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Michael Vick was listed as the NFL's most despised player, according to Forbes. (USA Today Images)
Michael Vick has stayed away from legal trouble since signing with the Eagles in 2009 after serving a prison sentence for his role in funding a dog-fighting circuit.
He has performed community service. He’s been an advocate for animal rights. He’s told countless school children to walk the right path and avoid the mistakes he made.
Still, he remains the country’s most despised National Football League player, according to a Forbes magazine story.
Vick, who garnered 53 percent of the vote, finished ahead of Chargers linebacker and former Notre Dame standout Manti Te’o (48 percent) and frequently fined Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (43).
On Tuesday, Vick was asked if it bothered him that people still haven’t forgiven him despite the community work he’s done since serving 19 months in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I care nothing about that. I care nothing about the people who dislike me. I care nothing about the people who still have ill feelings about me. What matters most to me is the people that I do know care about me and that’s something you can never take away from me.
“So, I don’t feed into all that. People are entitled to their own opinions, and I respect it. Just let me do what I do and let me be me. As long as I’ve got my freedom, my health and my family, nothing else matters.”
The poll, according to Forbes, was based on a survey done by E-Poll Market Research, a California-based firm that measures public opinion of celebrities based on likeability, awareness, confidence and other traits.
The survey polled over 1,100 people aged 13 and up. It was likely completed several months ago, which would explain Teo’s No. 2 rank and the absence of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez among the top 10.
Te’o was entrenched in controversy last winter as a senior at Notre Dame surrounding a prank that he was the target of, although many people believed he conspired with the pranksters to purposely make him the center of attention and sympathetic figure during a Heisman campaign.
Hernandez was released on June 26 after he was arrested on murder charges, a story that rocked the NFL during its short summer downtime and made headlines across the country.