Vick began a tour to promote his new book “Michael Vick: Finally Free” on March 2 in Charlotte. He was scheduled to have his next signing in Atlanta on Saturday, but that appearance and ones in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been cancelled.
PhillyMag.com says the signings were scrapped because of threats to Vick, his family, and the stores.
“While we stand by Michael Vick’s right to free speech and the retailers’ right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances,” Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, said per Philly Mag. “We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities.”
Though Philly Mag reported that the signings were cancelled because of threats, it looks like the New Jersey book store actually cancelled the planned signing because of boycott threats from customers.
Books & Greetings in New Jersey sent an email to its customers Sunday night to inform them that Vick’s appearance was being cancelled:
One of our goals as an independent book store is to promote free thinking. We like to give the people of our community the opportunity to hear the stories of authors they would not otherwise have the chance to meet. In our decision to host Michael Vick we viewed his story as one of redemption and second chances.
Being part of a very close knit community, we love and value our customers. They are not just customers to us, they are our friends. Some of our friends have told us they will no longer shop in our store if we host this event. We are being surrounded by hate and negativity and this is not what we want to promote in our store.
In the best interest of Books & Greetings, our customers, friends and the community we have decided to remove ourselves from the center of this hateful controversy and have canceled the event.
Our customers are first and foremost our greatest concern, we value them and we listen to them.
Based on that note from the book store, it appears that the PR team for Vick or the publisher may have told the media the events were cancelled because of death threats, not the threat of boycotts, in order to gain more sympathy.
Philly Mag says threats were made on the Facebook pages of the bookstores and Vick’s fan page. We were unable to find threats to Vick on his Facebook page, which could mean they were deleted by the page’s moderator. There was, however, plenty of hate directed towards the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
Here’s a sampling of the vitriol:
“DO NOT SUPPORT an abuser. He has not changed because he doesn’t have any feelings for animals. GIVE HIM NO SUPPORT.”
“Vick is DOG-Killing TRASH…..VICK is TRASH.”
“Screw you Vick. You should never be allowed anywhere near a dog ever again!
It’s been nearly four years since Michael Vick completed his federal prison sentence for running a dog fighting ring, but that doesn’t mean everyone has forgiven him for the crimes he committed. As you can see in those postings and from the New Jersey’s store’s decision to cancel the event, Vick is still a divisive and despised figure.
We have said many times before that the man spent his time in prison and has paid for his crimes. I don’t find it necessary for people to continue hating him for something for which he has done prison time and apologized numerous times.
In the video below, Vick explains his decision for doing the book:
H/T Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE