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SCLC will not recognize Vick at Atlanta convention

8/7/2007 - NFL Michael Vick Atlanta Falcons + more

ATLANTA -- Michael Vick won't be recognized by the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference at its convention this week after
all.

"There is no award, there is no honor for Mike Vick," SCLC
spokesman David Stokes said Tuesday.

Last week, SCLC President Charles Steele told The Associated
Press the group was discussing how the embattled Atlanta Falcons
quarterback would be acknowledged at the five-day event.

The SCLC had reached out to Vick through his mother to invite
him to the convention. The group was told he cannot travel outside
of Virginia, where he has pleaded not guilty to charges of
sponsoring a dogfighting operation.

Steele had said his group was "in support of Michael as a human
being. ... Right now, he's feeling discarded, ostracized by people
who are rushing to judgment. It's our responsibility to save him."

Stokes was not aware of any mention of "recognition" for the
player and said Vick would not be part of the convention.

"The president said in last week's press conference that the
SCLC supports him because everyone is innocent until proven
guilty," he said.

An attempt to leave a message on Steele' cell phone was
unsuccessful because his voicemail box was full.

State Rep. Tyrone Brooks of Atlanta, once an aide to Martin
Luther King Jr. in the SCLC, said he told Steele last week that the
Vick case was a distraction.

"I just don't think it should be discussed at the convention or
as part of the black agenda," Brooks said when reached on his cell
phone Tuesday. "I'm not trying to make it an issue. I just don't
think it ought to be out there."

Instead, Brooks said, the SCLC should concentrate on such issues
as violence and the incarceration of young black people across the
country.

"To talk about a superstar athlete who's got millions and
millions in the bank, with the resources available to put together
a defense team ... we're mixing up our priorities to the extent
that it causes confusion," he said.

Also last week, Atlanta and Georgia leaders of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked the public
and corporate sponsors to withhold judgment on the case until Vick
can be tried in court.