To those disgusted and totally baffled by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s invitation to Michael Vick to be its keynote speaker at its “Evening of Champions” event, I have one word for you: cronyism.
When Vick was released from prison, he paid the PR firm of French West Vaughan to try and “fix” his image. By coincidence, French West Vaughan has its headquarters right here in Raleigh. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots.
As a chamber member with an abundance of money and clout, French West Vaughan has what it takes to secure Vick this opportunity. It is also a sponsor of the event, as is The N&O. There is no other logical explanation for the chamber’s willingness to alienate a large segment of its members and to give Raleigh a black eye. This would also explain why in a state like N.C., with a lifetime supply of college and professional athletes who are upstanding citizens, the chamber’s steering committee just happened to pull Vick’s name out of the air.
The thousands of people who have expressed their outrage, appealing to the human decency factor and asking the chamber to select another speaker, are barking up the wrong tree. This is about money and the leverage it brings.
Penny R. Pierce