When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost the AFC Divisional round game, most fans of the Black and Gold were devastated. But amazingly, there was a pocket of Pittsburgh fans who celebrated the team’s loss to Denver. These fans have been anti-Steelers, since the August signing of Michael Vick. Since Vick joined the team, they have burned jerseys and wished the worst luck for the Steelers. Their hatred is strong.
There are more than a few Steelers fans who want to see the end of Vick in Pittsburgh. Many of those same fans want to see him out of football. They want his career to end and the Michael Vick curse lifted from the Steelers. They claim Vick’s karma is what led to the team’s subpar season and eventual loss in the playoffs.
The feelings are so strong against Vick, a Facebook page was started. The comments and posts can get downright nasty. The Pittsburghers Against Michael Vick group doesn’t mince words when it comes to their feelings about the backup quarterback.
Vick wants to come back to the Steel City. He has said he feels at home and welcomed by the players and Steelers organization. Yet, there were still protesters that showed up with signs at home games – and a few road battles – to show their displeasure with Vick being allowed to play.
There are those who are ready to move on from the dogfighting incident. They readily accept Vick. But the critics are a diehard bunch that claims he isn’t a changed man. The time served isn’t enough and wasn’t for the right charge. As reported by CNN, the charge of cruelty to animals was dropped. That’s what has the anti-Vick protesters so angry.
If the Steelers fans that detest Vick have their way, the signal-caller won’t be back. Animal advocates want others to know that the cruelty Vick imposed on the dogs was beyond dogfighting. They want football fans to get a better idea of why he should be out of the game.
Donna Reynolds, co-founder of BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), told The San Francisco Chronicle how serious the situation was. She’s one critic that isn’t convinced Vick has changed. After seeing how the dogs were treated, she was utterly repulsed.
“The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water.”
Vick did that and much more to the dogs. That’s why the anti-Vick fans are still demanding his release from the Steelers. But, it looks as though he may be getting another shot. According to 247Sports, team president Art Rooney praised the effort given by Vick.
“Mike came in and kept his nose to the grindstone, worked hard, was available when we needed him, played a role that we needed,” Rooney said. “He came here and conducted himself the way you would hope a player does. He made a contribution to the team.”
Football has been part of Michael Vick’s life for 13 years. He has a desire to play one more season. He’d like that to be with the Steelers.
“I love the Steelers organization,” Vick explained. “I love Coach Tomlin. I love the players I am around. I love my teammates. It was an awesome experience this year to compete throughout the playoffs. That’s what I came here for. If there is a way possible, I would love to come back.”
If the Steelers decide to bring the embattled signal-caller back, they face the risk of more Vick critics popping up. His mobility may be better than that of Landry Jones or Ben Roethlisberger, but he’s still going into his fourteenth year. The wheels are getting slower.
Though Art Rooney and Mike Tomlin have nothing but praise for Michael Vick, it may be time for him to think retirement. While the critics claim he’s still the same, others are convinced he has seen the light.
“As long as he’s throwing a football and not electrocuting a dog, PETA is pleased he is focused on his game,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement.
The Steelers’ 2016 roster will have the final verdict.
[Feature Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images]