Michael Vick’s first post-prison endorsement contract — with a company called Unequal Technologies — appears to already be paying dividends, both for the quarterback and the company.
Vick, in exchange for a piece of the company, is now shilling for Unequal, which makes protective padding for athletes, designed to help prevent injuries among those who take part in contact sports — dogfighting, of course, not included.
For Vick, who once raked in $7 million a year in endorsements, the contract puts him back on the lucrative path of touting products for pay — and, though it’s not quite on level of Nike and Coke, it’s another step, as he sees it, to redeeming his image, left tarnished by a dogfighting scandal and prison term. He also reveals, in this interview, that he has a “V 7″ shoe and clothing line in the works.
For Unequal Technologies, teaming up with the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback meant an immediate burst of publicity and a huge surge in sales. Chief Executive Rob Vito said within a day of Vick’s signing, there were 10 million hits on Unequal Technologies website. ”The sales went up 1,000% when Mike came on board,” he said, adding that they are still about triple what they were a year ago.
The company declined to disclose the terms of the agreement, but both Vito and Vick, in this interview with the Wall Street Journal, say the quarterback was given a share in the company, as opposed to a flat fee.
In the wide-ranging interview, Vick seems to contradict himself several times. He says he doesn’t read newspaper accounts about himself, then says he reads them before games because their negativity motivates him. He says he’s not a Christian, but that his connection with God is ”uncanny”.
He says he wouldn’t change anything about his life, except maybe shortening his prison sentence, from 18 months to five months. His dogfighting conviction and imprisonment, he says, led to an opportunity to read, and work on improving himself.
“Because I handled it so well, I think that’s why the Lord is continuing to bless me,” he says.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, clothing line, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, football, hsus, interview, kevlar, michael vick, nfl, padding, pets, philadelphia eagles, protection, redemption, rob vito, shoes, unequal, unequal technologies, vick
Two raids in as many days led to the seizure of about 20 dogs and the arrests of what Philadelphia police and the Pennsylvania SPCA say were some of the the leaders of one of the city’s largest dog-fighting rings.
In this morning’s raid, in the 2800 block of Boundinot Street in Kensington, at least a dozen dogs were rescued, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In a raid last night in South Philadelphia, about 20 people were arrested when authorities broke up a dog fight in progress, according to Fox News.
“When we entered the property, the dogs were actually engaged in a fight in a ring in the front bedroom of this property,” said the PSPCA’s head of investigations, George Bengal. “This was a fairly large operation. These gentlemen have been on our radar for quite some time for dog fighting. This is literally months and months of investigation work that resulted in this arrest tonight.”
“Some of the biggest fighters in the city are here,” Bengal, said.
PSPCA officals called the home in the 2600 block of Garrett Street, in the city’s Gray’s Ferry section, a “house of horrors.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrests, cruelty, dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, george bengal, investigation, pennsylvania, pets, philadelphia, police, preventioin, pspca, raid, raids, ring, society
Residents of Chesterfield County demanded improvements yesterday at a South Carolina animal shelter under investigation for, among other things, shooting surplus dogs and “euthanizing” cats by blows to the head with a pipe.
The allegations began surfacing a month ago, and yesterday’s county council meeting was the first opportunity for residents to speak publicly about them.
“Chesterfield County has a black eye, and I’m so ashamed,” Joy Young told members of the Chesterfield County Council.
“Significant changes must be made to ensure that this never happens again,” said Jerri Gaskins, who founded Paws and Claws, a volunteer group that helps run the shelter.
A member of Paws and Claws, Deborah Farhi, blew the whistle a month ago, coming forward to allege that dozens of dogs and cats were being shot rather than euthanized by lethal injection.
The allegations, and subsequent media coverage by WSOC Eyewitness News and others, led to an investigation by the state — the findings of which have yet to be reported.
County Sheriff Sam Parker, after the allegations surfaced, put all four animal control officers on leave and assigned deputies to run the shelter and answer animal-related calls.
Animal welfare activists also say the shelter is failing to properly care for dogs and cats and provides insufficient food and medical care.
Some reports suggest as many as 50 dogs had been shot and dumped in a landfill across the street from the shelter, and quote a former a former shelter worker as saying cats were euthanized by being beaten on the head with a pipe
According to Change.org, the shelter’s director, Brian Burch, is a convicted felon who served time on drug charges and is a breeder of pit bulls. Equipment that could have been used to train dogs to fight was found at the shelter, which doesn’t officially adopt out pit bulls, the Change.org article said.
