Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick said “Everyone needs to have a message of forgiveness,” speaking Saturday at the 10th annual Men’s Rally in the Valley.

Vick was one of the featured speakers at the Christian event at the Covelli Centre. He wanted to spread that message of forgiveness to hundreds, even as people showed up in protest of his speech.

“If things don’t work out, you face some adversity, things don’t go the way you want to go, don’t deviate from the plan. Stay strong, believe in yourself,” he said.

Vick said it was while in prison that he found his new path in life. Vick served time for crimes related to running a dogfighting operation and lying about his involvement.

“My heart led me to Jesus Christ,” he said.

During the rally, audience members spread their hands forward in prayer over Vick.   

Although some protestors didn’t want to see him speak, Vick said it’s important to forgive and move forward.

“The past is the past. You gotta move forward and try to create ways to promote change,” he said.

He also had a message for kids going through difficult times.

“I think the most important message to kids who come from poor backgrounds, the inner cities, is you know you have just as much hope as everybody else, you know. And if you wake up, and you, each and every day, and you breathe, and you got life, you got opportunity,” he said.