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Vick's experience resonates with Durham students

Posted February 26, 2010

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick spoke at New Horizons Academy in Durham Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, urging students not to get involved in dog fighting.
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— Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick spoke for about an hour Friday to a packed room at Durham's New Horizons Academy of Excellence.

The visit was part of Vick’s on-going speaking campaign, the payoff of a promise to the Humane Society of the United States.

Vick has been making the rounds, speaking to at-risk youth about dog fighting since his release from prison last year. He served time and lost two years of his NFL career after a conviction that he ran a dog fighting ring from a rural Virginia property.

“Because I was involved in what I call pointless activity and stupidity, pertaining to the dog fighting, I threw everything away,” Vick told the audience.

“I thought I was just having fun, engaging in an activity that we thought was right.

“It was cool and it was fun, but now when I think about it, it makes me sick to my stomach,” he said.

Vick’s message resonated with Jason McClairy, a 19-year-old quarterback for the Durham Raiders. McClairy attended the lecture in uniform, with some of his teammates.

Afterward, he told Vick he was a role model.

“I was kind of trying to follow in his footsteps,” McClairy said.

He purchased three pit bulls and considered fighting them. When he saw what happened to Vick, he decided not to make the same mistake.

“He was raising them, but he was raising them in the wrong way,” McClairy said.

Martina Dunford, director of New Horizons, invited Vick to speak because she said her students can relate to the value of the second chance he got. The students at the school, Dunford said, have struggled elsewhere.

“Our philosophy is that everybody deserves a second chance,” she said.


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  • beachlvr0804 Feb 26, 2010

    I wonder if he ever has nightmares about the torn flesh on these precious animals or the blood and gore..... bet he had a smile on his face and a wad of cash in his hand while these dogs were basically being torn apart.

  • ccs1920 Feb 26, 2010

    Shaw Bears 95/ Why arn't I surprised that you would take up for him.

  • MsDemeanor Feb 26, 2010

    To those condemning the young man with the pitbull in the park, and doing what appears to be weight pulling training, this is the kind of stuff that gives legitimate and loving owners/trainers a bad name...and the breed a bad rap. At least he is out there and interacting/exercising WITH with his dog and it's not just stuck on some huge weighted chain in a backyard. This is a very normal and accepted method of training for the breed when competing in weight pulling competitions...which are held quite often with the breed. It is also a way of toning and building muscle for competing in the UKC show venue as well...as are treadmills (and everyone assumes those mean fight training too). Unless the dog looked physically injured/neglected/etc. it's not your place to judge!

  • 6079 SMITH W Feb 26, 2010

    Little Girl: "Why did you become a clown?"

    Homey D. Clown: "Because I have so much love to give....and its part of my prison work-release program...I got about five more years of this clown gig."

  • geosol Feb 26, 2010

    As is sometimes the case with good intentions, they can backfire. All of this media attention and a pro-football player's glitzy lifestyle sends the wrong message. It actually attracts attention to dog-fighting from some people who would otherwise never give it a second thought.

  • grenlyn1 Feb 26, 2010

    thorn...that autograph may net you 2 cents at best.

  • grenlyn1 Feb 26, 2010

    He could have ended his statement with the "stupidity" comment and left out the fact he "lost everything". Who cares what he lost....he paid for the crime for which he committed.

    As for turning this around for the good...stop making pit stops at the schools seeking sympathy from children. Just say no to dog fighting...and be done with it..Vick!

  • bigdookie Feb 26, 2010

    Good Job Mike! Now you should go down to seaworld and see if you can talk those fools into not using wild animals for "their" entertainment...oh but that's a different kind of animal abuse isn't it!

  • scampering aka running Feb 26, 2010

    Good for Mike Vick. The past is the past. Maybe he will do some good.

  • Thornedwolf Feb 26, 2010

    Hardee har har Alice HARDEE HAR HAR. The days just get funnier as they go by and as long as I keep reading the headlines.