Written by PETA
I'm not a huge football fan (I prefer baseball)—but I sure do like to eat. The meat-free offerings at the pro football stadiums listed below would be enough to convince me to shiver through a Sunday afternoon game, sans face paint, of course.
Can't make it to any of the stadiums listed above? No need to wait for the Super Bowl to invite friends over to your game-day party—any Sunday will do.
Written by Karin Bennett
Ever since notorious dog abuser Michael Vick got out of jail and was signed by the apparently desperate Philadelphia Eagles, there has been a lot of discussion in the press and at your local humane society and sports bar about the ethics of his return to the NFL—and all the other issues that go along with it.
Now, the Washington Post (along with media outlets everywhere) is reporting that Nike might again be teaming up with Vick for product endorsements.
Today in the Post's special online NFL feature, "The League," PETA's own Dan Shannon cuts through the noise with a guest post on the subject. Dan puts it bluntly when he writes, "If Nike and other companies know what's best for the bottom line, they won't touch Michael Vick with a 10-foot pole."
Read the whole post here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
At least one corporation that stood to profit from Michael Vick's NFL reinstatement has decided to put morals before money.
While the NFL rushed to reinstate Michael Vick the second his ankle bracelet hit the floor, sporting goods giant Dick's has made it clear that it cares more about animals then it does its bottom line by refusing to sell replicas of Vick's Philadelphia Eagles jersey in any of its stores nationwide.
We hope you'll join us in letting Dick's know that it made the right decision by calling 1-877-846-9997 (dial 3 to speak to the operator). And if your dialing digits still feel like dancing, you can also call and complain to the NFL.
Written by Karin Bennett
PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen to sign a man who hanged dogs from trees, electrocuted them with jumper cables, held them underwater until they drowned in his swimming pool, and even threw his own family dogs into the fighting pit to be torn to shreds while he laughed. What sort of message does this send to young fans who care about animals and don't want to see them be harmed?
PETA certainly hopes that Vick has learned his lesson and feels truly remorseful for his crimes—but since he's given no public indication that that's the case, only time will tell. At this point, all Eagles fans can do is cross their fingers and hope that they won't ever have to explain to their sons and daughters what a "rape rack" is and why their favorite player was using one, as Falcons fans once had to.
Written by Dan Shannon
Update: Many people have asked us how to complain to the NFL. You can send an e-mail to the NFL through its official contact form here. You can call the main office of the Philadelphia Eagles at 215-463-2500, and you can find mailing addresses here.
Also, please click here to join PETA in asking the NFL to require all its players—some of whom have been involved in a series of cruelty-to-animals cases—to attend PETA's "Developing Empathy for Animals" course. You can also urge the NFL to take cases of animal abuse seriously in the future by updating its policy on personal conduct.
Thanks to Richard Cohen for his Washington Post piece in which he asks if some sports reporters have a special key on their typewriters for "He's served his time."
Michael Vick has indeed served his time, and that entitles him to walk free in our society. And as he walks, he can remember how lucky he is to have been able to afford an army of high-priced attorneys who got him a plea bargain so that he wouldn't be charged with all the many abuses and crimes that took place when he purposely built a major gambling operation and the grounds on which to house it. He can remember how lucky he is to have been charged only with maiming and killing some dogs, although his carefully designed fighting operation went back at least 8 years. Serving his time entitles him to live in one of his big houses, but it doesn't mean he's sorry.
Did you see this video of Vick's homecoming? Did you see any remorse in his eyes? As the champagne flows, does he look ashamed about the deeds he's done? Vick shows as much remorse for the dogs he abused as he did his first night out of prison, when he went to a strip club. Perhaps that's why the video, in which his eyes are blurred and his speech is slurred, has been pulled from YouTube by its poster, and the original version can no longer be found on the Web.
So, Vick can no longer just blame a lack of parental guidance or bad influences in his youth. And the last USDA report blew out of the water his protest that he has always loved his "pets," but didn't see that the "pits" were also deserving of respect. That report reveals that Vick enjoyed throwing those "pets" into the ring with the fighting dogs and laughed as they were torn apart.
