PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Vick’s book-signing tour has been canceled because of threats against him for running a dogfighting ring.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback was scheduled to sign copies of his autobiography “Finally Free,” at Barnes & Noble stores in Atlanta, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The March 26 appearance set for Exton, Pa., was listed as canceled on the company’s website.
A person with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, told The Associated Press the signings were scrapped because of threats against Vick and store employees. Vick served 18 months in federal prison for his role in running the dogfighting ring. According to court papers in the cases of Vick and his codefendants, Vick bankrolled the operation and joined others in killing dogs that didn’t perform well.
Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, tells Phillymag.com that “we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances.” Williamson says the threats of violence have been reported to the police.
The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback agreed last month to a restructured three-deal with the Eagles to remain with the team. A former No. 1 overall pick by Atlanta, Vick was signed by Philadelphia in 2009 after missing two season while in federal prison.
While there will always be staunch animal lovers who will never forgive Vick’s role in running a dogfighting ring, he has been largely embraced in Philadelphia. He revived his career and rehabbed his image without the protests and anger that followed immediately following his release from prison.
Since his release from prison in 2009, Vick has worked with The Humane Society of the United States to speak out against animal cruelty. He had made appearances at schools and spoken to students about the dangers of being involved in dogfighting.