Several book signings by Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick have been canceled due to threats of violence against Vick and his family, according to a family spokesperson.
Vick was scheduled to sign copies of his book “Michael Vick: Finally Free” at Barnes and Noble stores in Atlanta, New Jersey and Exton, Pennsylvania. All three appearances have been canceled however because of safety concerns.
“This was a joint decision between Michael Vick’s advisers and the publisher,” said Vick family spokesman Chris Shigas. “They were canceled because of a recent uptick in credible threats of violence against Michael Vick, his family, the bookstores and the book store employees.”
Many people flooded the Barnes and Noble's Facebook page with comments after word of Vick's scheduled appearances spread.
One person wrote, "I would go there to slit your throat knowing how you treat animals."
Another person wrote, "Hope your kids don't fall in a pool with a battery."
Shigas claims multiple threats were made, with some even being posted on Vick’s Facebook page.
“There just seemed to be a collective, very few extremists who were noting the time and the place where these events would be,” said Shigas. “They were working to gather support to commit acts of violence. They wrote and said disgusting things, including going after his fans with words of racism, including the N-word."
Police continue to investigate the threats.
“We’re going to work with authorities and we’re confident that they’re taken the threat seriously and that they’ll investigate it accordingly,” said Shigas.
Byron Williamson, the President of Worthy Publishing, the company who published Vick’s book, also told Philadelphia Magazine the following:
While we stand by Michael Vick’s right to free speech and the retailers’ right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances. We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities.
Vick has been surrounded by controversy since he joined the Eagles in 2009 following a 19-month stint in federal prison for running a dog fighting operation.
"It's kind of ridiculous that after being a part of the Philadelphia community for this long which is supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love, he's receiving death threats," said Brandon Bower of Coatesville. "It seems kind of ridiculous to me."