There have been a number of NFL fans to sign petitions for the league to ban Vick from being honored at the Pro Bowl next month. However, the league is not backing down and the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will remain an honorary captain at the all-star game. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to the media earlier this week and explained why Vick will still be part of the Pro Bowl.
"Over the last, what is it, nine years or so, we have supported Michael in his recognition of the mistake he made," he said at a press conference via CNN. "He's paid a heavy price for that. He's been accountable for it."
Vick served 18 months in federal prison for his involvement in illegal dog fighting, killing dogs operating a business that including illegal gambling. He admitted to all of this in 2007 and he was suspended from the NFL until he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. Once Vick was released from prison, he started making things right. In 2015, Vick met with lawmakers to support in a bill in Pennsylvania that gave police officers to right to break into cars to free dogs and cats who are trapped.
"I know there are people out there who will never forgive him," Goodell said. "He knows that. But I think this is a young man who's really taken his life in a positive direction, and we support that, so I don't anticipate any change, no."
One of the biggest petitions on Change.org has over 570,000 signatures. The person who started the petition wants the league to not honor a person who doesn't honor the life of an animal.
"To honor a man who had zero regard for animals is unacceptable and I would like your help to make sure he is NOT honored at the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl," Joanna Lind wrote on the Change.org petition she started.
Vick played in the NFL from 2001-2006, 2009-2015. He made his biggest impact when he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons where he was a three-time Pro Bowler, leading the team to the NFC title game in 2004. He previously held the single-season record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season with 1,039, which is now held by Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. Vick does have the record for most career rushing yards for a quarterback with 6,109.