Michael Vick hits another new low with his dog-fighting accusation. The football quarterback for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons franchise has to unfortunately lose contracts with numbers of famous brands, including Nike and Reebok, who decided to suspend the sales of his signature apparel.
Nike Inc. and Reebok International Ltd. suspended their lucrative contract with Vick on Friday July 27th, just one day after he was pleaded not guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiring to run an interstate dog-fighting operation.
As of Nike, the world's largest maker of athletic shoes announced it will not end its relationship with the National Football League player, but is suspending Vick's contract without pay and will not sell any more products bearing his name at its retail stores at this time. "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 spokesman Dean Stoyer said in a statement upon responding the protests from animal-rights groups.
Reebok, in the meantime, said it would stop selling Vick's replica jersey at retail stores and through its Website. "While we respect the legal process, we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore," the company explained, adding that this is the first time they suspended sales of products associated with an athlete due to the athlete's offensive behavior.
In another dose of bad news, Upper Deck Co., the maker of sports memorabilia that has bid $425 million for Topps Co., won't put cards featuring Vick in its collections in the future. It would, in addition, not sell authenticated memorabilia of Vick, including autographed footballs, jerseys and helmets, through its Web site.
Vick pleaded not guilty Thursday July 26th to conspiracy charges related to dogfighting. He's scheduled to attend a November 26th trial and is facing up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines and restitution if convicted. He will also face additional discipline by the NFL, even if he is not convicted.