Originally written March 16, 2013 on Bush League Chronicle:
In his first public appearance since cancelling book tour stops amid death threats, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick spoke to juvenile offenders in Atlanta as part of a charity event on Saturday. And he had a strong message to send to those who continue to spew hate because of his past.Vick was imprisoned four years ago for his role in supporting dogfighting. The 32-year-old appears to be a changed man because of the experience, but that hasn't stopped others from continuing to bash him.Vick doesn't understand the continued barrage of backlash. "Why would you continue to bash somebody who's trying to help make the world a better place," he said while speaking to the crowd at a suburban church.From the USA TODAY:“A lot of people are sick and tired of hearing about my past, because there are so many other problems that are going on in this world that need to have attention drawn to them,” Vick told USA TODAY Sports. “People are dying every day, children are being killed, going to jail. Not to say I overlook what I’ve done, but I try to do outreach as a positive. “That’s my responsibility. That’s what I’m going to continue to do. That’s what’s important. Those people are not important.”Vick signed autographs at the church just four days after his publish cancelled several appearances to promote his autobiography, "Finally Free." He said the increased media attention that came along with the news actually boosted sales.The book tour will march on with added security measures, despite the recent cancellations. Vick says he was more afraid for the health of others on the tour rather than his self when Facebook commenters threatened violence."It wasn't so much fear, but you have to take precaution for yourself and your family, and for other people as well," he said. "I knew a lot of people were going to be at the signings, and I didn't want to put anyone in jeopardy."I think the small fraction of people who are still making these derogatory comments and thinking irrationally, they're in a league of their own. But we won't let it stop us from what we're trying to do."The southpaw is hoping for a better season in 2013 than the one he experienced in 2012. Philly sputtered to a 4-12 record and a last place finish in the NFC East as Vick struggled to find his form.The Eagles ultimately opted to restructure his contract rather than release, agreeing to a deal in February that reduced his 2013 salary from $16 million to $7 million plus incentives.Via USA TODAY
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