Animal-rights Activists Angry Over Vick’s ReturnAugust 14th, 2009
Quarterback-turned-convict-turned-quarterback Michael Vick apparently did enough to convince NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he’s sorry for acts of animal cruelty that landed him in the federal penitentiary for nearly two years, but PETA isn’t buying it. Just moments after the Philadelphia Eagles announced inking a two-year deal with the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, the animal-rights group lashed out. “You’ve got to wonder what kind of message this sends to young people who care about animals and don’t want to see them be harmed,” Dan Shannon, a spokesman for the group said in a statement. “We hope Vick has learned his lesson, we hope he feels remorseful for his crimes, but there’s not a lot of public indication that that’s the case. At this point, only time will tell.” PETA members weren’t the only ones expressing outrage. Sports-radio shows were clogged with callers blasting the Eagles’ organization for signing Vick to the deal, worth $1.6 million this year and an additional $5.2 million if the team decides to bring him back in 2011. But the 29-year-old lefty wasn’t without his share of supporters. Donovan McNabb, the Eagles’ quarterback for the past decade, said he actually pressed management to add Vick to the squad. “I pretty much lobbied to get him here, because I believe everyone deserves a second chance, and what better place to come [than] here,” said McNabb, contradicting early reports that he was averse to bringing in such talented competition. “I look forward to him joining us in the next couple days.” Coach Andy Reid said, “Michael has proven he’s on the right track,” Reid said. “I’ve had a chance to talk to Michael a few times to make sure I know exactly where he’s at, and he’s in a good place. …I’m very excited … to have a good football player. You’re talking about one of the top quarterbacks in the league when he was playing, and he’s familiar with our offense, having done it the last few years in Atlanta. It’s a very exciting thing. We feel very good about it.” Ironically, the last time Vick played an NFL Game, he donned a Falcons helmet and played against the Philadelphia Eagles. On Dec. 6, the Eagles face the Falcons.