Pittsburgh – In a surprising move, more than 500 fans showed up outside of Heinz Field on Wednesday not to protest the signing of Michael Vick but rather to oppose the signing of the entire football team. The group, calling themselves “Advocates for All Animals (AAA),” explained they were protesting to illustrate the hypocrisy football fans display by selectively condemning cruelty to some animals while supporting the unnecessary abuse of other animals.
“We don’t think any of them should play until they stop eating animals that are needlessly confined, tortured, deprived, exploited, and brutally killed,” explained one of the group’s members. “If cruelty to animals is a violation of league policy and if our fans oppose it as they do with Michael Vick, we believe the policy and their outrage should include all animals, not just domesticated animals like dogs.”
The NFL’s response was mixed. NFLPA President Eric Wilson said he couldn’t understand the comparison until he was shown a video of what transpires in the animal agriculture industry after which he agreed to solicit team owners to offer plant-based meals in all stadiums as a concession. Roger Goodell tried to deflate the protest by offering to suspend Tom Brady for two more games. Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers quarterback, who settled rape allegations, did not respond to requests for comment.
When asked why they were not protesting the signing of Michael Vick, Heide Hagen, a volunteer for AAA, stated that people who eat animals needlessly kill far more animals than Vick did in his dog fighting ring and the animals suffer and die in the same horrific ways. “We don’t need to eat animals to survive any more than Vick needed to fight dogs to survive,” Hagen explained. “So what’s the difference? Simply because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Slavery used to be legal. A pig that spends her life in a gestation crate and can never turn around, gets beaten by factory workers, and then dropped in a scalding tank of water while still conscious doesn’t say, ‘This hurts but it’s not so bad because I’m a pig and I’m meant to be eaten.’ Our goal is to help people make the connection that all animals matter and deserve the same freedom to live their lives that we wish for ourselves.”
Pittsburgh is scheduled to play New England in Week 1. Thousands of fans are expected to boo Vick if he appears on the field while eating hot dogs, hamburgers, and other remains of abused animals.