As news of the federal indictment against Michael Vick and three co-defendants spreads, animal advocates—and sports fans—across the country have reacted and united.
The response to our campaign urging the NFL to suspend Vick has been unprecedented. The outpouring of actions through humanesociety.org was larger than we have ever seen, and it shut down portions of our web site for two days. The league continues to say it will wait before taking any disciplinary action, so we’ll keep the pressure on.
We’ve also renewed our call to Nike to sever ties with Vick. Yesterday, Nike suspended the launch of a new athletic shoe named for Vick, but continues to offer other items that bear Vick’s name, including a "Vick Hero" T-shirt marketed to youth. Write Nike today and let them know what you think.
In newspapers including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today; in polls, on blogs and social networking sites; and on the floor of the U.S. Senate, public sentiment is clear across the nation: dogfighting is a gruesome act that cannot be condoned.
Blog readers have echoed this opinion. Among the deluge of comments we received:
My son cried when he heard the story. How can a person enjoy seeing animals fight to the death? —David Ilnicki
Thanks for all the work you do and for the thought provoking pieces such as this. I will definitely write letters to Vick’s remaining corporate sponsors and will encourage my friends to do the same. It is a shame that it takes a high profile case to highlight something that has occurred far too much and far too long in our society to get people’s attention. However, if there is something "positive" to take out of this, it may be that more people are aware and will take action. —JB
Please keep the pressure on Vick, Nike and the NFL. —Greg and Julie Krone
I called the NFL yesterday and said I wanted to urge the commissioner to immediately suspend Vick. I was immediately rolled over to someone else’s voice mail. They must be getting a lot of calls. I did leave a message and I will call every day. We must be relentless on this. —Lynne
You should have a link to write letters to these corporations who use Michael Vick as a representative of their products and subsequently their corporate ethos. It is inexcusable that Nike has not dropped Michael Vick yet. While he has not been found guilty in a court of law, he certainly is not a role model that we need for our children on how to treat animals. Shame on Nike. Please set up email campaigns to not only the NFL commissioner, as you have, but also any company profiting from the likes of this horrendous "role model." —Sue
Thank you, HSUS, for investigating this issue and for helping the victimized dogs that survived the ordeal. Perhaps this incident will cause Americans to rethink who and what they idolize. —Stacy Goldberger
I can not express enough how proud I am of The HSUS involvement in the Michael Vick indictment. Their tireless work has paid off and they can now educate the public on the cruelties of dogfighting. Thanks for protecting animals and keep up the good work. —Mary Adams-Ali
Not only is dogfighting a cruel expression of a disturbed personality but adding RECREATIONAL TORTURE to dispose of unwanted dogs is beyond acceptable. Even the full penalty allowed by law is not enough. —Susan Parente
I want to thank you for your appearance this evening with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC. As a member of The HSUS, I have been aware of the great work that you and the organization perform but your appearance in connection with the horrific tale of Michael Vick and dogfighting not only helped bring attention to the growing problem of animal cruelty but enlightened many about this wonderful organization. Keep up the good work. I am proud to be a member of The HSUS. —Geri Gilmore
We also heard from a few who disagree with the pressure on the NFL and Vick’s sponsors:
I think that you are judging too quickly in this article. I agree that if Vick is found guilty, he should be harshly punished including never being allowed to play in the NFL again, but you are calling for his sponsors to dump him even before he has been allowed due process. I have not looked at the evidence in this case but I do not need to. I am not the judge and jury and neither are you – let them decide when they have all the facts. —Jeff Whitesell
Michael Vick will remain innocent until proven guilty and regardless of how many endorsers you get to drop him, he will remain standing and will continue to have his fan base. —Angie