We gave the man the benefit of the doubt, but he tested positive for marijuana on the day he was taking an empathy course. Then, weeks before he was set to go to jail, he went into a pet shop in Newport News, Virginia, and bought a bulldog. Frankly, nothing sat right. We worried that "I'm sorry" might just be words in the wind. We didn't want his empty words or his money (offered and rejected). We wanted him to take the latest neurological test that's now being given to violent offenders—a test that can tell if the part of one's brain that registers empathy is active. He wouldn't do it. That's when we said, "So long."
Michael Vick may deserve to walk free, but he doesn't deserve to be a football star or a hero to children, and no group has any business helping him do so. We thank Richard Cohen for remembering the dogs Vick personally electrocuted, held underwater in a swimming pool, strung up like hammocks, and slammed into the ground until their backs broke.
Written by Joel Bartlett
So, Michael Vick has been reinstated, although so far, there are no takers.
Vick has served the reduced sentence negotiated by his high-priced team of fancy lawyers, and the law says that he is entitled to walk free. But that doesn't mean it is acceptable to put him in the position in which children will look up to him as a role model and wear any new jersey that bears his number. For the sake of all the young football fans and all the dogs he electrocuted, drowned, slammed to the ground, and hanged, we will watch carefully to see if he is a newly contrite, kind man these days or still just a lout. Meanwhile, please add your voice to ours in our request to the NFL to add "cruelty to animals" to its personal-conduct policy as an offense that won't be tolerated. Doing that might reduce the likelihood that such lowlife violent crime will happen again.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Michael Vick was released from prison early this morning after less than two years behind bars and is headed back to Hampton, Virginia, where he'll serve the final two months of his sentence under house arrest.
In January, after a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that Vick had enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with the pit bulls he'd bred, raised, and trained to fight, PETA called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career.
Until Michael Vick undergoes the rigorous psychiatric tests now available to determine his ability to experience remorse, there's no way to establish whether he will reoffend. Someone who trained dogs to torture and kill one another for sport, who drowned and hanged dogs who wouldn't fight, and who laughed while watching his own family dogs fight for their lives as they were maimed and finally killed does not deserve to be rewarded with a multimillion-dollar contract or be given the privilege to serve as a role model to millions of children. PETA will not take anything off the table when it comes to any team or league that may sign Michael Vick.
In the meantime, PETA has increased our efforts to get other athletes on board to speak out against dogfighting. Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest, mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz, and world welterweight champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley, who shot an anti-dogfighting ad for PETA this week, have all spoken out against this cruel and illegal blood sport.
On September 18, 2007, I spent eight hours with Michael Vick at PETA headquarters. He was there to participate in PETA's "Developing Empathy for Animals" course as part of an education process that PETA hoped would ultimately lead Michael to speak out publicly against dogfighting.
In one segment of the course, Michael watched a police training video about the link between violence against animals and violence against humans. It contains graphic footage shot at a dogfight. I watched Michael grimace while watching this footage, in the way that any normal person would. At another point, the video shows a young person hanging a live cat from the ceiling and stabbing the animal to death with a knife. At this point, Michael closed his eyes and turned his head from the screen, seemingly disturbed by what he saw.
Michael also watched a slide-show of photos taken of neglected dogs. He was asked to describe what each animal must have felt in their situation. He aced this part of the course, pointing out that starving dogs living in garbage with heavy, rusty chains around their necks must be "lonely," "sad," and "terrified," and pointed to such indicators as the dogs' tails curled between their legs and their heads bowed in submission. You can see Michael's hand-written responses to the empathy test questions here.
I came away from that meeting encouraged. Even though I felt uncomfortable to be in the same room with a man who had tortured and killed so many animals, Michael seemed like an intelligent and thoughtful person who had made horrible decisions in his life but who regretted the consequences, both for himself and others, and who was genuinely trying to change.
However, despite pledging to become an "ally" in the fight against dogfighting, Michael and his camp have done little more than mouth assurances that he's learned his lesson. Since this meeting, they have only surfaced when Michael has been scheduled for court appearances—until now, when he is asking to get his old job back.
