The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Tuesday evening that, despite objections from dog-loving fans of the NFL team, that they’d signed Michael Vick to a 1-year deal.
Michael Vick served 18-months of a 23-month prison sentence after he was found guilty of bankrolling a dog-fighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels. In his guilty plea, Vick admitted to helping kill 6 to 8 dogs.
The announcement came just a day before National Dog Day, a holiday meant to celebrate all things dog and to promote dog adoption.
Under the deal, Vick will be a backup quarterback for Ben Roethlisberger who runs a foundation supporting K-9 and service dogs. A huge advocate for dogs, Roethlisberger was frustratingly quiet about his feelings toward his new teammate.
Fans of the team, however, were not so quiet.
Many took to Twitter to voice their opinions:
Hey @steelers, I love you guys. These are my girls, and I love them even more. If you take Vick, I’m out. pic.twitter.com/2dHqGzDfQy
— SoniaRachelle (@JulyJackalope) August 25, 2015
Pittsburgh shelter, The Animal Rescue League also took their shot at the team:
On days like this, we’re even prouder to be the Official Animal Shelter of the Pittsburgh @penguins! pic.twitter.com/kDoFvwP8TH — Animal Rescue League (@AnimalRescueLg) August 25, 2015
And, more than 15,000 fans, in a single day, signed a change.org petition in hopes of stopping the deal before it was made.
@steelers don’t be foolish. This is a dog loving town.Do not sign Vick.I’d rather us have any one else. Don’t make me burn my steeler gear.
— Staub (@pnstaub) August 25, 2015
Despite their best efforts, the Steelers went through with the deal and Pittsburgh fans will see Michael Vick donning his Steelers uniform for at least a year.
It remains to be seen how the new addition will affect support for the beloved football team.
So, Steelers fans that also love dogs – will you continue rooting for your favorite team, or will you show your support to another?
Weigh in with a comment below!