More than a hundred protest Vick’s award
As 100 to 150 sign-carrying protesters stood outside, convicted dogfighter Michael Vick received the Ed Block Courage Award at a Baltimore banquet hall tonight.
Vick, who served a 21-month prison sentence for dogfighting before getting signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, has said he feels he deserves the award. He was the unanimous choice of his teammates.
“I think everybody has a right to their own opinion. I feel like I’ve done everything I said I would do,” Vick said in an interview with WBAL during the ceremony. “My peers felt like I was doing the right thing … that I displayed courage and sportsmanship and leadership.”
Protesters began gathering at Martin’s West in Woodlawn before 4 p.m., carrying signs that said, among other things, ”No awards for dog killers” and “Cowards abuse animals.”
“I am here to protest that the Eagles have given Michael Vick a Courage Award and everyone else has gone along with it,” said Darlene Sanders Harris, an organizer of the protest. “I don’t think he exudes courage or any of the qualities they are looking for in an Ed Block recipient.”
Animal advocates have voiced their dismay at Vick being named to receive the honor since last December when his teammates chose him for the award.
When Vick confirmed he would be attending, the foundation had to boost security for the event and scrap the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans to sign autographs.
Every year 32 NFL players receive the honor, which is named after a longtime Baltimore Colts trainer who also worked as a physical therapist at a hospital for disabled children. The award honors players who are “role models” and “exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”
Maryland SPCA’s Executive Director Aileen Gabbey released the following statement about the decision to give the award to Vick:
“The Maryland SPCA remains shocked and disappointed that Michael Vick will, indeed, receive an award for courage from the Ed Block Foundation after being nominated by his team. Mr. Vick does not deserve this honor. He has been convicted of horrific crimes against living creatures; he has served jail time; he has somehow been re-employed. His attempts to speak on behalf of animals have been half-hearted and disingenuous. None of this warrants a special award.
“No truly courageous or honorable person would say ‘Yes, I deserve an award.’ Yet, this is precisely what Mr. Vick has done, defending his nomination and claiming that he has suffered hardships. He has never suffered the hardships, or torture, that his poor dogs did at his hands. The honorable thing for Mr. Vick to do would be to not accept this award. This would actually show some courage and that he is serious about being on the road to atonement for his terrible actions against innocent lives.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal advocates, animal cruelty, awards, baltimore, banquet, darlene sanders harris, demonstration, dog fighting, dogfighting, ed block courage award, michael vick, news, philadelphia eagles, pit bulls, prison, protest, protestors, sentence, vick