CORTLAND, N.Y. - A petition posted online boasts more than 1,300 supporters in a call to ban football player Michael Vick from the SUNY Cortland campus.
A portion of the petition posted on Change.org reads: "Michael Vick has recently become a member of the New York Jets football team, which practices on the SUNY Cortland campus. Vick has served a short sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting conspiracy, but animal cruelty charges were dropped in return for his guilty plea. This does not mean, however, that his crimes should be forgotten."
The page shows a graphic picture of a mauled dog next to a picture of the quarterback.
The letter included is addressed to the president of the college.
Vick, who served a year-and-a-half in prison, signed with the Jets last month. The Jets have held training camp at SUNY Cortland for four of the past five years.
The team has not confirmed if it will come back to Cortland this year. The New York Post has reported that the Jets are returning.
A photo of football player Michael Vick sits next to a mutilated dog with the text "Disallow Michael Vick from the Cortland Campus." More than 1,400 people have signed the online petition, but some students we spoke with say Vick has served his time.
"I am completely against animal cruelty. I love dogs. I have a dog. I think what he did was bad but he's on the Jets now. It's his team. He already got his punishment. People can hate on him, but hes just trying to do his job," says Luke Hinton, SUNY Cortland student.
"I'm not a fan of Michael Vick. I don't agree with his past actions are. But I also think he has paid for them," says Allison Campos, SUNY Cortland student.
Other petitioners say he hasn't paid enough. Donna R. from Freeville says, "He is a murderer and animal abuser. He shouldn't be allowed in our town. The animals who survived will always suffer what happened to them. He should too."
Those who sign the petition say allowing Michael Vick to practice on these SUNY Cortland fields sends a bad message to students. But local business owners say Jets training camp brings a lot of money to downtown Cortland and they don't want that to change.
"There's an influx of people. Last year we saw 21,000 coming in just for Jets training on campus. It helps a lot of local business and they bring in out of towners; It's just great all around," says Mitchell Seweryn, general manager at Mark's Pizzeria Cortland.
Mark's Pizzeria says when the Jets come to town, the bars, restaurants, and hotels thrive. Despite how they may feel toward Michael Vick, they would never want to discourage the Jets from coming to Cortland.
"I think it's beneficial for both the campus, Cortland in general, and the Jets for him to be here. It's a big name in the industry and we're excited to see him here," says Seweryn.
Vick, who served a year-and-a-half in prison, signed with the Jets last month. The team has held training camp at SUNY Cortland for four of the past five years.
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