Petition Calls for Michael Vick to Be Banned from Jets' Training Camp Site

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

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Quarterback Michael Vick is nearly five years removed from serving a 19-month prison term for his involvement in illegal dogfighting, but many have declined to forgive and forget. 

Vick was signed by the New York Jets this offseason; however, a petition is seeking to ban him from taking part in Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland.

It is expected that Vick will compete with second-year quarterback Geno Smith for New York's starting job under center, although this public uprising against Vick could throw a wrench into head coach Rex Ryan's plans.

The petition, which is nearing the 5,000 needed signatures to warrant consideration, calls for the Cortland community to rally against Vick.

I love SUNY Cortland, and cannot abide welcoming this sociopath onto our campus with open arms. We need to stand by what is right as a university by barring him from the grounds. I don't want him anywhere near my beloved college or community. We MUST send the message that we won't be party to the torture of animals by conveniently forgetting what he has done. If we welcome Vick onto our campus, we are complicit in his crimes. 

SUNY Cortland has hosted four Jets camps in the last five years. It should be noted that reports "the school has not confirmed the team's return to Cortland this summer."

Cortland residents and students aren't the only ones against the Jets' addition of Vick. Matthew Bershadker, CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, recently wrote a piece for the New York Post that admonished Vick:

Vick is free to do as he pleases both on the football field and off. But one thing he can't do is absolve himself of his direct participation in horrific and fatal animal torture and abuse. And whether he takes our home team to the Super Bowl or spends the season riding the pine, we're not obligated to forgive, and it's essential we don't forget.

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Vick is likely well aware of the backlash that he is currently facing, but he is trying to make the best of his New York arrival. According to CBS New York, he is grateful for the Jets fans who are willing to give him a chance to prove himself.

"I appreciate all the Jets fans who appreciate me and accept me for who I am and what I've become, not for what I've done," Vick said. "Right now, my past is irrelevant."

There is no question that Vick was involved in some despicable acts, so it is difficult to blame those who aren't ready to accept him. At the same time, he has seemingly been a model citizen since 2009. Vick resurrected his football career with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he even earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2010.

Vick is far from the first NFL player to be accused or convicted of a crime and get a second chance. He has made the most of his new lease on life thus far, and nothing he has done over the past five years suggests that he will revert to his past transgressions.

Vick had to know that he would face some opposition upon returning to the league, but he was able to weather the storm early in his tenure with the Eagles. His past is back under the microscope now that he has switched teams; however, Vick now has experience when it comes to dealing with negative publicity.

There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to feel about the fact that Vick is still an NFL player, but there is no reason to believe that the 33-year-old veteran will fade into obscurity any time soon.

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