Michael Vick Returns to Pro Football: Signed by Philadelphia EaglesPublished August 17, 2009
Michael Vick has been given a second chance and opportunity to carry the pigskin to victory. Many of his fans will be thrilled that Vick is "back in the saddle" and will be seen on TV screens around the country and by his fans attending the games.
This said, I am not one of the folks who are excited about his reinstatement to professional football, and in fact, am concerned that a message is being sent to young people in particular, that animal abuse is no big deal.
Pending approval by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Michael Vick, who was released from Federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas in May, could play for the Philadelphia Eagles' two final pre-season games and join the team by the sixth week of the football season, in October. Vick was offered a two-year contract, to play as back-up Quarterback. It was reported that Vick will receive $1.6 million for his first year, with a second year-option worth $5.2 million. Vick can also boost his earning potential with an additional $3 million in "incentives" over the two years of his contract, as reported to Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com.
While the Eagles owner, Jeffrey Lurie, a passionate dog lover himself, said his decision to contract Vick was not taken lightly and was difficult to make. He said, "The question eventually I had to ask is, going forward, is Michael going to be a negative force in society the way he's been? Is he going to be responsible for pain, suffering, disappointment, disloyalty, criminal behavior? Or is he going to have an opportunity and be committed enough to become a force for good?" Read more of Lurie's moving statement upon hiring Vick for his two year contract by visiting: http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/
Meryl, a Pitbull terrier rescued from BadNewz Kennel, learning agility training as part of
her rehabilitation program.
However, there are many animal loving Eagles' fans are not quite so enthusiastic about Lurie's decision. Within 24 hours of the announcement, a group appeared on Facebook, "Eagles Fans against Vick" with hundreds of members contributing their disappointment, along with other messages protesting Vick's return to professional football circulating on the Internet.
A lifelong Eagle's fan, Tilton Tighe, upon learning that Vick had been hired by the Eagles, told the "New York Times", "I cried. Now I have to hate the Eagles. Now I don't have a team to root for anymore. There's no possible way I could ever root for them again. It makes me sick."In a statement issued by Hot Dog Collars, an online pet store specializing in sport's oriented pet items, announced that they had already discontinued sales of any Eagle's theme pet products. In fact, their webpage that featured Eagle's paraphernalia has been reconfigured for people to instead donate to the Philadelphia S.P.C.A.
Donna Reynolds, The co-founder of the BAD RAP rescue group that played a huge part in the rehabilitation and re-homing of many of the Pit Bulls rescued from the BAD NEWZ kennel posted a blog message of sympathy to the dog rescuers in Philadelphia. She wrote, "My heart sank for Philly when I heard the news of Vick signing with the Eagles. I can only imagine some animal workers may be so utterly discouraged that they throw their hands in the air and leave the city that has decided to embrace a man who laughed . . . laughed . . . while dogs were crying out in pain."
Vick, perhaps in response to the outrage expressed by animal lovers learning of his contract with the Eagles, stated in a press conference, "Having committed an act that was cruel and unethical and inhumane, I understand to a certain degree. Our country is a country of second chances. I paid my debt to society." Apparently the president of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, agreed with him.
Watch the video uploaded to YouTube by The Karate Kid II, of a press conference which launched Vick's "Please Don't Pelt Me with Objects" tour.
What are your opinions about the Eagles' decision to hire Vick? Please share by leaving a comment.