Nike, Inc. — and a number of retailers — may take a bit of a financial hit this summer as a result of the legal problems associated with one of its key athlete endorsers. After the firestorm surrounding the federal indictment of Michael Vick, quarterback for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, for alleged actions surrounding dogfighting and cruelty to animals, Nike has made the decision to suspend the release of the Zoom Vick V this summer and the marketing campaign supporting that release.
The shoe was set to launch on August 23, 2007 with a MSRP of $110. There was no indication from Nike as to financial impact on the company.
NKE issued a short statement on its position regarding one of its key athletes: “Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen, therefore, we have not terminated our relationship. We have however made the decision to suspend the release of the Zoom Vick V and related marketing communications. Nike will continue to monitor the situation closely and have no further comment at this time.”
Vick, along with three others, was indicted earlier in the week by a federal grand jury alleging Vick and the others engaged in the management of a dogfighting ring in which dogs were trained to fight, but were also executed if they did not perform to expectations. The indictment alleges that Vick and others participated in the torture and execution of dozens of dogs by hanging, electrocution and drowning.
The move by Nike comes as animal rights group organize efforts to influence the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, and companies that have business relationships with Vick.