The Sports Authority And Nike Pulling Michael Vick Merchandise?

Reader J tells us that The Sports Authority and Nike are pulling all their Michael Vick related merchandise, due to Vick’s recent indictment for running a dog fighting kennel. The charges are pretty gruesome. The indictment includes stories of dogs being put to death by electrocution for not passing “tests” to see if they were mean enough fighters, etc. Vick faces up to 6 years in prison if convicted.

J says:

Thought you all might be interested in this. It isn’t necessarily news about consumers being screwed over or their bad experiences, but more about how certain items are going to be harder to find in the near future.

As most of you should be aware, the recent Michael Vick controversy has caused Nike to postpone the release of Vick’s new line of Nike footwear. I work for the Sports Authority Inc., the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, and we had a directive come across this week ordering all stores that Nike has recalled all Nike footwear, including football cleats and athletic shoes. What that means is that Nike will be eating the cost for those shoes and consumers will be spared at least a few more pairs of overpriced shoes and sports gear.

More interesting than that, though, is the fact that T.S.A. has also directed all stores to pull ALL Michael Vick Jerseys, shirts, and any related signage and advertising. This is a rather bold move, especially since the whole case is still relatively recent news and it is not clear what actions the NFL may eventually take against Vick. What this means is that it is going to get a whole lot harder for consumers to find Michael Vick apparel (whether or not they still want it is another matter), especially for fans as the season gears up in the next few months.

Bad news for those of you who were in the market for some good old “Ron Mexico” apparel, but we can understand the thought process behind this. Michael Vick (who has plead ‘not guilty‘ to the charges) is an embarrassment to the sport, even the NFL has told him to stay away. If stores are pulling their goods, it seems they are just following the NFL’s lead.



Edit Your Comment

  1. winnabago says:

    Um. This is a consumer issue? Bringing more attention to the latest overblown media frenzy?

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Perhaps it is a consumer issue in the sense that a consumer can buy up a bunch of his licensed stuff, wait till he is convicted, and turn a profit on ebay.

    On a side note, why the hell would someone making the money he is making run a kennel like that? If not for money, then for pleasure, which is just sick.

  3. sleze69 says:

    Nike hates the torture of dogs. Slaughtering cows by the truckload for their skin is AOK.

    /sarcasm off

  4. evil_doer420 says:

    I think the whole thing is lame. They could at least wait until he is found guilty. I get so sick of media crucifying people before they’ve had their day in court.

  5. B says:

    Just like what happened during the Kobe Bryant Case, right? Okay, then it was like what happened when Ray Lewis was accused of stabbing two people in a night club?

  6. Falconfire says:

    @AlteredBeast: My black friend put it this way (though not using these words since I cant get away with saying it how he did being too white and all lol)

    you can take the boy out of the ghetto but you cant take the ghetto out of the boy.

    All money did was making him able to do on a large scale the stuff he did before becoming filthy rich. Its just like millionaires who go on to make homebrews or build rockets and stuff, they are doing the hobbies they would have when they where not that rich, just on a MUCH bigger scale.

  7. Papercutninja says:

    GREAAAAT. Now the Ebay prices are going to SKYROCKET.

  8. yg17 says:

    @Falconfire: And the white version of that is (which I’ve heard a million times, usually comes up when Britney Spears is being discussed): You can take a redneck out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of a redneck.

  9. macpiper says:

    well i, for one, am happy about this. i find it amazing how everyone on this board is all yippee skippee about cigarette taxes going up and how you can’t stand smokers, but are so blazé about a man who is being accused (yes, i know he’s not guilty as of now) of the barbaric treatment of animals.

  10. bdgbill says:

    I would love to see this guy put in a cage with 20 of the dogs he tortured.

    I will probably not get to see that but really hope he does enough jail time to end his NFL career.

    If you love dogs and hate assholes send a letter to the NFL commisioner. In my letter I made it clear that the NFL would not get a penny from me as long a Vick was still employed by them. I will start by cancelling my expensive NFL cable package.

  11. justelise says:

    @winnabago: Of course its a consumer issue! People who don’t approve of the torture and killing of innocent animals for the amusement of a few depraved morons should be informed about what kinds of products have Vick’s name on them. If you know what products are being pulled, and you know what other companies endorse Vick, then you can boycott them to show your disapproval of his behavior.

  12. Ben Popken says:

    @winnabago: Maybe because it involves a recalled product?

  13. Mom2Talavera says:

    AlteredBeast took the words out of my mouth…

    You can take the man out of the ghetto..
    ..But not the ghetto out of the man…..

    same for Britney Spears….

    $$$ doesn’t buy class!

  14. gibsonic says:

    it’s very interesting at the hypocrisy and righteous indignation that everyone seems to have over this who Vick/Dog thing.

