the like?

Vick: This is Mike Vick. People will see my work out there – my work in the communities and my work with the Humane Society and how I really do care now, how I care about animals.

Roberts: You pointed out in the piece last night that he’s got a pretty high power group of attorneys and image shapers. Do you believe him? Was that Michael Vick talking or was he sort of reciting from notes?

Brown: … Based on those previous visits, he was very consistent in that. And I could tell the difference between when he was talking naturally and extemporaneously versus that which he was being coached and that was very serious and sincere from him.

Chetry: One of the things that a lot of people can’t seem to get over is that he participated, according to the prosecutors, in the killings of these dogs. It wasn’t just that he funded a dog fighting ring – that he with his bare hands may have helped kill many of these animals in very cruel ways. … It was interesting when he talked about how he even came to know dog fighting and became involved with it.

From "60 Minutes" interview:

Brown: You shared with me the story about even the police riding through the neighborhood and seeing what was happening. Explain that situation.

Vick: When he got out of the car and seen it, you know, it was two dogs fighting he got back in the car and they left. So that right there kind of made me feel like, okay this is not as bad as it may seem.

Chetry: So he says his first exposure to this was when he was about 8-years-old. And he said it was a cultural thing. Do you buy that or do you think in some ways his moral compass had to be off for him to even participate?

Brown: I asked him, I said, “Even if in fact there was tacit approval by the police in as much as they saw it and then got back in the cruiser and took off, on some fundamental level you had to know that at least it was wrong if not illegal.” And he said as a youngster he did not distinguish between that because the older kids in the neighborhood were engaged in that but as he got older he certainly knew that it was wrong but by then he was caught up in it because he was engaged in it with childhood friends and didn’t want to break away from it.

Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Human Society of the United States, said this is not atypical at all. He often characterized the problem as not being a black problem or white problem or a Latino problem – it is widespread and introduced to it young there can be, if you will, an apathetic feeling about it where you just don’t sense the wrongness of what you’re doing or the cruelty of it until you get a little older.

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