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Convicted dogfighting kingpin and re-emerging NFL superstar Michael Vick says he loves animals and would even love to get another dog again someday.

After a stint in federal prison, the transformed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback says in a new interview, “I would love to have another dog in the future."

"I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.”

Michael Vick, Eagles

Michael Vick is legally not allowed to own a dog.

He explains his unspeakably terrible cruelty to dogs in the past this way: “When I was younger I got caught up in dog fighting. It was something to do."

“I hate to use our culture as an excuse, but it is what it is. I love animals. I love dogs. I love birds. All types of animals. But it's the way I was brought up."

“Nobody ever told me it was the wrong thing to do.”

Vick now works with the Humane Society and talks to students about the evils of dog fighting. Watch him talk about his experiences after the jump ...

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The Philadelphia Eagles are starting Michael Vick at quarterback again this week. That warranted a borderline offensive headline from a local newspaper.

In case you had forgotten that Vick did time in prison for bankrolling and running a dogfighting ring, Philly's Daily News is here to remind you. Subtly.

As the Eagles' shot-caller come this Sunday, Vick is once again ...

Top Dog!

The Philadelphia Daily News channels their inner THG.

If Vick performs poorly against the Jacksonville Jaguars and ends up on the bench, will they use the headline DOGHOUSE? Or the more provocative PUT DOWN?

We almost wouldn't put it past them.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who joined the team after serving 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, has won an award.

Not for his performance on the field, where he's thrown one TD pass and run for two more in a reserve role. Vick has won the team's Ed Block Courage Award.

Michael Vick Image

The award honors NFL players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are selected by their teammates' votes.

"I still have a lot of work to do," Vick said today after receiving the award. "But having my teammates vote me this award shows I'm doing the right thing."

Michael Vick has made quite a comeback in the past year.

He was given a prison sentence in December 2007 of up to 23 months for killing pit bulls, bankrolling a dogfighting operation and lying about it to authorities.

The Eagles were criticized by many for signing Vick after his release, but he has made no excuses and by most accounts he has been a model citizen so far.

"Congratulations to him for straightening his life around," Eagles coach Andy Reid said of Vick. "He's obviously very well-respected by his teammates."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb called the award "well-deserved."

Vick, whose comeback will be chronicled in a reality show on BET, is now up for the league-wide Ed Block Courage Award with one player from each team.

What do you think of Michael Vick?

 

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He's free of the big house. Now Michael Vick wants to get out of doghouse.

Sorry, but it's true. In an attempt to remake is image, the NFL star and dogfighting kingpin is taking to reality TV, with a show beginning early next year.

Michael Vick Photo

Tentatively titled The Michael Vick Project, the show will air on BET.

Its focus will be his comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles player and the struggles he's endured off the field - namely the 2007 arrest for orchestrating a dog fighting ring that landed him in federal prison for almost two years.

"I just want people to really get to know me as an individual," Vick said last week. "What I want to do is change the perception of me. I am a human being. I've made some mistakes in the past, and I wish it had never happened."

"But it's not about how you fall, but about how you pick yourself up."

Michael Vick is trying to reinvent Michael Vick. Will America buy it?

Vick, who took his first snap in the regular season two weeks ago, has publicly apologized for running the ring, appeared on 60 Minutes and spoken to kids.

He has remained humble and is now looking to rehab his tarnished image. What better place to do that than reality TV, right? PETA, for one, begs to differ.

"People who abuse animals don't deserve to be rewarded," PETA spokesman Dan Shannon told the Los Angeles Times. "They shouldn't be given multimillion-dollar contracts ... or given the privilege of being a role model."

We sort of see that, but he did go to prison, Dan. Also, couldn't Vick do more to further animal rights causes, if he is indeed sincere, due to the exposure?

Thoughts? Would you watch a Michael Vick reality show?

 

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Speaking to a group of Philadelphia high school students, Michael Vick warned against the danger of peer pressure and offered himself as a cautionary tale.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who served two years in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring, addressed a rapt audience of 200 freshmen on their first day at Nueva Esperanza Academy, a North Philadelphia charter school.