    If he broke the law, then he should be punished accordingly.

    This media hype and “public outrage” has undermined the due process and impartial judicial review, IMO.

    I understand that the marketplace isn’t the courtroom. It’s not like he’s being accused of killing his wife a’la OJ Simpson or half of other worse “human” offenses done by bad boy athletes.

    Too much hype. Out of control, out of perspective. Dogs are still mammals, the same as Deer, Cows, etc that are killed all the time without so much as a peep.

    This is not intended to be flame bait, though I have a feeling that I may hit a nerve with more than a few that will call me a dog-hater or worse, which is quite far from the truth I assure you.

    As far as the consumer side of this thing goes, supply and demand will dictate what is sold and what isn’t. No matter the controversy, if there is still significant demand for Vick’s products they will be re-released at some point. Nike is I’m sure just doing the safe, “wait and see” thing right now but I hardly believe they have made a permanent decision concerning Vick’s products.

  15. I think part of the reason Vick’s behavior is getting so much attention is because while kids may not pay much attention to rape accusations or weapons charges, children understand animal abuse, and Vick’s alleged crimes are going to do a lot of damage to the league’s image with the parents-and-children demographic the NFL works so hard to court.

  16. getjustin says:

    I heard from the beginning that Nike would not pull the shoe and other marketing. Perhaps because he’s only been indicted (and is still “innocent”) but also, think of all the money they have tied up in that stuff. We’re talking tens of millions in sales and lost endorsement opportunity. If anything they’re playing it safe in the court of public opinion. If it hits the news that they’re actually trying to make money on the “dog torturer” it will be a PR poopstorm.

  17. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: While I agree the media hype on this issue is very overblown (when is media hype NOT overblown?), the evidence against Vick is VERY damning.

    You can’t tell me that an estate housing 100s of dogs with associated areas for “training”, fighting, etc. can be explained away by “I just didn’t visit very often.”. Unless he’s completely blind, he HAD to have noticed, so the only question is whehther he was directly involved or just turned a blind eye.

    Also, you’re right – dogs are mammals like deer, cow, etc. However, the BIG difference here is that deer, cows, etc. aren’t pitted against each other in fights for the amusement of morons with lots of cash to throw away. They also aren’t tortured for sport and executed if they can’t fight.

  18. cindel says:

    I don’t remember this much attention on the NBA.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s up to us to pressure Nike and Sports Authority to pull merchandise, endorsements, etc.

  20. Brian Gee says:

    @gibsonic: I’d hardly equate the murder of dogs for entertainment purposes with the killing of livestock for food.

    I also sort of want to mention that humans are mammals, too, and there are plenty of them being killed daily in Iraq with little more than a peep from the media at this point.

    I’m sure the NFL’s “innocent until proven guilty” stance is related to clauses in Vick’s contract; maybe if they fire him after a criminal conviction the Falcons won’t have to pay him that $130 million. If they fire him while he’s still “innocent”, they might have to buy out the contract.

    Ditto for Nike, though it looks like they’ve done the math and their long-term reputation seems to be outweighing the short-term loss on an endorsement contract.

  21. gibsonic says:

    @ancientsociety: “Also, you’re right – dogs are mammals like deer, cow, etc. However, the BIG difference here is that deer, cows, etc. aren’t pitted against each other in fights for the amusement of morons with lots of cash to throw away. They also aren’t tortured for sport and executed if they can’t fight.”

    That’s splitting hairs IMO. It’s similar to the story about kangaroo’s and baby kangaroo’s being “brutally” killed as to opposed to being “nicely” killed for their leather for soccer cleats(boots).

    When we impart human characteristics upon non-human things or creatures that is where we go wrong. It’s a cultural thing to be sure. We are a country that so values dogs as companions that we impart human like rules about their behavior..whereas in eastern countries, vietnam specifically, they are cooked for food.

    Certainly, that is the much deeper debate then what Nike is addressing. Nike is simply doing damage control to the surface symptom. It is not Nike’s place nor the NFL’s to assert cultural norms…though they do try on other occasions.

  22. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @thbarnes: I think we were the ones putting the pressure on, not the media or the legal system or whatever — I know a lot of people who were writing angry letters to the NFL, Nike, and other corporations when this news first came out. This isn’t just ALF/PETA types either; I have some friends who own pit bulls, and friends who work at shelters or vet’s offices, and this is an issue that really hits home for them. There’s been enough negative response from the consumer base that they’ve realized selling his merchandise will harm their image more than it helps their bottom line.

    Angry letters actually work. Wow. That’s some news worthy of the Consumerist.

