In less than two weeks since Virginia Tech announced its intention to include retired NFL quarterback Michael Vick as one of five recipients of the schools Sports Hall of Fame, two online petitions have garnered nearly 100,000 signatures opposing the move. According to Wdbj7News, three days after Vick was named, alumna Jennifer Breeden created one of the two online petitions to revoke the honor. On the petition Jennifer wrote:
“By inducting Michael Vick, a non graduate, into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, the University has decided to honor a man for his athletic ability rather than honor a person for being a decent and honorable human being.”
The second petition started by Rachel Beasley stated:
“The criteria states, ‘Must be of good character and reputation/ not have been a source of embarrassment to the university in any way.’ Michael Vick was an outstanding football player, but his character is far from outstanding.”
In addition, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which names Virginia Tech as one of its parent universities, released a statement from Dean Cyril R. Clarke in opposition to honoring Vick. Over the weekend, Dean Clark issued a statement on the college’s Facebook page condemning the decision.
“The college unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission,” the statement said. “Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue.”
For anyone who has ever forgotten what happened, in 2007 Vick and three other men were indicted on charges related to an illegal dog-fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels.” Although some fans will tell animal advocates to forgive and forget, and that Vick showed remorse for those convictions, it was the degree of inhumanity, cruelty and downright sadistic treatment of the dogs who did not win as fighting dogs and the degree and torture the innocent animals endured by Vick’s own hands that rocks so many people to the core of human decency.
Donna Reynolds is the co-founder of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls (BAD RAP), known for rescuing and rehabilitating pit bulls. In case anyone forgot or didn’t know the details and why so many compassionate people find Vick’s nomination so offensive, note Reynold’s blog entries:
“The details that got to me … involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. We don’t know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.
Reynold continued the heartbreaking blog post:
“…my mind’s image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water … screaming in pain and terror…brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get a hold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull this little dog to safety. I think I will be looking for ways to pull that dog to safety for the rest of my life.”
Virginia Tech plans to induct Vick and the four other athletes into the Hall of Fame on September 22 in a ceremony to held during halftime of the Hokies’ home game against Old Dominion the next day. The university continues to defend Vick’s induction.
Read previous about Virginia Tech and Michael Vick article here.
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