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Michael Vick to Ray Rice: ‘You’ve Got to Become an Advocate’

michale-vickMichael Vick knows a little something about public backlash and making retribution. When he was suspended by the NFL and sent to prison for 18 months for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring, he was persona non grata–even after completing his prison term.

But Vick remained vigilant about his work to protect animals, and while there are some who will just will not let go of his past actions, the overwhelming number of people have moved on. He believes that’s so because of his commitment to the cause, and he said Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has to be just as dedicated to speaking out against domestic violence, if Rice is to ever get beyond the notoriety stemming from the Feb. 15 incident with his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.

“You’ve got to continue to make amends,” Vick told “Once you start something, you can never go back. I feel like I’ve become an advocate of animal welfare, and I think I have to continue that.

“It’s all about keeping kids 15 years from now from doing the same. We’ve saved a lot of kids, and we’ve saved a lot of animals. That’s how I feel. Ray will make it right. He’ll do everything he can to make this situation whole again.”

Rice expressed his intentions to become an “ambassador” against domestic violence during a news conference after the league announced it was suspending him for the first two games of the regular season.

“I think the most important thing that you can do is to try to make amends for what you’ve done,” Vick told the website. “I think you have to show people that you’re trying to help yourself and bring awareness to that situation to help others, to prevent it. You’ve got to become an advocate.”

Vick spent 18 months in federal prison as a result of charges associated with dogfighting. He was reviled when he came back, and there was an outcry from animal rights groups when the Eagles signed him in August 2009. But Vick won over fans in Philadelphia and outside the city, too, with his performance on the field and his service in the community. He is now with the New York Jets, signing with the team this offseason.

Rice was arrested Feb. 15, after he allegedly struck Palmer, now his wife, during an altercation at an Atlantic City hotel. Video surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. The couple since has married.

Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.


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