TMZ has reported that, after his arrest for running one of the most brutal dog-fighting operations ever uncovered in 2007, Michael Vick paid over $111,000 to public relations giant Sitrick & Company for a crisis makeover of an image that had placed him at the top of hate lists worldwide.
Bankrolling Badd Newz kennels and revelations of abominable acts of cruelty by Vick, himself, were so abhorrent that even many of his most devoted fans were filled with loathing for the dark side of Michael Vick’s life.
TMZ obtained documents that outline the specific steps that Michael Vick was advised to follow in rehabilitating his image. They were basically: (1) pursuing “friendly” media sources; (2) training Vick to develop a convincing persona to turn around the negative media trend; (3) develop a list of sympathetic media contacts; (4) know when to stop talking; and (5) appear on prominent news shows, “accepting blame, accepting punishment and vowing to learn from the experience,” according to NESN.com.
Michael Vick carefully followed the advice of Sitrick & Company. He also joined the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) as a spokesman in its campaign against dog fighting--speaking especially to young boys in economically challenged areas of big cities who would be most vulnerable to the seductive lure of quick gambling money from fighting Pit Bulls.
Michael Vick has been able to restore his professional image and is currently playing on a restructured contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that, at this point, is a one-year deal worth up to $10 million. In 2009, he signed a six-year deal worth up to $100 million.
But many animal lovers still believe Vick is not really sorry about what he did, but just sorry he got caught!
On April 25, 2011, Michael Vick issued a statement against the "Dog Wars" app (aka KG Dog fighting) that teaches gamers how to feed, condition and fight pit bulls. He stated, “…I’m on the right side of this issue now.” And his messages seem to have stepped out of the realm of rote repetition to sincere repentance. If so, If so, will his past be forgiven?
Personally, I hope Michael Vick stays “on the right side of this issue.” The eyes and hearts of an entire generation of young men in the process of choosing their life pattern and developing their humane values are focused on him.
According to his estranged stepfather, Michael had been fighting dogs since childhood. Dog fighting (on the scale Michael Vick was involved) is an addiction, not just a pastime.
Is it possible to truly leave his lifelong penchant for this “blood sport” behind him?
Or are Michael Vick’s impassioned pleas to youth just more evidence of the success of his image consultants?
Michael Vick talking to boys in Chicago