CHICAGO -- The president of the Anti-Cruelty Society said on Monday the public relations hit taken by Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after a football signed by Cutler did not receive a bid at the organization's charity auction last month is unfortunate.
"I am appalled at the negativity this has generated," Dr. Robyn Barbiers said in an e-mail to ESPN.com.
The Chicago Tribune reported on Friday that a Cutler autographed football obtained by the Anti-Cruelty Society failed to generate a single bid during a charity event that featured an auction and fashion show on March 26. An anonymous bidder eventually donated $100 in exchange for the football after the event had concluded.
"The person said they wanted the football for their son's birthday, and that the son was a Jay Cutler fan," Barbiers said.
Barbiers said she doesn't believe the lack of bids on the Cutler football correlates to the quarterback's popularity, or lack thereof.
"A fashion show isn't usually a sports type crowd and that is why we assumed the football didn't get a bid," Barbiers said. "We never thought it was because of who signed it."
Barbiers added: "The Anti-Cruelty Society is disappointed in the negativity as we encourage compassion and respect for all and are against all, including bullying. We truly believe the football did not receive bids due to the crowd simply not being sports enthusiasts."
Although a polarizing figure in Chicago and in NFL circles, Cutler is a frequent contributor to charitable causes.
Cutler started the Jay Cutler foundation in 2009 after the quarterback was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 24. The Cutler foundation's mission statement is to help children with diabetes learn how they can overcome the disease.
Cutler also donated a large sum of money to the Jackie Robinson West little league baseball program in the summer of 2014.