Council members told Wednesday’s crowd that they are awaiting the results of the state investigation, and wouldn’t take any action until it is complete.
No charges have been filed in the case. Sheriff’s deputies said only about two dozen dogs remain at the shelter. A rescue group recently took all 38 cats from the shelter. More than 100 animals have been adopted out, and none have been euthanized since the allegations first surfaced last month.
Change.org reports that the State Law Enforcement Division wrapped up their investigation late last week and turned its findings over to the attorney general’s office. A petition urging the attorney general to file charges and hold the shelter accountable can be found here.
A rally is scheduled for April 21, at 3 p.m. on the steps of the State House in Columbia.
More information and updates are available on the Paws n Claws Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelter, animal welfare, animals, beating, cats, chesterfield county, coverage, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, guns, investigation, killing, news, pets, pipes, rescue, shelters, shooting, south carolina, WSOC
Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle admits he and his wife sometimes rooted for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to be injured on the field — as payback for Vick’s mistreatment of dogs.
“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Buehrle told MLB.com. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
Buehrle’s comments were later removed from the MLB.com article that was published Wednesday, but the author of the article, Scott Merkin, tweeted some of them, according to the Sporting News.
The Buehrles own three dogs and are active in the rescue community.
Of course, Buehrle wasn’t the first person to wish bad things on Vick, who — in addition to teaming up with the Humane Society of the United States to send an anti-dogfighting message — has managed to have mostly good ones come his way since serving 23 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.
“Even if you are not a dog lover, how can you sit there and make two dogs fight and one is going to die?” Buehrle was quoted as saying. “How could you do that if you are somewhat sane?”
Buehrle’s comments were much tamer than those of political commentator Tucker Carlson, who said in December that Vick should have been executed for his crimes.
Carlson later said he “overspoke.”
That seems to be a common ailment among humans these days.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: article, baseball, buehrle, chicago white sox, comeback player of the year, dogfighting, dogs, football, hurt, injured, karma, major league baseball, mark buehrle, michael vick, mlb, mlb.com, nfl, pitcher, scott merkin, sports, vick, white sox, wish
We can’t remember a week — at least not since 2007, when federal authorities raided 1915 Moonlight Road – that pit bulls have grabbed so many headlines … without even biting anyone.
Here in Baltimore, the week began with a pit bull parade, sponsored by B-More Dog and designed to improve the image and shatter the misconceptions about the breed — such as the one that they are innately inclined to inflict violence.
Those who ran into the pack of four-legged goodwill ambassadors at the Inner Harbor Sunday got a chance to see beyond the myths.
The very next day, a mistrial was declared in the case against twin brothers in Baltimore accused of setting a pit bull on fire in the summer of 2009. Phoenix, as the dog was dubbed, died five days later. The police investigation that followed, testimony at the trial indicated, was something less than thorough — likely, I think it’s safe to say, because the murder victim was a dog, and, in particular, a pit bull.
Jurors were unable to reach a decision, and a new trial is a possibility, but as of now, it appears the fatal burning of Phoenix will go unpunished. Despite that, she leaves a legacy.
“We waited almost two years for justice for Phoenix and though justice was not met for her, she became the change agent and public figure for animal abuse,” said Jennifer Brause, executive director of Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). “Thousands of people offered their support on her behalf. Because of her, a Mayor’s Commission on Animal Abuse has been formed and the seriousness of animal abuse has been elevated to a national level.”
No dog, I will go out on a limb and educatedly guess, is more often the victim of abuse and neglect than the pit bull type — just as they are the most often maligned. Society, rather than simply label them as aggressive, and ban and muzzle them, needs to come to terms with the fact that, in those instances when they are violent, our fellow humans are responsible for it, training them to fight, attempting to breed for viciousness, and trying to turn their natural born tenacity into something mean and macho.
Which brings us, once again, to Bad Newz Kennels.
Down in Dallas, the adoptive parent of one of Michael Vick’s dogs confronted the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and offered him an opportunity to meet Mel, a shy and fearful pit bull who was apparently used as a bait dog at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels.
The convicted dogfighting ring operator — in Dallas to receive the key to the city — declined, and his entourage shoved Mel’s new owner, local radio personality Richard Hunter, who captured the whole episode on his shaky camera, out of the way.
A few days after that, reports surfaced that Vick’s former estate on Moonlight Road, the Surry, Virginia, headquarters of Bad Newz Kennels, which has sat empty for three years, may be getting a new owner — Dog Deserves Better, a Pennsylvania-based dog rescue and advocacy group.