And there is more. Despite the hopes I had for Michael during our meeting, we now know that not only did he lie to the NFL in direct questioning about his activity, he also lied in his lie detector tests after his arrest—something that the recently released USDA report revealed for the first time. We need to know if Michael's post-arrest contrition was part of a flawed human being's genuine growth and development or just part of the machinations of a man with a clinically diagnosable anti-social personality disorder.
Until Michael agrees to submit to a brain scan and psychological evaluation, we have no way of knowing. And until then, PETA will refuse to be a part of a public service announcement that may simply be a public relations ploy from a convicted felon trying to manipulate his way back into the NFL. We hope that the NFL will take the same approach.
Today, PETA sent a letter to the National Football League asking that convicted dogfighter Michael Vick be subjected to a psychological test as well as an MRI brain scan like the one now in use at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in order to look for evidence of clinical psychopathy or anti-social personality disorder. Based on the fact that Vick funded and participated in a massive dogfighting operation (playing a direct role in hanging, drowning, or shooting countless dogs—and even slamming dogs to the ground to break their backs), it might seem obvious that there's something wrong with the guy. But whether or not Vick is indeed a clinical psychopath is an important piece of a bigger puzzle.
For the past 18 months, PETA has been meeting with Vick's management and legal teams behind the scenes about having Vick deliver a strong anti-dogfighting TV spot. If Vick is truly remorseful for what he's done, as he's said publically and privately, then a message from him telling people to stop these crimes could get through to dogfighters who relate to him. However, that's a big "if."
The only way to know for sure if Vick can change his ways is for him to submit himself for a brain scan and psychological test. Based on a number of factors—such as the fact that the right side of the hippocampus is larger than the left in 94 percent of captured psychopaths—these tests can help determine if Vick can ever truly understand that dog fighting is a sick, cruel business. Or, they could suggest that he's doomed to repeat mean, violent behavior in the future—whether with dogs or other human beings. And given that Vick plans to be around a lot of kids, to give talks to them, and to be a star in their eyes again, the world deserves to know who he is inside.
Vick's lawyers have run screaming, but unless and until he passes such a test, PETA will not participate in the production of a Michael Vick anti-dogfighting PSA. We hope that the NFL will require such a test as a precondition to even discussing the possibility of Vick's reinstatement. You can click here to add your name to a petition calling on the NFL to stick to its guns and maintain Vick's suspension until he's taken and passed a brain scan and psychological evaluation.
In honor of Halloween (and our peta2 zombie protesters), let me start this out by saying, "Braaaaaains!"
Good—now that I've got that out of my system, we can talk about the 11 awesome professional athletes who have all agreed to donate their brains to science!
That's right, these athletes—including six retired NFL players, among others—will all be donating their brains (post mortem, of course) to a study headed (tee hee) by the Sports Legacy Institute and Boston University. The study will use these oft-concussed brains to determine if there is a definite link between concussions and traumatic encephalopathy.
You might know traumatic encephalopathy better as "punch-drunk syndrome," or "boxer's dementia." Dementia and parkinsonism have long been linked to repeated concussions—such as those suffered by boxers or football players—and this study will further explore this relationship.
Sadly, studies like this often inflict head trauma on primates—only to kill them shortly afterwards—in order to simulate concussions in human brains! That's why these athletes' donations are so valuable—by donating their brains, these athletes have spared countless animals from suffering the torture of enduring repeated traumatic injuries. Their brains, by the simple nature of being human brains, will also provide science with much more reliable and conclusive results than any an animal test could provide.
That's why PETA is presenting these athletes with our Compassionate Action Award! Each athlete will receive a framed certificate and letter of appreciation—and the unspoken thanks of all the animals who will not have to suffer in the name of "science."
The awards go to retired NFL players Isaiah Kacyvenski, Ted Johnson, Frank Wycheck, Ben Lynch, Bernie Parrish, and Bruce Laird; former U.S. Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson; Florida Panthers hockey player Noah Welch; former U.S. Women's National Soccer team player Cindy Parlow; former boxer Maurice "Termite" Watkins; and last, but not least, Sports Legacy Institute founder, former Harvard football player, and former professional wrestler Chris Nowinski.
Written by Amanda Schinke
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.