ORLANDO, Fla. - Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will still go to the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando as one of four Legends captains, despite a petition signed by over 500,000 people asking the NFL to remove him.
“To honor a man who had zero regard for animals is unacceptable,” the Change.org petition states.
In 2007, Vick served 18 months of a 23-month sentence in federal prison after he was found guilty of running a "cruel and inhumane" dogfighting ring operation in Virginia, titled "Bad Newz Kennels."
Police raided the kennel where they found almost 50 pit bulls that were injured and malnourished. The remains of dozens of dogs who had been killed in the dogfighting ring were also found.
In addition to jail time, Vick was fined $1 million for victim restitution and the lifetime care and rehabilitation of the surviving dogs.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the controversy during a news conference on Wednesday.
“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,” Goodell said. “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's role at next year's Pro Bowl would be to act as a mentor for the players.
The 2020 NFL Pro Bowl will take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Jan. 26.
Other captains selected are Darrell Green, Terrell Davis, and Bruce Smith.