In the latest stop on his apology tour, he urged the students to make the right choices and to be a leader, not a follower, resisting temptation along the way.

“I didn’t choose to go the right way, which led to 18 months in prison, which was the toughest time of my life,” the disgraced NFL superstar said Tuesday.

“Being away from my family, being away from my kids, being away from the game of football, doing something so foolish, I wish I could take it all back.

“I should have been a leader, not a follower.”

The 10-minute talk marked Mike Vick’s first anti-dogfighting public appearance in Philadelphia since he signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Eagles.

At the time, he expressed a desire “to be part of the solution and not the problem” by speaking to children around the country about dogfighting.

Speaking without notes, Michael Vick told the hushed assembly Tuesday that his many poor decisions imperiled the life goals he had set for himself:

“My future was promising ... at some point, I got sidetracked. I started listening to my friends and doing things that were not ethical and not right.”

Vick visited the school with Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle has said he met with Vick in prison at the quarterback’s request and that Vick sought to work with the group after his release.

Hopefully, more appearances like this will help Vick's message ring true to today's youths and, over time, inspire more good than the harm he wrought.

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Heather Mills may be a renowned digger of gold and an all-around painful individual, but she didn't make terrible points about embattled football star Michael Vick at the Celebrity Catwalk event benefiting National Animal Rescue last night.

At the charity fundraiser in Hollywood, in which the animal lover was honored, she and other stars were asked about Vick and his return to the NFL.

Michael Vick, Eagles

While some stars slammed Vick, Heather Mills was more introspective.

"Everybody deserves a second chance," she told Radar Online. "It's about getting him to turn around a younger generation. In a way, it's the most horrific thing, but if it hadn't have happened there wouldn't be the awareness there is."

Heather Mills looking as glorious as always.

And, while R&B star Mya said "shame on you," to Vick, she also implied that his prison term may have been too severe: "People have done cruel things to other people and have not gotten as much punishment," she said in an interview.

Other stars were more blunt in their disgust for Vick. Girls Next Door star Bridget Marquardt said that she wouldn't give Michael the time of day.

Hills moron Stephanie Pratt didn't hold back: "I hate him. I think he's vile and disgusting." A great line coming from a sibling of Spencer Pratt.

Shannon Elizabeth said Vick "got a free pass" (two years in federal prison apparently qualify) and "better start becoming an animal advocate."

Should Michael Vick receive another chance?

 

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Alec Baldwin is known for uttering hilarious 30 Rock quotes. But on a more serious note, the actor writes on the Huffington Post about a topic that he takes very seriously - animal rights. Specifically, as they pertain to Michael Vick.

In a 60 minutes interview and a written apology this week, the football star-turned-dogfighting kingpin has begun the process of rehabbing his image.

But some people aren't interested in hearing Vick's apology.

While not condoning what the disgraced NFL star did, Baldwin says that Vick is being unfairly scapegoated and that people who demonize him are:

  1. Missing the bigger picture altogether
  2. Ignoring the fact that letting the football player try to rehabilitate himself may actually bolster animal rights causes in significant ways

Here are some excerpts from Alec's blog. See if you agree:

"What [Michael Vick] did is, obviously, senseless and reprehensible. But as a wealthy and talented athletic superstar who performs his job out in the open before crowds of highly opinionated fans, he suffers an unfair disadvantage.

As compared to, say, the heads of a meatpacking plant or the directors of a medical research lab where animals are suffering the cruelest imaginable abuse behind walls and doors that remove them from our sight and judgments.

Vick did horrific things and he deserved to be punished. He served his time and now I wonder what good does it do to exile him in shame and not let him become an example of how one can be rehabilitated after that kind of behavior.

If Vick returns to his true form as an NFL pro, that platform can mean real progress for animal rights. Do people really not want to open that conversation?

Each day in this country, millions upon millions of animals are suffering lives of daily abuse in factory farming, but we turn away because that animal, unlike Michael Vick's dogs, ends up on a grill and then on our plates.

