A Michael Vick autograph session in York has been canceled after local sporting goods store owner Joe Bartolo said he received numerous threats against himself and his family.
The emails were in response to an event Bartolo promoted through JJ Cards-N-Toys, the two stores he and his wife, Jamie, own. The autograph session featuring the Philadelphia Eagles player was to be at Buffalo Wild Wings in York. Bartolo organized the event with Vick's agent.
Bartolo said he receives between 60 and 80 degrading emails a day, many of which threaten him, his wife and their three children.
"What did my kids do?" he asked.
The autograph tickets were sold through JJ Cards-N-Toys and cost $75 apiece. Bartolo said he estimates the two sports stores sold about 70 tickets to the event.
Bartolo said he planned to send an email to the stores' customers Tuesday, announcing the cancellation. The Vick event will not be rescheduled.
Bartolo said he is working on booking another Eagles player for a similar autograph session, and will refund customers who bought tickets if there is a difference in price. Bartolo said he would refund ticket prices in full if people do not wish to keep their ticket, but he asked in the email for people to wait until the future signing is announced.
Signing frenzy: Bartolo said the tickets for the autograph signing went on sale Saturday, Sept. 14. Many of the emails and Facebook messages started last Thursday, Bartolo said.
Bartolo said he knows some people haven't forgiven Vick for heading an illegal dogfighting ring, a conviction for which Vick served 18 months in federal prison. But, Bartolo said, those opinions shouldn't be targeted at him online.
"There's a difference between having an opinion and harassment," Bartolo said.
Bartolo is eager to put the event behind him and look toward other events. Bartolo said the store hosts similar events to benefit York area organizations, and he wants to focus on the events that are happening, not the one that isn't.
"I just want it to go away," Bartolo said.
Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.