An animal-rights group is protesting Fox Sports’s hiring of former NFL player and convicted dog abuser Michael Vick with threats of a boycott of the network.
Rally for Animals posted a petition on Change.Org to gather like-minded fans to a boycott Fox Sports after this month’s announcement that the network hired Vick as an analyst.
Vick, a former Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, served 21 months in prison starting in 2007 after a conviction for participating in an interstate dog-fighting ring. Despite the conviction, Vick went on to play in the NFL for an additional seven years after he left prison, ending his career in 2015 as a backup quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During his trial, Vick admitted to buying dozens of dogs to be used in fight-to-the-death contests. He also admitted to hanging or drowning dogs who did not perform well in training sessions for the fights.
With this history in mind, the protesters demand that Fox Sports dump him as an analyst, Sporting News reports.
“We are asking that you remove Michael Vick from his position as an analyst at FOX Sports,” the petition reads. “While we believe in second chances and that convicted felons should be able to acquire gainful employment, we do not believe that Michael Vick is repentant and as such, he should not hold a position of influence. He has never inquired as to how his fighting dogs fared after leaving his property nor did he offer any type of financial assistance to aid in their care outside his court-mandated fine. In fact, he served an abbreviated sentence for racketeering, not animal cruelty.”
The petition calls Vick’s past dog-fighting history a “psychosis” that never “goes away.” The group insists that hiring Vick makes animal cruelty “okay, and normal,” and this all makes him unsuitable as a sports spokesman and TV personality.
John Entz, Fox Sports’s president of production, announced over the weekend that Vick would appear on Fox NFL Kickoff alongside Charissa Thompson, Tony Gonzalez, Dave Wannstedt, and Colin Cowherd which airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.