The New York Jets signed star quarterback Michael Vick on Friday for a reported one-year, $5-million deal; however, animal rights group PETA, who seemingly still holds a grudge against the NFL player as a result of his 2007 conviction for dog-fighting, sent out a tweet upon hearing the news about the signing that clearly shows they are not quite over the nearly seven-year incident, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"At least Michael Vick can't drown, electrocute, hang, or shoot a football the way he terrorized man's best friend."
Vick's younger brother, Marcus, came to his sibling's defense on Saturday, tweeting a response to PETA's jab at his big brother asking the Norfolk, Virginia-based organization if it was "still on that (BS)."
PETA never replied to Marcus's tweet.
Vick spent 21 months in prison for running a dog-fighting operation. The then-disgraced NFL star's became a dart board of sorts for animal lovers everywhere as details of his inhumane crime came to light. Dogs that did not perform up to expectations were killed by electrocution, hanging, drowning, and other violent means by the dog-fighting ring. As a result of his conviction, Vick lost lucrative endorsement deals and was suspended without pay by the NFL; the player incurred financial losses of about $142 million, including $71 million in his Philadelphia Falcons salary; $50 million in endorsement income; and nearly $20 million in previously paid bonuses. Vick was also fined $5,000 and handed a three-year probation upon his release from prison for his part in the blood sport.
The public backlash was intense against Vick and some of it still very much resonates today, even after he has already paid his debt to society.
Even though Vick has been virtually flogged for his unlawful dogfighting venture, he has successfully moved on since being released from prison. Vick partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and now works to help prevent cruelty to animals by promoting anti-dog-fighting campaigns. He also became a dog owner again nearly two years ago upon completing his probation and took major steps to prove that he could be a caring and responsible owner. Vick was even spotted at a Pet Smart in his state of residence, New Jersey, as he attended a dog-training class.
Many of Vick's coaches, friends and family members have attested to the fact that he has totally turned his life around, but unfortunately, there are many who just refuse to cut him a break. One Jets fan only recently told WCBS, "As an animal advocate ... I personally have no use for him," and another fan called the move a "slap in the face." A third told the station it's hard to root for the team now that they've hired Michael Vick.
Then there are those sports columnists like "USA Today's" Jarrett Bell who thinks Vick gives the team a new sense of hope after an 8-8 finish last season stating, "Vick, when he's on, can still be so electric."
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