'It won't ever happen again'
Nov. 27: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick apologizes for the obscene gesture he gave to heckling fans on Sunday.
ATLANTA - As part of his fine for an obscene gesture made to fans, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is giving $5,000 to the family of a firefighter who recently died.
Another $5,000 will go to The Warrick Dunn Foundation, which helps single mothers become homeowners, according to a statement posted on the team’s Web site Thursday.
Atlanta firefighter Steven Solomon died Wednesday from injuries he suffered battling a Thanksgiving night fire.
“I gave this a lot of thought and realized that there are thousands of worthy charities that could benefit from these funds,” Vick said in the statement. “But when I heard that Mr. Solomon died after fighting a fire on Thanksgiving while most of us were at home with our own families, it really touched me. My heart goes out to his family.”
Vick said he wanted to help Falcons running back Warrick Dunn’s foundation, which assists single mothers and their children with down payments and home furnishings.
The donation to the Solomon family will be made through the Golden Shield Foundation, an organization that helps the families of law enforcement officers or firefighters who have been killed or incapacitated in the line of duty.
'I broke a rule and now I’m paying the price'
Vick was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity for an obscene hand gesture toward Falcons fans following last weekend’s loss to New Orleans.
“I broke a rule and now I’m paying the price,” Vick said Wednesday. “The good thing is I get to donate a portion of it to charity.”
Vick rushed for 166 yards in Sunday’s 31-13 loss, just 7 yards short of his own NFL record for a quarterback.
But that didn’t make up for a dismal performance by the Falcons, who dropped five passes and were booed loudly following their fourth straight loss. Vick showed his unhappiness by making the gesture with both hands as he walked off the Georgia Dome field.
“I can’t really say whether it’s fair or not,” Vick said. “But the league makes the rules and I broke the rules. It is what it is — 20 Gs. I shouldn’t have done what I did.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he planned to meet privately with Vick to discuss the incident.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“Michael knows his actions were inappropriate and he has taken responsibility for them, apologized to our fans, and been fined by the NFL,” Blank said. “We know, through all his time with the Falcons, that this is not characteristic of Mike and not the way he represents our club.”
Vick hasn’t decided which charity will get his $10,000, but seemed eager to put the matter behind him.
He issued a statement after the game apologizing for his actions, and he went before the media on Monday to again say he was sorry. The quarterback explained that he heard an especially disturbing insult from a male fan as he was heading for the locker room.
“He just said certain things I won’t say in front of this camera,” Vick said. “It was very inappropriate. I was down, upset, frustrated. I just did one thing I’ve never done through all the games I’ve ever lost, no matter how frustrated I’ve been after a game. I don’t know where it came from, but the people who know me know that’s not me and that’s not my character.”
Vick’s younger brother, Marcus, made a similar gesture to fans at West Virginia who were heckling him during a 2005 college game.
Marcus Vick had numerous problems during his career at Virginia Tech and was eventually kicked off the team. He now plays for the Miami Dolphins.
PFT: The manner in which Jay-Z's sports agency recruited Jets QB Geno Smith is under scrutiny due to specific NFLPA rules.
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
Latest from ProFootballTalk
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Best of ProFootballTalk: May 20th-24th
ProFootballTalk: Check out the bloopers from the week of May 20th.
Check out some of the NFL cheerleaders from across the league.