They hope to turn the former Vick mansion — where 51 dogs were seized by authorities and eight more were found dead and buried on the grounds — into a training and rehabilitation center for rescued dogs.
As usual, bringing up Michael Vick brings on lots of comments, on this blog and others, from his supporters — those who say “give it a rest,” those who say “he served his time,” those who say he’s a different person now who should be permitted to move beyond his besmirched reputation.
Be that as it may, I’m wondering when pit bulls — given they are regularly accused and punished without any trials, given that any violence they display has been instilled into them by humans, given that their bad reputation is mostly undeserved – will be afforded that same opportunity.
As a breed, they’ve done their time.
(Photo by Tim Quinn)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, aggression, animal abuse, animal welfare, animals, bad newz kennels, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, brothers, burned, burned dog, cruelty to animals, dogfighting, dogs, doused, fire, image, investigation, media, mel, michael vick, myths, news, parade, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, prosecution, richard hunter, stereotypes, trial, vick, vick dogs, violence
A Pennsylvania-based dog rescue organization and advocacy group has reportedly signed a contract to buy the former estate of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick — headquarters of Bad Newz Kennels, a dogfighting operation.
The group, Dogs Deserve Better, says it hopes to turn the 4,600-square foot house and 15 acres of property in Surry into an animal sanctuary, where rescued dogs could be trained and rehabilitated.
The organization, which has been at the forefront of the movement towards banning the tethering and chaining of dogs, has 45 days to raise enough money to cover the asking price of $595,000, according to the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
Monica Severy, the group’s local representative, said it has raised more than $50,000.
“The dogs will live in the house, and we’ll use it for training and for meetings,” Severy said. “There will be somebody there all the time, living there.”
The house has been empty for three years. When Ace and I visited in August, the sign posted out front listed it as both for sale and for rent.
The white brick home has five bedrooms, four and a half baths, a pool and a basketball court.
Severy said the group chose the property for the symbolism of turning a place where dogs were made to suffer into a place of refuge for similar dogs. Fifty one dogs were seized from Bad Newz Kennels, and investigators discovered eight murdered dogs on the property once owned by Vick, who this past weekend was given the key to the city by Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bad newz kennels, chaining, dogfighting, dogs, dogs deserve better, estate, home, house, mansion, michael vick, nfl, organization, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bulls, pitbulls, quarterback, rehabilitation, rescue, sanctuary, shelter, surry, tethering, training, vick, vick estate, vick house, virginia
Richard Hunter, the adoptive parent of one of Michael Vick’s dogs, confronted the Eagles quarterback in Dallas after a ceremony Saturday in which Vick received the key to the city — and asked him if he wanted an opportunity to see one of his former dogs.
Instead of getting an answer, Hunter, a local radio personality who we met this summer in our Travels with Ace, got pushed out of the way by Vick’s entourage. He put together this video of the event afterwards.
Hunter and his wife, Sunny, VIP manager for a Dallas gentlemen’s club, adopted Mel about two years after he was seized from the Vick estate in Virginia. He was one of 47 survivors, and one of the 22 who, deemed most hopeless, were sent to Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in southern Utah. He spent nearly two years there before trainers pronounced him adoptable.
Ace and I got to meet the whole family during out visit to Dallas, which included a car ride in which Ace shared the back seat with Mel and the Hunter’s other dog, Pumpkin.
Michael Vick showed little interest in learning more about Mel, despite Hunter’s persistent offers, and at one point a member of Vick’s security team told him, “We don’t care about the dogs.”
In presenting the key to the city, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway told Vick, “You deserve it, you earned it.”
Hunter’s response to Vick getting presented the key? Maybe, he said, it’s time to change the locks.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, city, confrontation, dallas, dog, dogfighting, dogs, dwaine caraway, Key, mayor, mel, michael, michael vick, national football league, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pitbull, richard hunter, travels with ace, vick, vick dogs
A drug raid at a home in west Baltimore Friday night led to the discovery of six badly injured pit bulls who had apparently been used for fighting.
The dogs — all with bite wounds, some scarred over, some still bleeding – were seized by police and were being cared for at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).
“It is heart breaking to see beautiful, friendly dogs with such severe wounds and knowing what they were put through, said BARCS Executive Director Jennifer Brause. “The dogs will not be available for adoption until investigations have been resolved. In the meantime, our dedicated staff will treat their wounds, shower them with love and attention, and provide the best possible care.”
