Friday, July 27, 2007

Nike Sacks Vick

Sales of the quarterback's merchandise is taken off shelves; his contract suspended. Reebok and NFL also pull Vick-related items.

Brewing controversy
By Sam Farmer
Times Staff Writer

2:50 PM PDT, July 27, 2007

Nike just did it. And so did Reebok.

The shoe giant, under intense pressure from animal-rights groups, has suspended the sponsorship contract of the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Vick without pay. The company has also suspended the sale of Vick merchandise.

Earlier in the day, Adidas announced its Reebok division would stop selling Vick football jerseys and the NFL said it had pulled all Vick-related items from

The star quarterback has pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to illegal dogfighting. He reportedly earned $7 million in sponsorship deals last year.

"As we've said before, Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent," Nike said in a written statement. "However, we do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen in the United States, therefore, we have not terminated our relationship."

Representatives from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had planned to picket Niketown stores next week but have called off that protest because, a spokesman said, PETA has been assured the suspension will last at least through the trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 26.