Michael Vick, the most despised player to ever wear an NFL uniform is finally off the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles effective March 21, 2014. That means the Eagles PR machine can rest easy and literally thousands of former fans can support the team again.
Michael Vick is a convicted felon and a liar. He ran a dog fighting ring for years from his "Bad Newz Kennels" in Virginia. When the feds did an investigation, Vick stood up and denied to the American people that he had nothing to do with this operation. He swore up and down he was clean.
Then when the indictment was announced, Vick changed his mind and pleaded guilty. he served a short stint in Federal Prison. Upon his release, he begged for a second chance and was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. That move quickly made thousands of fans ambivalent to the team. Vick was despised.
During the games he played with the team, he had mostly lackluster seasons. Still, for unknown reasons, he was re signed, which angered fans. Ticket sales were hurt and social media was a blaze in peoples hatred for the man. Extra security is hired for him and when he tried to go on a book signing tour to promote a book he "wrote", the stores were threatened with firebombings and death threats were made against employees. The tour was quickly cancelled.
When you are signed to an NFL team, there comes responsibility. Things you did as a kid you don't do anymore. Vick did not abandon his childhood friends like he should have, instead he went into business with them.
To be fair, Vick did have a few supporters in Philly. They implored the haters to look beyond his past. while Vick did not kill dogs himself,he facilitated it. Not just pit bulls. At dog fighting rings, smaller animals like cats and rabbits are tossed into the ring to be destroyed by the dogs, to make them meaner. These bait animals are adopted from pounds or are stolen out of peoples yards.
It is this kind of reprehensible behavior that people cannot look beyond. There are those football fans that would cheer a child molester should their team sign one. As long as he can play , it does not matter.
Then there are others that say Vick haters are racists. Nothing could be further from the truth. They don't hate the color of his skin, they hate what he has done.Those people that think it boils down to race generally did not go far in school and are easily led. To his credit Vick has been trouble free after his release from prison.
Vick signed with the NY Jets and will be a starting quarterback next season. Presumably, the Jets will now have to deal with fans that desert the team. Their PR team will work over time to try to convince the masses that Vick's past does not matter. Financial terms of the signing are not yet known.
To read an editorial on this from January, go here