It’s been 12 years since Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring. Even though he served his time and paid his debts all while continuing to pay his debts, there are some people who refuse to let him live his life and remind him everyday about what he did.
The former NFL quarterback was all set to show up at an upcoming Lexington youth football camp, but had to abruptly cancel because of animal advocates’ strong opposition to him being there.
Melissa Bowman, the president of a group called Kentuckians Vote for Animals, points out his conviction as well as reports that said Vick was personally responsible for animal deaths.
“We just don’t think someone capable of that should serve as a role model for children and get paid for it. We are glad to hear that the Lexington camp has been canceled,” Bowman said.
Short, the event coordinator for the May 19 Factory Elite Skills Football Camp in Lexington said he originally had contracted with Fayette County Public Schools to have the event at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. He said when school district officials canceled due to the opposition, he moved it to the city’s Idle Hour Park. But Short said city officials were also hesitant because of the opposition, so on Tuesday he canceled.
“Lexington gave us too much controversy,” Short said. “I understand where the animal activist people are coming from but at the end of the day this world is built on second chances.”
During an April 17 letter to Dunbar principal Betsy Rains and Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk — Bowman opposed Vick’s appearance at the camp and said her group was prepared to protest the event.
“We believe that, due to his history and conviction of dogfighting, including beating to death losing dogs, Vick is not an appropriate role model for children,” the letter said.
On Wednesday, Bowman told the Herald-Leader, “We do appreciate the school systems in Jefferson and Fayette counties not allowing this on public school premises.”
Bowman’s group had planned a peaceful protest called “Just Say No to Michael Vick Lexington.”
Back on April 28th, protesters were present at an men’s rally in Youngstown, Ohio where Vick spoke about his animal cruelty conviction and time in prison, stating “continues to help animals beyond what was mandated by the court.”
“We have to stay focused and keep moving ahead. I don’t look backward. I believe in myself and the people around me. My heart led me to Jesus Christ. Everybody needs to have a message of forgiveness. Words will never hurt me. I spent two years in prison. I get it. I understand it. I can’t change the past; you can only control and try to dictate the present,” Vick was quoted as saying.