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Vick makes first anti-dogfighting appearance

Michael Vick, in the first of what he hopes will be dozens of appearances around the country to urge low-income youths to avoid dogfighting, spoke to a small gathering  in Atlanta yesterday — but most press was banned from the event.

Vick’s visit to a suburban Atlanta community center was largely off limits — both to the news media and most members of the neighborhood it was supposed to be helping. Only 55 people and a crew from “60 Minutes” were allowed to attend, the Associated Press reported.

An Associated Press reporter, videographer and photographer were among the media banished from the property by police. Most people who live in the largely black neighborhood southeast of Atlanta were unaware of Vick’s appearance.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the group wants to be open and reach as many people as possible with its anti-dogfighting message, but Vick’s handlers insisted on tight controls on the meeting.

“We don’t want this to be a flash in the pan,” Pacelle said. “We are committed to transparency over the long run and having Michael involved in many community-based events to speak about the issue. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but he wants the opportunity in a controlled setting to make his first statement on the issue. But I’m sure he’s going to be speaking out more based on what he had to say today.”

“We’re giving him an opportunity to plug into our community-based forums,” Pacelle said. “But he obviously has his own set of individuals who are working with him and want to present things in the way they want.”

Vick entered through a back door and spoke for about 12 minutes, Pacelle said. The small audience was moved by what it heard.

“He said he did wrong,” 17-year-old Stanley Jones said. “Now he’s trying to come up with a smarter way to help the whole community, for young people like us, to make a change.”

“The thing I got out of it was your past ain’t your potential,” said Antonio Frazier, a 24-year-old pit bull owner. “Everyone is entitled to redemption. … Now he wants to stand up and pay for what he’s done. He wants to give back to the community.”

A dog was taken into the building after Vick arrived, but Pacelle said the animal was kept in a separate room while the quarterback spoke. Vick is barred from being around dogs as part of his probation.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has conditionally lifted Vick’s ban from the league. He can participate in training camp and exhibition games, and would be eligible to return for the sixth week of the regular season if he has no further setbacks. Most NFL teams, however, have said they have no intention of signing him.


Comment from Ellen
Time August 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Thanks to the Humane Society’s help in promoting this very sick person, these are little more than publicity appearances that benefit Vick the football star. They do nothing to help dogs. These kids are low-income black kids who, statistics show, idolize Vick no matter what he did. They aren’t there to turn against dog fighting. They are there to see the football star. Give me a break. The Humane Society (& specifically Wayne Pacelle) is prostituting itself. By helping Vick get favorable publicity (without really doing anything substantiative for the poor dogs) the HSUS is getting a little free publicity of its own. But it isn’t doing ANYTHING to help the dogs. These low-income dog fighters and the rest of the dogfighting world are laughing at the HSUS. Just look at these quotes. It’s the same old cliches…”everyone is entitled to redemption.” So is this HSUS thing about Vick’s redemption or his repentence for what he did. I will never, EVER support the Humane Society again. There are too many other really worthwhile animal protective organizations out there to support that really do help the animals.

Comment from pau??
Time August 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm

I really wish the people hating on Vick would understand that they are now the problem. They are going to hinder him from helping to stop dogfighting. He has changed and moved on. I think people that are actively slandering him should have the brain scan.

Comment from Starla Myers
Time August 10, 2009 at 11:23 am

In my opinion, and everyone is entitled to one, I believe that Vick is only going through the motions as a means to the end & that being getting himself back into the NFL. He has shown no remorse for the dogs, but only for himself & all that he lost by getting caught. Wayne Pacelle, could care less about the dogs involved. He wanted them destroyed for Pete’s sake! And now he (Pacelle) is the spokes person for Vicks community service appearances? Give me a Frickin Break! Vick chose to fight dogs because he enjoyed it. I have no sympathy for him. If he really wants to beg forgiveness, why doesn’t he do speaking engagements along side the actual Rescue Organizations who Fought for the Lives of his dogs & Rehabilitated them. (Like Bad Rap) THEN I would think he was sorry…But speaking for the HSUS & Peta…he’s getting off waaaay too easy! Neither of those so called Animal Rights Organizations gives a Hoot about a Pit bull!

Comment from Nicole W
Time August 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Does Michael Vick Deserve a second chance?
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Comment from 305 dog lovers
Time August 31, 2009 at 9:29 pm

michael vick showed a lack of empathy equal to that of psychopaths. There is no difference in harming defenseless animals, women, or children and with time Vick will escalate. he was bad in atlanta and they wanted him out. philly lied down with dogs and will get up with fleas.