In just a couple of weeks since Virginia Tech announced their plans to honor Michael Vick with an induction into their Sports Hall of Fame, tens of thousands have voiced opposition to the award.
Former Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick will be officially inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony on September 22 – unless the tens of thousands of sports fans and dog lovers opposing the honor have any say in the matter.
Two separate petitions petitioning Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands have already garnered more than 200,000 signatures, with more being added by the minute.
In one change.org petition, Rachel Beasley points to the criteria for honorees of the award. The criteria specifically states that the recipient, “Must be of good character and reputation/not have been a source of embarrassment to the university in any way.”
She continues, “Michael Vick was an outstanding football player, but his character is far from outstanding. The disappointment I feel for my beloved university is crushing. Virginia Tech is a much respected, upstanding school that has persevered after horrible tragedies. Please help me in expressing my disagreement with this decision and persuade President Sands and the Hall of Fame selection committee to repeal Michael Vick’s induction. The recipients of this outstanding honor should be role models, not felons. Michael Vick is far from worthy of this honor.”
In a second petition, Jennifer Breeden explains that by inducting Michael Vick, a non graduate of the university, into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, they will honor a man for his athletic ability rather than recognizing him for being a decent and honorable human being.
She continues, “I would hope a top leading University, especially one who has an excellent Veterinary Program, would take a second look at themselves and evaluate what they want to be known for. Michael Vick should be anything but honored at Virginia Tech, and absolutely not inducted into the VT Sports Hall of Fame.”
In addition to the petitions, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, of which Virginia Tech is one of two parent universities, released a statement from Dean Cyril R. Clarke opposing the university’s decision to honor Vick:
“The recent decision to induct Michael Vick into the VT Sports Hall of Fame has generated a tremendous response from both the veterinary community and those who share our commitment to animal welfare and promoting the humane treatment of animals. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine was not part of the nomination process nor the decision, which was made by a committee of past athletes. The College unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission. Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue.”
Still, despite opposition, Virginia Tech stands behind their decision to honor Vick.
“Mr. Vick’s induction into the university’s sports Hall of Fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete — who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university,” it reads. “We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision.
“In considering Mr. Vick’s nomination to our sports Hall of Fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction and time he served for his crime were also considered, and it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he’s learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives. This in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted. The university remains dedicated to the protection of animal health and welfare and embodies great care and compassion for all living animals.”
What’s your opinion? Should Michael Vick be recognized and honored by Virginia Tech? Weigh in with a comment below.