Are these the actual notes written by Michael Vick as he prepared to publicly admit guilt in the BadNewz Kennels dogfighting case? And how did they find their way to eBay?
The buzzards began circling Michael Vick last month after his dogfighting pals began to turn on him. Left with no choice but to plead guilty to a seemingly ironclad government case against him, and with enormous public pressure mounting, Vick and his attorney began crafting a public confession.
On August 28, Vick spoke in a meeting room at Atlanta’s Omni Hotel, apologizing to the NFL, his coaches and teammates and young fans. He had no speech for the four-minute address; just a few notes written hours or just moments before. Now, that piece of paper is on eBay, serving as a fundraiser for the Humane Society of the United States.
There is no signature, but the six hand-written talking points on a sheet of hotel notepaper were certainly used by Vick during his public statement last month. Vick carried a small piece of paper in his hand when he walked to the podium. The slip of paper was not in Vick’s hand when he left the area.
"We have not attempted to authenticate the note or analyze the handwriting," Humane Society Executive Vice President Michael Markarian told Sports Collectors Daily. "Vick carried a piece of paper into the room with him, and the notes were written in the first person. But we don’t know for sure whether they were written by Vick, his attorneys, his PR advisors, or others. Regardless, we believe they were the talking points used by Vick for his brief remarks, and they represent an important moment in sports history."
Vick’s appearance was recorded by camera crews, one of which included Chad Sisneros, chief of the Humane Society’s video channel, which was documenting the event. After Vick finished and left the area, the piece of paper he’d referenced was left at the podium. While retrieving his microphone, Sisneros picked up the discarded hand-written piece of notepaper and brought it back to the Humane Society’s offices.
The auction began September 4 and has already surpassed $8700 with 74 bids recorded, although the HSUS is not requiring pre-registration through the eBay affiliated charity site missionfish.org.
The first numbered point reads "Apologize for what I’ve done", the second says "Apologize Comissioner (sic), AB (Arthur Blank, Falcons owner), Petrino (Falcons coach Bobby). The words "Ashamed, Disappointed" are also part of number two. Point three says "young kids" and "I acted immature". Point four lists "Forgiveness + Understanding". In #5, Vick reminds himself to "Take Full Responsibility for my actions" and the last point reads "We all make mistakes" and "I’ve made mistakes in judement" (sic).
The six talking points listed on the piece of paper were covered by Vick during his statement, although the final three words written on the piece of paper were not uttered by Vick. An unnumbered note stuffed into the corner of the page reads "dogs have suffered".
Markarian says no one from the Vick camp has attempted to retrieve the notes and it was reported Wednesday that Vick’s lawyer claims the note is "not genuine."
Writing in his blog this week, HSUS President Wayne Pacelle says the Vick notes "spell out his case to the public—the best he could muster after lying about his involvement in the dogfighting operation, then being exposed for what was his long and barbaric past of abusing dogs, and then finally fessing up after his co-defendants flipped and lawmen were about to put him away for a long time."
Vick’s sentencing is scheduled for December 10.
Markarian says the proceeds of the auction will "benefit the society’s efforts to end dogfighting and other forms of animal cruelty" through its Animal Cruelty Response and Reward Fund. Bidding ends September 14.
A recent auction of ‘dog chewed" Michael Vick cards generated national publicity and a high bid of $7400.