NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some Jets fans who are also dog lovers and animal advocates were not happy to hear the news that quarterback Michael Vick has been signed to the team.
As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported Saturday afternoon, the controversy when the Jets sign a quarterback usually revolves around questions such as whether he is ready, or whether he might be washed up as a player.
But now with Vick, all of that is overshadowed by his dog fighting conviction – something not lost by longtime Jets fan Victor “Buddy” Amato.
Amato is the police chief of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“As an animal advocate, which I am, I personally have no use for him,” Amato said.
A woman named Sue was spotted walking her Chihuahua, Pearl, on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. She agreed that Vick’s actions cannot be forgotten.
“It just is like a slap in the face, the fact that he could do such terrible things and then – but that’s life; that’s money, right?” Sue said.
A man named Frank was spotted walking his dog, Rocky, on 23rd Street. He said there was no way he could now root for the Jets at all.
He said the team has failed to stop and think about what kind of a message it is sending to the young people of New York.
“It’s completely not a role model,” Frank said. “And I know we shouldn’t be making people role models that don’t want to be, but if you’re a quarterback, you know, there’s a lot of little kids who look up to you.”
“I love competition and I love football,” Vick said during a conference call Friday night. “And, I feel I have a lot of football left to play. It’s evident with what I was able to do last year.”
The move drew mixed reviews by Jets fans on Twitter and message boards right off the bat, but that didn’t concern Vick, who will be paid $5 million for the 2014 season, according to the Daily News.
“I appreciate all the Jets fans who appreciate me and accept me for who I am and what I’ve become, not for what I’ve done,” Vick said. “Right now, my past is irrelevant.”
Vick is a four-time Pro Bowler. He was the highest paid player and the league and pulled in tens of millions of dollars in endorsements with the Atlanta Falcons, when he was caught up in criminal charges in 2007.
Police raided a farm Vick owned in Virginia and uncovered an illegal dog fighting operation, CBS News recalled He eventually pleaded guilty to bankrolling the enterprise and participating in every aspect of it, including killing dogs that refused to fight.
Vick was sentenced to two years in prison, and eventually declared bankruptcy, CBS News recalled.
Speaking to CBS Sports’ James Brown on “60 Minutes” in 2009, Vick expressed remorse for his actions.
“The first day I walked into prison, and he slammed that door, I knew the magnitude of the decision that I made, and the poor judgment, and what I allowed to happen to the animals. And, you know, it’s no way of explaining the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective,” Vick said in 2009.
When Brown asked in the 2009 interview whom Vick blamed for the ordeal, Vick replied, “I blame me.”
Vick has since led a fight against dog fighting, — visiting local schools, appearing in public service announcements for the U.S Humane Society, and lobbying for legislation to tighten penalties in dog fighting cases.
Vick also went on to return to football, and spent the past five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. But he only played in seven games during an injury-plagued 2013 season.
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