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Vick addresses students in Philadelphia

Michael Vick spoke to a group of Philadelphia high school students Tuesday, warning them against the dangers of peer pressure and urging them to make the right choices and resist the temptation to follow the crowd.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback addressed 200 freshmen on their first day at Nueva Esperanza Academy, a North Philadelphia charter school.

“I didn’t choose to go the right way, which led to 18 months in prison, which was the toughest time of my life,” he said. “Being away from my family, being away from my kids who I adore dearly, and being away from the game of football, doing something so foolish, and I wish I could take it all back.

“I was influenced by so many people when I should have been a leader, not a follower.”

The 10-minute talk marked Vick’s first anti-dogfighting public appearance in Philadelphia since he signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Eagles on Aug. 13, the Associated Press reported.

“My future was promising … at some point, I got sidetracked. I started listening to my friends and doing some things that were not ethical and not right.”

Vick visited the school with Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle met with Vick in prison at the quarterback’s request and agreed to allow him help in the organization’s anti-dogfighting campaign.

Once the highest paid player in the NFL, Vick was suspended from the league following his conviction in August 2007 on charges of conspiracy and organizing the dogfighting ring. He was released from federal custody in July and was signed by the Eagles in August.

Vick is suspended for the first two games of the regular season and is eligible to play beginning Sept. 27.


Comment from Lori
Time September 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

Schools were banning President Obama’s motivational speach to students about how important education is to their future yet someone let Michael Vick through the door?!? Appalling!

Comment from Miss Jan
Time September 10, 2009 at 11:26 am

Yup. Agreed. Let’s summarize: in today’s USA the ONLY thing that matters is MONEY. Want a dog? better have money (and NOT be old). Want an education? Well just listen to Vick who after all had a LOT of MONEY and will of course have it again. Work hard? Stay in school! OMG NO that is Dem Party Subversiveness and Brainwashing. NO! GET YOUR MONEY by abusing and murdering animals!

And it makes me absolutely disgusted with mainstream media which portrays Vick as merely “financing” dogfighting when he was guilty of the most horrific abuse imaginable. He may not have been convicted of the latter but that does not make him innocent.

I cannot imagine what public school officials could be possibly be thinking to let Vick within a city block of those kids. Do they not GET that the glamor Vick has is first money and then sports and they already know a lot of Vick’s money came from dogfighting?

Oh. Wait. Asking public school officials to actually THINK??? Not going to happen any time soon.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time September 10, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I’m not feeling any better about this. I still want to hear this man say the words “I hurt and killed defenseless animals for pleasure.” No more bull about making bad decisions. Now he’s switched to “not ethical and not right.” How about this: Wrong, wrong, wrong. What you did was wrong, Mr. Vick. It went far beyond faulty ethics and bad decisions. Choose the right words and use them: Wrong, cruel, criminal, immoral, sinful. Those are good old-fashioned unambiguous words that do a pretty good job of covering what you did.

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time September 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm

“National Felons League.”
There is really nothing that he can say that will ever make me feel better about his viciousness and violence. He can never be a good role model. He would STILL be brutalizing dogs if he hadn’t been caught!! I’m with Anne. I have forever been a huge football fan, but I just can’t stomach any of it yet this season. Too many felons, rapists, drunks, addicts, psychos just overshadow the few players who seem decent. The only thing that the League loves more than money is the notoreity that fuels it.

Comment from James
Time September 12, 2009 at 12:15 am

“I should have been a leader, not a follower.”

Oh, he was a leader, all right. The leader of a murderous organized criminal gang. Blaming your friends for leading you astray? Yeah, right.

Comment from Starla
Time September 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

I absolutely agree with all the comments here. What a Big Joke! “I should have been a leader”…Hello! You were the leader! Who does he think he is kidding? Besides himself & Wayne Pacelle? Another Big Joke! I too am disgusted that the President was given so much grief over a “Stay in School” speach, but then they let slime like Vick come & speak to kids. I want to hear Vick admit to what he did & not sugar coat it. He is still taking the cowards way out.