Eagles QB Michael Vick is speaking out against Android’s Dog Wars app, saying it glorifies the crime he spent time behind bars for.
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street,” he said in a joint statement with the Humane Society. “Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty.”
The app allows users to “Raise your dog to beat the best” by training a virtual pit bull to fight other dogs. In addition, players are armed with guns for police raids and “can inject the dog with steroids,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Animal-rights groups have also come out strongly against the game. But an official from the company that created the app, Kage Games, says critics have it all wrong, adding that money raised from the app will go toward fighting animal cruelty.
"We are in fact animal lovers ourselves," firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in an e-mail to the Times. "This is our groundbreaking way to raise money/awareness to aid REAL dogs in need, execute freedom of expression, and serve as a demonstration to the competing platform that will not allow us as developers to release software without prejudgment."
The writer of the message declined to use his real name in the e-mail, citing threats from animal-rights activists.
In 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for funding the dogfighting operation Bad Newz Kennels out of his Virginia home. After serving 19 months, he was released in 2009 and the NFL lifted his suspension making him eligible to return to the league where he had once earned millions. After a somewhat muted 2009 season, he had an all-pro year in 2010, leading his team to the playoffs while continuing to clear his public image by speaking to youth about dogfighting.
(Photo: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)