Vick protestors, Raider Nation square off

October 18, 2009 5:46:45 PM PDT
The Raider Nation is usually not kind to opposing players and fans. On Sunday, animal rights activists got similar treatment.

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Protestors went to the Oakland Coliseum to demonstrate against NFL quarterback Michael Vick on his first road game since his release from prison for dog fighting, but some Raiders' fans got into it with the demonstrators.

It was animal rights advocates that invited Vick to visit some of his old dogs that are now being kept in a kennel in Virginia. When Vick declined the invitation and refused to show up, those protestors decided to show up at Sunday's game.

Some might say Michael Vick's supporters and opponents faced off fighting like cats and well. Protesters lined up outside before the game and even took to the skies to show their anger over Vick's refusal to visit eight of his former dogs which were rescued and now live in the Bay Area.

But, even in the heart of Raider Nation, many have already found forgiveness.

"Just leave him alone. He did his time. He did everything they asked him to do. He even got a dog charity now," said Aaron Early of Oakland.

"He has done his time. I think he's within all his rights to be out there playing football with the rest of the players. Everybody makes mistakes," echoed Rod Vargas of Hayward.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback served 18 months in prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. Sunday's game was his first road game since his release and his fans were out in force wearing his number 7 jersey.

"He'll never pay his dues, but life goes on. You can't just keep stopping," said Brian Shunk of Redding.

Protesters with a Bay Area pit bull advocacy group that rescued many of Vick's dogs wanted him to view the dogs from behind a window, keeping his distance so that he would not violate his parole.

"I felt that if he was truly remorseful, the first step in that is looking your victim in the eye and apologizing. And, when he couldn't even look those dogs in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry,' I didn't see any change in the man," said protestor Donna Fong.

Others wanted even more.

"No redemption unless he rescues animals," Sherisa Anderson yelled. "Just visiting dogs is not enough. He has to rescue dogs."

The pit bull advocacy group extended their invitation to Vick through the Philadelphia Eagles and it was through an Eagle's representative that Vick declined the invitation.

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