Uninvite Michael Vick from Middle School/High School/College Football Showcase Tour

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My name is Marissa, and I am a volunteer with Dogs Deserve Better Nashville. Our national headquarters is based in Virginia, where Dogs Deserve Better bought and then transformed the former dog fighting ring property of Michael Vick into a rehab center for dogs who were formally chained or penned... many who suffered the same fate as Vick's dogs. Upon hearing that schools around the country (including our own city of Nashville along with Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Virginia, Baltimore, Houston, and LA) are hosting football showcases in which the top players will be selected to participate in an event in December in which Michael Vick acts as host... my jaw dropped to the floor. I am a Christian, and I believe in forgiveness. However, this crosses a line. You may forgive him his actions, but I beg of you to not forget them nor indirectly give him any influence on our young in Nashville. I work very hard as a volunteer fighting the very abusive culture he embodied for many years. I'm sure you are aware he fought dogs and spent almost 2 years in prison as a result, but did you know he also electrocuted, held ceremonial hangings, or forcefully drowned the dogs who didn't win the fight? Aside from the fact that this kind of animal abuse flies in the face of basic morality and Christian values like Proverb 12:10 (The righteous care for the needs of animals), it also should never be condoned as it leads to human violence. Several academic studies have found a clear link between animal cruelty during youth and violence against humans as an adult. This link is so well established, profilers routinely use animal cruelty reports in their assessment of the possible threat criminals pose. “Murderers … very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids,” says Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the FBI. Even a police study found 100 percent of sexual homicide offenders had a history of animal cruelty. By allowing Vick to HOST your event and by using him as your poster boy for the event, you are indirectly telling these students that this abuse is no big deal. It is a HUGE deal and should be treated as such. Think of it this way, would you invite a murderer to host a student event after his release just because he was OJ Simpson, the football star? You can forgive them, but you CANNOT put them on a pedestal. By treating him as a "Special guest", "Host", or poster boy... that is exactly what you are doing. I beg you to not have Vick as your host and do not include him in the December event.

Finally, think of it in these terms... if your own child's school had a star football player who was discovered and he was consistently for many years torturing animals with his other classmates... electrocuting, maiming, drowning, and hanging them... would you allow him to remain at school, continue playing, and act as poster boy for your school's biggest event?

I believe your heart knows the answer. Forgive him, but do not allow this man to have influence on the young minds. He should serve as a lesson to others (do not emulate this man). He should NOT act as a prize.

Please immediately change your host and update all of your flyers and promotional materials.

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