What the hell is going on here?
The Huffington Post has a story about a Mike Vick appearance at a Buffalo Wild Wings that's been cancelled, although it turns out he was never really scheduled for such an appearance, protests were promised, death threats are being mailed, and, then in a separate but semi-connected chain of events, an ex-MMA fighter with a heart condition wants to fight Vick.
OK, let's try to tease this out.
Vick was allegedly scheduled for an autograph signing in York, Pa. on Oct. 31. Amidst some blowback, the Buffalo Wild Wings chain cancelled the event. A company spokesman told the Huffington Post the cancellation had nothing to do with negative publicity and that the real problem is that the appearance was never authorized via the appropriate channels.
Vick's agent, in a later update, e-mailed HuffPo himself to clarify that his client was never even booked for the event. So these kinds of protests posted on Facebook ...
"You suck. Your food sucks. Anyone who eats there sucks. And whoever thought liking/ supporting Michale Vick should burn in hell."
... were for naught.
Don't worry this is going somewhere.
Despite Buffalo Wild Wings' claim that this event was never approved and the Vick camp's claim that this was never happening anyway, a woman named Jamie Bartolo, the co-owner of JJ Cards N Toys, has been receiving death threats. Bartolo's company appears to have been the third party who was organizing the event at Buffalo Wild Wings, and she told a CBS affiliate she's been receiving the following messages:
"The message was, 'I wish your wife and kids would die,'" said Jamie Bartolo, co-owner, JJ Cards-N-Toys. Bartolo says there were thousands of them. "We're getting a lot of comments focused towards my family, hurting them, wishing they were dead, making comments that we are vile people for bringing him to this area," she added.
To recap so far, Buffalo Wild Wings denies an event was ever approved, Vick's people deny he was ever booked, and this woman, who claims she's an animal lover, is receiving death threats over an event that was never actually going to happen. So naturally, Joe Bartolo, fellow co-owner of JJ Cards N Toys, is insisting it's still going to happen.
Joe told the York Daily Record that "we are definitely going to have the signing," with the following caveats:
The location will be released on Monday or Tuesday to customers on the store's email list but will not be announced on social media accounts."Until then, we do not want people talking about it," Bartolo said.
The event might be promoted as an event with Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson instead of a Michael Vick event so that it does not garner as much national attention, he said.
Well, that plan kind of seems out the window now, since you know, he explained it, and it's now caught national attention. Solid work out of Joe. Jamie's receiving death threats and he's hosting Inside the Magician's Secrets.
Anyway, you still hanging around here? Be glad. Here's the part where a guy tries to fight Vick.
Gordon Shell, 44, is an ex-MMA fighter who stepped away from a 20-year career after being diagnosed with a heart condition. Shell now spends his time raising awareness for animal cruelty, and in spite of his condition, he wants one more fight -- with Vick.
He's willing to get punched one more time, though, if Vick says yes to what Shell hopes will be a match shown on Pay Per View, that would raise money for animal rescue groups and would also satisfy those who believe the now-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback's jail sentence and fines haven't been punishment enough.
"If you truly want redemption, if you truly want to be free, people want to see you bleed," says Shell. "At the end of the fight, I'm going to grab the microphone, and just announce to all the animal advocates, OK, this man has actually stepped up. We're both bleeding. He's bleeding. He's felt like what it's like to be a dog. Except he's still alive, we haven't electrocuted him. But he's stepped up. Now we have to let him finally be free."
If you're anything like me, you're currently asking yourself, what the hell does Gordon Shell have to do with the Bartolos or Buffalo Wild Wings. How did these two stories get paired together by HuffPo?
Shell's hoping that the protests will make enough of an impact on Vick's image and his earnings that once his career is is over as a professional athlete, they'll step in the ring.
Ahh. Well, until that happens, you can buy one of these T-shirts:
— Jaime Daughtridge (@banksruption) December 10, 2012
So there you have it.
Mike Vick was never scheduled for an event, which prompted bad PR for Buffalo Wild Wings, death threats for two individuals promoting an event they never really scheduled, and renewed attention for an MMA fighter who wants to fight Vick despite a medical condition that forced him out of the ring.
And this, it's worth noting, is not the first time a cancelled Vick appearance has been accompanied by death threats.
You're all doing just fine, citizens of America. Keep it up.