Raleigh Chamber event rescheduled; Vick won't appear

Posted February 11, 2014

NFL quarterback Michael Vick spoke at New Horizons Academy in Durham Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, urging students not to get involved in dog fighting.

— The public appearance in Raleigh by NFL quarterback Michael Vick that drew protests and petitions by animal rights groups won't happen after all.

Vick was scheduled to keynote the annual Greater Raleigh Sports Council's Evening of Champions on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, with winter weather in the forecast, the Raleigh Chamber rescheduled the event for Thursday, Feb. 27.

"We had hoped that our special guest interviewee, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, would be available on the 27th, but we have been advised that he can’t be in Raleigh on that date due to a previously scheduled engagement," the Chamber said in a statement accompanying the schedule change.

Vick served almost two years in federal prison on charges related to a dog-fighting ring run out of a property he owned in Virginia. Since completing his sentence, he has worked with the Humane Society of the United States. In speaking engagements, he has expressed remorse for his role in dog fighting and has become an advocate for the humane treatment of animals.

Vernessa Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Raleigh Chamber, said that organizers recognized Vick might be a controversial choice. 

"Our decision to have Michael Vick as our speaker at the Evening of Champions was made knowing that some would disagree, but our steering committee felt that his career story offers our guests an informative perspective about the excesses of fame and money in celebrity culture. His presentation includes how he made very significant mistakes and how he has learned from the consequences of his actions and subsequently changed his life. His conviction and subsequent reinstatement to the NFL were one of the biggest stories in sports. We believe he has an important message to share," Roberts said.

Vick's invitation spurred online petitions and a planned protest by several groups including The Positive Pit Bull, Southern Belle Pit Bull Rescue, South of the Bully Pit Bull Rescue and Merit Pit Bull Foundation. The groups' petition on, asking that Vick's invitation be revoked, had more than 70,000 signatures.

Registrations for the Evening of Champions will transfer to Feb. 27, the Chamber said. Anyone who can't make that date can request a refund via email to No refunds will be issued after Feb. 17.


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  • jazzozzlayla Feb 12, 2014

    What was it? Oh whoops i mistakenly had a number of sheds built in my garden with a ring upstairs, oh my bad, i accidentally added some kennels as well. Oh darn now look, silly me i bought a converted treadmill, rape rack and some Pitbulls!!! Get real, there was no mistake.......... or regret! He is pure evil and shouldn't be allowed to be a child's role model. He only started with the protect our animals thing because he was told to if he wanted another shot at football, he couldn't care less! He brings shame to American sports.

  • ncteacher22 Feb 11, 2014

    Glad the weather will keep him away! I am so ashamed of the RCOC! What a sick, disgusting idea to have him for a speaker.

  • nosmo_king58 Feb 11, 2014

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    He donated money to the Humane Society, not the ASPCA, neither of which are associated with the independent SPCA of Wake County.

  • Carol Smith Feb 11, 2014
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    This has nothing to do with homeless and poor people. Those people did not willfully kill and torture, and we do care about them. Serial killers and psychopaths typically start out as animal abusers and then move on to people, as research shows.

  • jefflonowski Feb 11, 2014

    This sick psychopath should never be held up as a role model for anyone. Some of you say to move on, that he made a mistake and paid for it....did his time. No, Vick did not make a mistake. A mistake involves trying to do the right thing and having it go wrong. This sick germ repeatedly tortured, drown, and electrocuted dogs and has no remorse for doing it. His only remorse is that he got caught. Shame on your Chamber leaders for even considering him. We wouldn't let him near our state. No, Vick is not sorry for what he did and he should not be forgiven because he simply is not sorry. You've seen the power of animal lovers at work, and we're only growing stronger!

  • A person Feb 11, 2014

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    Sorry about the typo, just noticed it

  • Ijaz Fahted Feb 11, 2014
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    Eh, some of us don't need to be told that dog fighting is wrong and therefore haven't been involved in such sub human activities.

    Vic may be remorseful, but frankly his time spent working for animal rights is much like the celebs that have drug addiction issues doing anti drug commercials. It just seems forced or that it is done to clear his name.

    It's hard to change peoples opinion of who you are when you do something of that nature. Just seems like he is doing anything he can to get the bad taste of prison out of his mouth.

  • Carol Smith Feb 11, 2014
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    Research shows that serial killers/psychopaths usually start out abusing animals, then move on to people.

  • IRISH281 Feb 11, 2014

    The people making negative comments never did anything wrong or they just haven't got caught. Give it up and move on. He did his time.

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 11, 2014
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    BUT NOT A BLOOD SPORT!!!!! HUGE me what you will but I, for one, will NEVER forgive him for what he did for fun