Michael Vick received a rousing ovation from Philadelphia Eagles fans last night when he took the field for the first time.
Only a handful of protesters gathered at the stadium before Thursday night’s exhibition game against Jacksonville, including three women who held a sign outside Lincoln Financial Field that said, “Murderers are not role models.”
Inside the stadium, though, Eagles fans, some clad in Vick jerseys, defended the quarterback, saying he had been punished for his crime and deserved a second chance.
Prior to the game, as fans tailgated outside the stadium, dog lovers were holding a competing tailgate party on the other side of town.
It was part of the Pennsylvania SPCA’s “2nd Chance Dogs” campaign to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls. The initiative was launched after the Eagles signed Vick, upon completion of his 18 month term in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.
“As a lot of people have pointed out, the animals never got a second chance,” the SPCA chief executive Sue Cosby said. “We need to speak for them.”