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Mike Vick Calls Himself An ‘Unlikely Advocate’ For Pet Protection Bill, But Really He’s Not

Image via Zimbio

Image via Zimbio

The once promising NFL career of quarterback Michael Vick was derailed in 2007 when he was convicted of charges stemming from a federal investigation into an illegal dogfighting ring he bankrolled. Then with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick received a 23-month jail sentenced, of which he served 18. 

Though he has been back in the league since 2009, largely in a backup capacity, there are a great number of sports fans and animal lovers out there for whom Mike Vick will never be anything more than a dog killer. But he hasn’t let that prevent him from making good on a promise he made to himself in prison.

“When I was in Leavenworth,” Vick recently told Yahoo Sports, “I wanted to change everything about he direction of my life. There is no excuse for my past, but it would be even worse if I did nothing about it. I can reach people that most activists can’t reach.”

Shortly after making his NFL comeback, Vick began visiting churches and schools, speaking alongside Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, in an attempt to reach out to kids “before they go down the wrong path” as he once did.

While he has stressed parental responsibility, Vick often speaks directly to kids regarding both the legal and moral consequences that come with dogfighting. It took facing the former himself to even recognize the existence of the latter. So now Vick uses his message of humanity in an attempt to save animal lives and prevent people from making a decision that could put them in prison.

In July 2011, he took his new fight directly to Congress. Vick went to Washington to lobby for legislation which aimed to “penalize those who knowingly attend animal fights and allow minors to attend” The bi-partisan bill sought fines and a penalty of up to three years in prison for various offenses.

Now in the twilight of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Vick continues to advocate for animals. This week he will travel to Harrisburg to meet with Pennsylvania lawmakers regarding PA House Bill 1516, also known as the “Pets in Cars” bill. Per Yahoo Sports: 

This piece of legislation allows law enforcement to step in and remove an animal left in a vehicle, specifically when the weather outside might threaten its life. If officers were needed to step in and rescue the animal, the bill provides that they cannot be threatened with litigation for any necessary damages to remove the animal from the vehicle.

“I was part of the problem. Now, I’m an unlikely advocate,” Vick said of his support for the legislation. “But I want to ask my fans to be advocates too. I have 5 million fans on social media and we can use those numbers to make real changes to the laws.”

“I don’t know how long I will play football, but I do know that I will continue being an advocate,” he added. “I have the support of a lot of people. To me, as long as I can make a positive impact, nothing else matters.”

Vick calls himself an “unlikely” advocate, which may have been the case back in 2011, but given his ongoing efforts four years later (six since being released), is no longer the case today. And it hasn’t been for some time.

He’s not doing this because he’s required by law. The NFL certainly isn’t pushing him into this. He’s not doing it to appease people that hate him for what he did—those people will always hate him. He’s not doing it to win favor with his fan base—those people have always loved him.

Michael Vick is doing this because it’s something Michael Vick wants to do—something he continually chooses to do. And since he doesn’t feel comfortable saying that explicitly, it’s about time someone said it for him.

Click the link above to sign the petition and support PA House Bill 1516

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