The Virginia Tech announcement that Michael Vick was among five recently selected for the university’s Sports Hall of Fame discussed his football success at the university and the National Football League. The announcement doesn’t mention his indictment (to which he admitted guilt in 2007 and then served time in jail) for running an illegal dog-fighting ring. Virginia Tech’s decision to honor him has angered many. More than 56,000 people have signed a petition calling on Virginia Tech to rescind the honor.
On Sunday, Cyril Clarke, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which is based at Virginia Tech, issued a statement on the college’s Facebook page condemning the decision. “The college unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission,” the statement said. “Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue.”
The university released a statement to local reporters: “Mr. Vick’s induction into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete — who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university. We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision. In considering Mr. Vick’s nomination to our sports Hall of Fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction, and time he served for his crime were also considered, and it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he’s learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives. This in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted. The university remains dedicated to the protection of animal health and welfare and embodies great care and compassion for all living animals.”