UPDATE: According to The Grio, Nike has no endorsement deal in place with Vick. From the AP:
Nike says it does not have a "contractual relationship" with Michael Vick, a day after the quarterback's agent announced a deal with the manufacturer.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Nike says it has "agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike."
On Wednesday, Michael Principe, the managing director of BEST, the agency that represents Vick, announced the Philadelphia Eagles player had a new deal with Nike during a panel discussion at the Sports Sponsorship Symposium.
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.
Once upon time, Nike called cruelty to animals "inhumane, abhorrent and unacceptable."
But if you're a bankable world-class athlete who has paid his debt to society, they can look past that (and toward the millions of dollars said athlete can rake in in the future). So it is with Michael Vick, the former Falcon's star and Nike darling cum federal inmate cum Eagles back-up quarterback on the road to redemption. From ESPN:
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.
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"…Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at University of Oregon, isn't surprised that Nike re-established its relationship with Vick.
"Nike has a history of supporting athletes. I think they are supporting an athlete who still garners attention," Swangard saud. "This is about Michael Vick as the athlete not Michael Vick the prisoner. … When he is inside the lines of the field he is an exciting football player and that's what a brand like Nike can tap into."
Money: The salve that heals all wounds. Unless you're dead. Then its personal benefit for you is pretty questionable.