The NFL is planning to honor a convicted dog killer despite a petition signed by over half a million people to remove him from the game.
It was announced on Wednesday that Michael Vick is going back to the NFL Pro Bowl, this time as one of four NFL Legends Pro Bowl Captains. The 2020 NFL Pro Bowl will take place on January 26 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The other captains selected are Terrell Davis, Darrell Green and Bruce Smith.
Michael Vick went to prison in 2007 and served nearly two years for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 and retired in 2017.
The outrage against him was so great that over 550,000 signed a Change.org petition to urge the NFL not to honor him.
“To honor a man who had zero regard for animals is unacceptable,” the petition said.
Why this matters
American attitudes towards animal cruelty have shifted a lot in recent years.
In November President Trump, in a rare sign of political unity, signed a bipartisan bill that made acts of animal cruelty a federal crime punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison.
Federal law already bans sponsoring animal fights.
On the petition, Joanna Lind wrote: “When is the NFL going to take any responsibility for the behavior of its current and former players?”
Below is just one of the many shocking snippets of “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption.”
“And then there was one last body that stood out from the rest. It had signs of bruising on all four ankles and all along its side. Brownie had said that all the dogs that didn’t die from being hanged were drowned, except one. As that dog lay on the ground fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs and Michael Vick grabbed its hind legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn’t kill it. So [they] slammed it again. The two men kept at it, alternating back and forth, pounding the creature against the ground, until at last, the little red dog was dead.”