Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's appearance at several book-signing events over the next week have been canceled because of threats of violence received by the organizers.
Philly Mag's Tim McManus reported (via Pro Football Talk) that the publisher of Vick's autobiography shut down planned appearances in Atlanta, New Jersey and Pennsylvania because of the threats. Vick had been set to sign copies of his book, “Michael Vick: Finally Free,” at three Barnes and Noble stores.
According to the report, the threats stem from reaction to Vick's involvement in a dog-fighting ring, which have intensified since Vick acknowledged last fall he was once again a dog owner.
“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,” Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, told McManus. “We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities.”
Vick family spokesman Chris Shigas told NBC Philadelphia that the decision to cancel was the decision of both Vick's advisers and Worthy Publishing. He cited several "credible threats of violence," including some that had been publicly posted on Vick's Facebook fan page.
“This was a joint decision between Michael Vick’s advisers and the publisher,” Shigas said. “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.”