An event organizer says he and his family received death threats after trying to schedule an autograph signing for Eagles QB Michael Vick at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Springettsbury Township, Pa.
Vick continues to receive public criticism four years after serving a 19-month stint in federal prison for running a dog fighting operation. Joe Bartolo, the owner of JJ Cards-N-Toys, told the York Daily Record that he tried to organize an autograph signing with the 33-year-old quarterback at the Buffalo Wild Wings for October 31. When word of the signing spread, Bartolo claims threats were made against him and his family.
A spokesperson for the restaurant confirmed the event was canceled but did not mention any death threats. Instead, the spokesperson told the Huffington Post that the event was “arranged through a third party and did not follow the proper process or go through appropriate approvals.”
Vick's agent later claimed his client was never even booked for the event in the first place, according to the 700level.
Bartolo told the Daily Record however that he plans on rescheduling the event.
In the midst of the alleged death threats against the event organizer, an ex-MMA fighter is continuing his challenge to Vick.
Last year, 44-year-old Gordon Shell, a retired MMA fighter and advocate for animal rights, challenged Vick to a charity fight, claiming the proceeds would go towards animal rights organizations. Shell says a spokesperson for Vick told him the Eagles QB wanted “no part of it.”
After news of the canceled Buffalo Wild Wings appearance spread, Shell told the Huffington Post that his offer for Vick still stands. According to Shell, Vick’s prison sentence wasn't punishment enough.
"If you truly want redemption, if you truly want to be free, people want to see you bleed," Shell told the Huffington Post. "At the end of the fight, I'm going to grab the microphone, and just announce to all the animal advocates, OK, this man has actually stepped up. We're both bleeding. He's bleeding. He's felt like what it's like to be a dog. Except he's still alive, we haven't electrocuted him. But he's stepped up. Now we have to let him finally be free."