Michael Vick is an honorary Pro Bowl captain, and animal rights activists are upset

New England Patriots v Houston Texans
Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick looks on prior to a game between the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans Dec. 1 at NRG Stadium.
(Bob Levy / Getty Images)

Michael Vick’s name has surfaced in NFL news recently, and it’s not just because Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson is about to break his single-season record for passing yards by a quarterback.

Late last month, the league announced that Vick would join Terrell Davis, Darrell Green and Bruce Smith as honorary captains during the 2020 Pro Bowl.

Animal rights activists are not happy about this, and hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get the NFL to change its mind about honoring someone who spent time in federal prison for his role in running a dogfighting ring. At least three different petitions appear on that look to prevent Vick from being honored at the Pro Bowl, which airs Jan. 26 on ESPN. They had accumulated nearly 740,000 signatures as of Monday morning.

“Mike Vick does not deserve the honor of being Pro Bowl Captain,” one of the petitions states. “He is a convicted felon and a known animal abuser, is this who we want our children to look up to? Disney, how could you condone this?? There are so many players that have made amazing contribution to society, however Michael Vick is not one of them.”


Another states: “It is beyond baffling why they would possibly choose Michael Vick when there are so many players who are worthy of the honor and have not been convicted of torturing and murdering dogs!!! PLEASE TELL HIS SPONSORS NO MORE!!! STOP GIVING ANY MONEY OR SUPPORT TO THESE BUSINESSES UNTIL THEY REPLACE MICHAEL VICK!”

Vick rushed for a record 1,039 yards in 2006 as quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. No other QB had ever broken the 1,000-yard rushing mark before or since, until Jackson did so Sunday.

Everything unraveled the following year for Vick, who eventually acknowledged he bankrolled a dogfighting operation in rural Virginia, helped kill dogs that didn’t perform well and provided money for bets on the fights. After spending 18 months in jail, Vick was able to resurrect his football career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now retired from playing, he is an analyst for Fox Sports and has coaching aspirations.

Vick also has served as an advocate for animal rights, and he and his family were allowed to get a pet dog in 2012 after a three-year probation period.

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