Michael Vick to appear at Men's Rally in the Valley

YOUNGSTOWN — Organizers of the 10th annual Men’s Rally In the Valley say God wants controversial former NFL quarterback Michael Vick to be on the stage as a speaker at this year’s event.

Local animal-rights activists, though, clearly do not want Vick to be anywhere near the city, and they plan to stage a protest before and during his appearance. The rally will be April 27 at the Covelli Centre downtown. It is a free event.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown will deliver the opening remarks and prayer at 8:45 a.m., with Vick, a former quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, slated to speak at 9:30 a.m.

Vick’s appearance is controversial because of his 2007 conviction for operating and participating in a dog-fighting venture. He pleaded guilty and served 23 months in a federal prison.

Jason Cooke, an animal-rights activist from Brookfield, said he was shocked when he heard in March that Vick was among the rally speakers. He and others approached rally organizers and asked them to change their minds about Vick, but were turned down.

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator and Vindy.com

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