Nike gives Michael Vick his endorsement deal back

October 1, 2009 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

It was really only a matter of time before Michael Vick got his endorsements back, once the NFL decided having an admitted dog torturer and killer on its roster was a super-groovy good idea. Nike has taken Vick back to its bosom. From Yahoo Sports:

Michael Vick is back with Nike two years after the company severed ties over the quarterback’s involvement in a dogfighting ring.

“Mike has a long-standing, great relationship with Nike, and he looks forward to continuing that relationship,” his agent, Joel Segal, said Wednesday.

Segal would not reveal terms of the agreement. Nike declined a request for comment.

The deal was announced during a panel discussion at the Sports Sponsorship Symposium by Michael Principe, the managing director of BEST, the agency that represents Vick.

The endorsement is the latest step forward for Vick as he seeks to rehabilitate his career and his image after serving 18 months in federal prison. On Sunday, Vick played his first regular-season game since December 2006.

“It is quite evident that athletes that run afoul of the law are by no means relegated to obscurity when it comes to pitching products,” said David Carter, a professor of sports marketing at the University of Southern California.

Why is Nike doing that? Because apparently we don’t care enough about what Michael Vick did to those dogs:

Nike, which signed Vick as a rookie in 2001, terminated his contract in August 2007 after the Atlanta Falcons star filed a plea agreement admitting his involvement in the dogfighting ring. At the time, Nike called cruelty to animals “inhumane, abhorrent and unacceptable” and halted release of his fifth signature shoe, the Air Zoom Vick V.

Back when Vick first signed with the Eagles, Carter had said he was “too toxic for most companies to even consider taking a chance on him.” What’s changed? As Carter noted Wednesday, there has been little backlash to the quarterback’s return to the NFL.

Protests have been limited, and the Eagles’ sponsors have stood by them. That experience could make companies less wary about adding Vick as an endorser, though the biggest determinant might be no different from any other athlete: how well he performs on the field.

So Nike only does the right thing if they have no choice. Got it. Way to go, you mavericky shoe-making juggernaut, you. There’s nothing like a guy who has killed and tortured dogs with his own hands, while laughing about their agony, to sell stuff for a red-blooded American sporting goods firm.…

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