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Controversial NFL quarterback Michael Vick (pictured) has put the kibosh on his plans to appear at several book signings next week, after organizers of the event received death threats aimed at the sports figure, his family, and store employees, reports Philadelphia Magazine.

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Vick, who has written an autobiography, “Finally Free,” was scheduled to make appearances at Barnes and Nobles stores in Atlanta, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, but Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, told Philadelphia Magazine they did not want to put Vick in any situation that could prove to be perilous:

“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,” said Williamson. “We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities.”

Since word got out about Vick’s appearances at the famed book retailer’s locations, the company’s Facebook page has been flooded with incendiary comments about the Philadelphia Eagles player.  Many postings protested Vick’s appearances as they spewed their aversion toward him.  Some comments have been flagged by the authorities who are taking the “credible threats of violence” very seriously.

According to Philadelphia Magazine, vicious comments such as the following excerpts have littered the retailer’s social media page:

“I would go there to slit your throat knowing how you treat animals.”

“hope your kids don’t fall in a pool with a battery.”

“I would snap your neck if I met you, your [sic] a piece of trash.”

Vick became a kind of dart board for animal lovers everywhere when in 2007, he and three cohorts were charged with operating an unlawful interstate dog fighting venture.  The gridiron player was accused of financing the operation, directly participating in dog fights and executions and handling thousands of dollars in related gambling activities. Law enforcement discovered that dogs had been abused and those who did not perform well were hung or drowned. Vick was eventually sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison for running the “cruel and inhumane” dog-fighting ring and lying about it.

Since his legal troubles and dog-hating image, Vick has tried to redeem himself by partnering with the Humane Society of the United States on an anti-dog-fighting promotion. He also became a dog owner again last October, after completing his probation and has taken steps to show that he will be a caring and responsible owner. He was even recently spotted at a Pet Smart in his area attending dog-training classes. What’s more, Vick released a public statement last October with regards to his newest and seemingly beloved four-legged family member:

I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet.  As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.

According to Vick’s coaches and teammates, he has turned his life around and made good on his commitment to the caring and welfare of animals, but unfortunately, the haters won’t allow him to move forward.

We wish you well, Michael!

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