Petition against Michael Vick's VT Sports HOF induction presented to university President

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) People opposing the induction of Michael Vick into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame tried to have their voices heard Thursday by dropping off a petition to University President Tim Sands.

300 pages of names were delivered into Burruss Hall. That was just a fraction of about 140,000 signatures of people opposed to Michael Vick being honored by the university for his role in dog fighting a decade ago.

Sarah Lawrence was one the the names on the petition. The Roanoke woman said she's a dog lover and wants to stand up for the animals.

Before going in, she was hopeful to have a discussion with University President Tim Sands.

She said, "He could certainly take a minute to reconsider or take some time to maybe think about it for another day, and it's just a shame if he doesn't consider taking a minute to get a committee together and review it again."

But that didn't happen. Lawrence was told Sands was not available.

Instead, Lawrence was brought to university spokesperson Mark Owczarski to discuss the petition.

He said to her, "I appreciate what you've done and why you've done it. We've certainly heard from so many people who feel the way that you feel."

Owczarski explained it's a polarizing situation, with some on Vick's side to induct him into the Hall of Fame.

Lawrence said of the discussions she had Thursday, "It was definitely a mixed reaction, it seemed. I think there was obviously some people in there who were respectful to the fact that we were here for the business of these animals. And there's obviously some uneasiness with it, and that's unfortunate. I hope that they see that the reason behind all of this comes from a really good place."

She also said there was one more effort planned for later this Fall.

"There's going to be quite a rally, maybe for one of the home games," she explained. "I'd be happy to be part of that to try one last effort to at least have our voices heard and get that message across."

Lawrence also said she hopes Michael Vick hears about the petition and makes his own decision to turn down the Hall of Fame. Owczarski confirmed Vick does know about the petitions, and it's up to him if that's something he'd like to do.

One other person who knows about it is Vick's former coach Frank Beamer, who spoke to WDBJ7 about this Thursday.

He said, "I think he's done a lot. He made a mistake, he admitted his mistake. I think most of us believe in forgiveness, and Michael's worked very hard to correct his mistake. I'll always be with Michael Vick, I believe in who he is, what he is, and what he's trying to get accomplished."

Those in Burruss said they would give the petition to President Sands, when he was back on campus.

Vick and the other new Hall of Famers will be inducted at a dinner on September 22. Then they'll be introduced at Halftime of the Hokies game against Old Dominion.

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