An animal-rights group said Friday it has no plans to do public-service advertisements with Michael Vick after the disgraced quarterback is released from prison.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it withdrew any offer about doing the ads after a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Vick's dogfighting operation found "he enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart," according to Dan Shannon, the group's assistant director of youth outreach and campaigns.
Shannon issued a statement late Friday in response to an Advertising Age report that Vick was set to do public service ads for PETA after he is released from federal prison. The one-time Atlanta Falcons star is scheduled to begin home confinement this month, having served the bulk of a nearly two-year sentence for financing and participating in a major dogfighting ring.
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Advertising Age quoted three people with knowledge of talks as saying the proposed endorsement would be part of a comprehensive public-relations plan aimed at rehabilitating Vick's image and helping him get him back into the NFL. He was suspended indefinitely after admitting his involvement in dogfighting, and commissioner Roger Goodell has said he won't consider the quarterback's reinstatement until he completes his sentence.
The 28-year-old Vick revealed in his bankruptcy case that he hopes to rejoin the NFL and believes he could play another 10 to 12 seasons. He was once the league's highest-paid player, signing a 10-year, $140 million contract with Atlanta, but the Falcons have said they don't want him back.
PETA had been talks with Vick's representatives about doing the ads until receiving the USDA report, which led the group to call on Vick to undergo a brain scan to determine if he suffers from anti-social personality disorder.
"In December, after consulting with psychiatrists, PETA withdrew the offer for the TV spot," Shannon said in his statement. "In January, we called on NFL commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career."