Michael Vick was one of the players honored during halftime at Sunday's Falcons vs. Saints game. Before the game, Vick expressed his gratitude for being one of the players chosen.
"I was just thankful I got the call and my name was in the mix," said former Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick. "This dome holds a special place in my heart, this is where I started my career."
For 6 seasons, Michael Vick was the star attraction. But his career was turned upside down in 2007 when he pleaded guilty in a federal dogfighting investigation. He was suspended from the NFL and served 21 months in prison.
Some said Vick should not be honored.
“Why would you allow someone who's clearly showed disregard for not only dogs but for people and society and our rules, and who committed a felony?” said Laurie Ann Galliant.
An online petition said an invitation to Vick should be revoked. It states “The Falcons would be honoring a convicted dogfighter who profited from cruelty to animals for years”. The petition on Change.org had more than 28-thousand signatures Sunday afternoon.
Vick said at some point, you have to forgive.
"There are a lot of people who have forgave me," said Vick. "You gave me an opportunity to show a different side of myself and that is the candid part, that I think people really are starting to exert. I am just thankful that I got a lot of supporters and that is all you can ask for and I appreciate those people with the utmost humility."
Gerald Rose is the founder and CEO of New Order National, a human and civil rights organization. Rose said Vick has given back to the community, including the Atlanta Humane Society and he believes he has taken responsibility for what he did and those against him need to move on.
"Now if you keep going in and out of trouble, I do not have no sorrow for you, but once you go in and learn from your mistakes and come out and be a better man that is what it supposed to be," said Gerald Rose with New Order National Human Rights Organization.
Some Falcons fans argue it's Vick's talent that counts. They said he did a lot on the football field for the Falcons and Atlanta. “He's paid his debt to society, so how long are we going to persecute him? He has a lot of fans that want to see him, so it's worth bringing him around,” said Michael Hayes.