Animals not raised as pets suffer in ways that you and I don't really want to know. And in economic hard times, support for groups like the Humane Society and other prominent players in the animal rights movement, drops precipitously.

To ban Vick, to simply cast him aside and simply hate him, knowing that someone in his position stands potentially ready to effectively serve the interests of the very groups and individuals that he most offended, would be a mistake.

Vick deserves another chance. One chance. Just like all of us who eat meat, drink milk, attend rodeos, circuses, zoos and horse races and yet find it easier to hand Vick the bill for all of the other, more systemic abuses in our society."

Is Michael Vick being unfairly scapegoated?

 

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Michael Vick wants you to feel sorry. Not for him. For the dogs.

That's the disgraced quarterback's stated purpose, at least.

Michael Vick Book Cover

Two days after his revealing 60 Minutes interview, the newly-released star and new member of the Philadephia Eagles has written a lengthy, public apology.

See if you think Michael Vick is being sincere in his apology ...

"I'm sorry. That's the place where I need to begin.

My feeling of remorse. I ain't never written a blog before, so putting my thoughts down on paper is a challenge - however it's a challenge I must face.

I can look a 250 pound linebacker in his eyes at the line of scrimmage and have no fear. But expressing myself when I know that there are millions of people who are so angry with me, and rightfully so, is a challenge unlike any other.

What I did was horrendous. Awful. Inhumane.

I've no excuses for my actions. It makes my heart hurt now to think about what I've done. I'm gonna be real honest, it took a while for me to get to this place.

Sitting in a prison cell didn't make me feel remorse. It was meeting so many animal lovers, speaking with them and looking them in their eyes. Staring at them. Looking so deep into their eyes that I began to feel their pain.

Allowing that pain to enter into my body is when I started to understand how bad it really was. I have been trying hard to connect with people who feel this pain, because for my whole life I was disconnected from the suffering of animals.

And you might say, 'come on Mike, how could you do those things to those dogs?' And you're right... I ask myself those questions every day. What kind of person does this? How does a human-being treat dogs or any animal with pain and cruelty?

The hard part for me is the answer to these questions. Because the answer is ME.

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Disgraced NFL star Michael Vick spoke to 60 Minutes last night in his first interview since he admitted to participating in and bankrolling an illegal dogfighting ring, resulting in a just-completed prison term and a suspension from pro football.

Vick, who was recently reinstated by the NFL and signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, said his piece under tough questioning on 60 Minutes.

While some of his answers definitely sounded rehearsed, and his level of sincerity can never be fully known, the football star seemed at least semi-honest.

Few animal lovers are likely to suddenly forgive Michael Vick based solely on this interview, but at the very least, the athlete was never in explanation mode.

He claimed responsibility, proclaimed his "disgust" and never tried to distance himself from the violence and cruelty by claiming he was just the financier. “I could have put a stop to it,” he said. “I could have shut the whole operation down.”

Are you sold? Check out Vick's 60 Minutes interview below and see ...

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A window of opportunity for Michael Vick to return to the NFL is open.

Whether any team is willing to employ Michael Vick is another matter.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated the disgraced dogfighting star on Monday, following his recent release from prison for running a dogfighting ring.

Vick can participate in regular-season games as early as October.

He can immediately take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games - if he can find a team, that is.

A number of clubs have already said they are not interested.

As the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games. Goodell will consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (October 18-19).

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to commissioner Goodell for allowing me to be readmitted to the National Football League,” Michael Vick said in a statement released by his agent, Joel Segal.

“I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity that I have been given."

Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely in 2007 after the former Atlanta Falcons player admitted bankrolling a dogfighting operation on his property in Virginia.

He served 18 months in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., before being granted an early release and being placed on house arrest earlier this summer.

Michael Vick Biography

Michael Vick Photo Michael Vick is the troubled, former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL, and a former All-American at Virginia Tech. The man... More »
Born
Birthplace
Newport News, Virginia
Full Name
Michael Dwayne Vick
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