Dog owners: Vick didn't want to face them
The owners of dogs rescued from a dogfighting ring operated by convicted quarterback Michael Vick said he pulled out of an interview with Oprah Winfrey because he did not want to be confronted by them on TV, the New York Post reported Friday.
Vick, who served 21 months in prison before resurrecting his NFL career with the Eagles, pulled out of a rare TV interview after the dog owners contacted Winfrey's producers asking for the chance to confront him on "Oprah".
"One of the adopters was contacted by one of Oprah's producers Tuesday night, who said there was preliminary interest in doing something with the dogs," said Richard Hunter, a Dallas radio personality who adopted one of the dogs.
"Then, that same night, Vick's rep told Oprah's producers he was backing out (of the interview).
"It would certainly be a coincidence if one didn't have something to do with the other."
Paul, who didn't want his last name used, owns Cherry, one of the pit bulls rescued from Vick's dogfighting ring.
He said he was "one of the first" to contact Winfrey's production company Harpo when he heard Vick was scheduled to appear on the show.
"I sent out a blanket e-mail to about 20 people at Oprah's production company and heard back the next day that they would take my inquiry into consideration," he said.
A Harpo spokesman confirmed that the dog owners had contacted the show.
"Yes, they reached out to us, and we spoke with them and several other groups," he said.
"We were still in the planning stages for the show, so I can't confirm if they would have been part of the final episode."
The Vick interview would have been one of the first he has given since returning to football. NFL announcer James Brown interviewed Vick on "60 Minutes" in August 2009, but the interview was short, and the quarterback was accompanied by a lawyer.
Since being released from prison, Vick has been part of a Humane Society program that warns young men against dogfighting.