Nearing 10 years after his time in prison for involvement in a dog fighting ring, quarterback Michael Vick is still a controversial figure. That won’t stop Virginia Tech from putting him in its Hall of Fame, though.
Animal lovers may never truly get over Vick’s crimes and dog lovers, specifically, likely still scowl when they hear his name. With that said, nobody can deny that Vick paid the price for what he did and unlike many professional athletes who seem to avoid trouble, he did do his time.
Virginia Tech, for its part, feels that his punishment plus the remorse he’s shown afterward is enough to justify him being in its Hall of Fame. Here’s what the school said in a statement, as passed on by Evan G. Watkins of 247Sports:
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.
Vick spent 18 months in prison for his part in financing a dog fighting ring. At the time of his arrest and sentencing, he was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL draft — so he certainly paid the price both financially and career-wise. Though he did make a decent comeback in 2009 with the Philadelphia Eagles and went on to play seven more seasons in the NFL, he was never able to again capture the explosive magic he showed with Atlanta.
In six seasons with the Falcons, he threw for 11,505 yards and 71 touchdowns, though interceptions were a problem with 72. Still, Vick’s running ability more than made up for those, as he was one of the toughest players to tackle in the league. Vick rushed 529 times for Atlanta, notching 3,859 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Vick, who’s currently 37 years old and retired from the NFL, played at Virginia Tech for the 1999 and 2000 season, cementing himself as one of the most explosive and exciting quarterbacks to ever play college football.
As a redshirt freshman, he led the Hokies to the 1999 National Championship Game while throwing for 2,065 yards and 13 touchdowns (five interceptions) and also rushing for 682 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2000, he threw for 1,234 yards and eight touchdowns (six interceptions) while rushing 104 times for 617 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.