The puppies, all seized from a home on Edgemont Avenue, in the city’s Druid Hill section, were all underweight, with their ribs and spines clearly visible, BARCS staff said. One of them was a puppy, about three months old.
Police confiscated paraphernalia associated with training dogs for fighting, including a treadmill with attachments for a harness, a bite ball, and heavy chains.
BARCS is accepting donations to help provide veterinary treatment for these dogs. Donations can be made online at www.BaltimoreAnimalShelter.org, at the shelter, or through the mail: BARCS Franky Fund, 301 Stockholm Street, Baltimore, MD, 21230.
According to WJZ, police were unable to say whether anyone was arrested in connection with the raid, or what, if any charges were filed. A neighbor told a WJZ reporter that she noticed different dogs at the residence, off an on, and that their caretakers allowed them to fight. “One would hold a dog by the leash, a one would hold the other dog by the leash, and they would just let them go at it for about a minute or so.”
BARCS officials say they are hoping all six dogs recover, but that two of them are in pretty bad shape.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, crime, cruelty, dog, dogfighting, dogs, drug, fighting, neglect, news, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, raid, rescue, seized, shelter
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick told students at Juniata Park Academy in Philadelphia that it’s important to take care of pets “with all your heart,” but that, were it not for his arrest, he would probably still be dog fighting.
“Honestly … Yeah, I’d probably still be doing it,” he said in answer to one student’s question.
“I got caught and went through what I went through so that none of … you kids like you guys will have to go through what I went through.”
The NBC 10 sportscaster reporting on Vick’s appearance — one of many he’s made under the auspices of the Humane Society of the United States — concludes his report by saying, “You gotta say that what he did was heinous, but certainly no one is doing more to come back from his situation than Michael Vick is.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, anti-dog fighting, appearance, coverage, cruelty to animals, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, eagles, football, media, michael vick, news, nfl, pets, philadelphia, quarterback, torture, vick
Perturbed by the praise Michael Vick has been receiving for his performance on the field, guitarist Nils Lofgren has written an open letter to sports reporters, arguing Vick doesn’t deserve all the cheerleading, an MVP award, or even a place in the NFL.
“I am so disheartened and disappointed by your collective, lopsided praise of Michael Vick due to his recent spectacular on-field performance,” Logfren, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, begins.
“I support his right to earn a living. But, while I can’t fault him for taking great advantage of the opportunities afforded him by playing in the NFL, I feel he does not deserve that lofty a place in our society and culture. However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential bounty it offers.
“Shame on the NFL for not banning him permanently.”
Apparently the letter was prompted by a comment made by Jemele Hill on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” that if Josh Hamilton could win one of baseball’s MVP awards after recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, why couldn’t Vick win the award in the NFL?
“Well, for one thing, Hamilton has neither tortured dozens of dogs nor murdered defenseless animals,” Lofgren wrote. “ … In Vick’s case, I believe his second chance should certainly allow him to be free and to love and raise his family. I think he should make speeches about the error of his ways and help animal groups. I understand that he is doing some of these things and I applaud that. He’s also admitted to being haunted by his dogfighting days. That growth is welcome and necessary, but comes too late for me and those dogs.
Vick, formerly quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was convicted on dogfighting charges and served nearly two years in prison. After his release he was signed last year by the Philadelphia Eagles.
“How can we justify this saga to our children?” Lofgren asked in the letter. ” …Well kids, although doing those things is wrong, two years after you admit to doing them the NFL will let you have a job that may lead to an MVP award and many millions of dollars in a new contract.
Lofgren added, “…(T)he cynic in me thinks maybe if Vick were a third-string lineman, the NFL would have set an example and banned him for life. Maybe many of the other significant charges Vick was facing wouldn’t have gone away if he didn’t have the prestige of being an NFL quarterback who can afford high-priced lawyers to wrangle pleas and deals.
“For the NFL to be that forgiving of evil, vicious behavior is a terribly inappropriate act of forgiveness and has brought a sick, sad, dirty feeling to many of us fans who have loved the game for so long.
“And to you reporters, whom I enjoy and respect, the sentiments in this letter are suspiciously absent in your hundreds of hours of Vick coverage … Just because the NFL lost its spine and common sense on this matter doesn’t mean you reporters have to get in line and go along.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, bruce springsteen, conviction, coverage, deaths, dogfighting, e street band, football, guitarist, letter, media, michael vick, musician, news, nfl, nils lofgren, open letter, performance, philadelphia eagles, praise, prison, quarterback, reporters, sports, torture, vick