(WNCN) — Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick is going back to the NFL Pro Bowl, this time as one of four NFL Legends Pro Bowl Captains.
Despite the petition, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Vick “paid a heavy price” and doesn’t anticipate any changes.
The petition cites the cruel and inhumane killing of dogs that led to Vick’s conviction.
“Over the last, what is it, nine years or so, we have supported Michael in his, what I think his recognition of the mistake he made,” said Goodell. “He’s paid a heavy price for that. He’s been accountable for it. He’s worked aggressively with the humane society and other institutions to deal with animal rights and to make sure people don’t make the same mistake he made, and I admire that.”
Vick, a former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets, was sentenced in 2007 by a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia, to 23 months in prison for bankrolling a dogfighting operation.
He served 19 months in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Other petitions calling for Vick to be removed as a Pro Bowl captain have surfaced online since the initial one.
After the petitions gained national news, Vick supporters countered and posted “We Stand With Vick – 2020 Pro Bowl Captain” petitions on Dec. 6.
At least one pro-Vick petition already has more than 271,000 signatures.
“Unfortunately, there are people in this society that will not allow individuals to evolve and grow, but we are gonna counter act that position. We understand that all men sin and fall short of the glory of God and deserve second chances. We, the supporters of this petition stand with the NFL’s selection to have Michael Vic be one of the captains at the 2020 Pro Bowl,” the creator of the petition wrote.
The petition continues: “It is amazing how some people in society can somehow be forgiven for their crimes and be allowed to move forward with their lives while others fall prey to constant and continuous condemnation and scrutiny. WE ARE NOT HAVING IT! Just like he has individuals or groups that are against him, he has an ENTIRE VILLAGE that supports and stands with him! For every action there is a reaction and this is ours. These collected signatures are evidence that HE IS NOT ALONE.
“We will not sit back and continuously stand on the sidelines while we see these injustices play out before our eyes. We have a voice, we have a position and this is our stand.”
Another petition in support of Vick that was also created on Dec. 6 has more than 15,000 signatures.
“We do not condone his actions that were displayed in the past, but Mr. Vick has paid those debts more than 10 fold. Not only was Mr. Vick incarcerated for his actions, he was also fined heavily. Since then, he has taken it upon himself to be a pillar of hope in the community putting on free football clinics for the youth , amongst other acts of greater good. He has also donated over a million dollars into the animals harmed,” the creator of the petition wrote.