Before Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was caught for his role in a dog fighting ring, he did not think it was wrong. He didn’t care about the dogs and had no sympathy.
His way of thinking did not change until he was arrested, he told students at Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Tuesday morning.
The NFL star, who is working to repair his image, is speaking with students there and at Wilbur Cross High School about dog fighting and animal cruelty.
Vick spent six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL before pleading guilty ring. He spent nearly two years in prison, lost his endorsements and most of the millions he made as a football star.
The results his actions follow him everyday, Vick said. On a daily basis, his daughter asks him if they can get a dog. He can never have one because of his actions.
Vick said he was introduced to dog fighting when he was 8 years old.
“At some point, I was introduced to the wrong things,” he said.
He urged students to inform anyone who is hurting animals and “enlighten them to stop.”
“Hold yourself accountable. Make rational decisions,” he said. If someone is involved in animal violence, it’s everyone’s responsibility to stop it.
Vick is joined by Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle is a 1987 graduate of Yale University.
Along with reminding the students to treat animals with kindness, Vick is also speaking about the importance of staying in school and going on to college.
He will be at Wilbur Cross at noon.
He was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, and has become the team's starting quarterback this year.