  23. gibsonic says:

    @Brian Gee: “I’d hardly equate the murder of dogs for entertainment purposes with the killing of livestock for food.”

    as a red-blooded american(i’m assuming) i don’t doubt that is how you see it. I am as well, btw.

    However similar to my vietnam/dog reference before, in India the cow is sacred and treated even better than our dogs…well except maybe the celebrity “purse” dogs.

  24. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @gibsonic: Bingo! I am really tired of people getting all in a tizzy over violence against animals then not giving a crap about violence against a human. We seem to have more people upset about this than an issue thats a 1000 times more important…Like maybe Iraq? I mean it totally pisses me off to see this much coverage of a stupid ass celebrity than oh I dont know some of our brave troops dieing in a foreign land? I mean seriously lets get a grip its 10 min of this then less than 10 seconds for the “6 more US troops killed today, but wait Lindsey Lohan got a DUI…OOOHHHH!!!!”. When I see these peta assmunchers out there going absolutley crazy about this issue or someone eating insects on TV or OMG they kill animals for food! it turns my stomach.

    I don’t advocate hurting animals for no reason like this and if he is guilty he should be punished but damn people lets concentrate on bigger issues.

  25. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: Again, you are comparing to completely different things here – the killing of animals for food, and the killing of animals for entertainment.

    There isn’t any “splitting hairs” involved. Killing animals for food is a necessity for human survival. I’m not a PETA supporter but I do think it should be as humane as possible. But, I do realize that what I consider brutal may seem normal in another culture and I respect that. Yes, I realize dogs are considered food in many cultures and, honestly, if I was there, I would try one (as Bourdain says – “eat what the locals eat, no matter how gross or nasty you think it is”).

    The other end of the spectrum is killing animals simply for the entertainment or pleasure of the act. There is no necessity here. This serves no purpose. There is no cultural relativity here. It’s WRONG. Period.

  26. Falconfire says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Its always been like that though. Like someone pointed out look at India where the Cow is equal to the living form of god, and humans are treated terrible there unless they are rich.

  27. clickertrainer says:

    I think it is a consumer issue, and it’s activism at its best. The HSUS is actively involved in the case, they have custody of the dogs, and they have been posting “Email the NFL” and “Email Nike” calls on their website. Huge response. Hence the NFL and Nike reconsidering their positions.

    We can make a difference when we speak up.

  28. cde says:

    @evil_doer420: QFT. Seriously, they haven’t even started the actual court case. But then again, being black means he’s guilty of everything they say, even if he is eventually found innocent. Just like OJ and Kobe and R. Kelly /not-sarcasm

    @ancientsociety: I’m pretty sure cows (a.k.a. bulls) are tortured in rodeo’s. And horses are killed if they can’t run anymore. Dogs too.

  29. SirKeats says:

    @cde: while i don’t care for roeo’s, my understanding is that those animals have one hell of a life. particularly the bulls. they’re extremely valuable (monetarily) and are provided with an amazing level of care. now bull fighting on the other hand… that’s torture… and entirely wrong.

  30. gibsonic says:

    why is it wrong? because humans interviene? so if two dogs brawl it out on the street over a milkbone and one dies, that’s perfectly ok?…or is there some human to blame for not giving them BOTH milkbones?

    animals kill other animals. (human anmials) kill animals.

    So because they are not eating the dogs after they kill them, that is what makes it wrong? Could you possibly imagine the social outcry if it was found out they ATE the dogs they killed?!?!?!

    So all sport hunters for things like deer, elk, etc are wrong, even though it can help control the population?

    It’s ok to kill cute lil squirrels that are being a nusance to farmers without having to eat them…

    i just think it is very easy to see a double standard just because it happens to be Rover and people can relate to them more easily in the american culture. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be upset by it, I’m just saying there is a definate double standard when you look at the bigger picture.

  31. Joewithay says:

    @SirKeats: In Bull fighting the bull can fight back. Plus at end of most fights, the matador kills the bull quickly and cleanly, and if the matador doesn’t they are booed off. Plus if the bull fights very well he wouldn’t be killed.

  32. sncreducer says:

    @SirKeats: that “amazing level of care” you cite includes belts cinched tightly around the bull’s genitals to make them buck more furiously, and electrical shocking in the chute right before they are released into the ring.

  33. royuncg says:

    People are so quick to pass judgment, At least allow the court preceding to began, before we call him a monster. And there are more pressing issues facing this country than dog fighting

  34. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: No, again, there’s not a “double standard”. Your analogies are just way off.

    Humans aren’t “intervening” here. Humans are perpetuating fights between dogs. 2 dogs fighting in the street over a milkbone (really? have you really EVER actually heard of that?) is an irrelevent conclusion. The cause in your analogy is survival, whereas the cause of dog-fighting is humans & money. It’s an artificial construct and that’s supported by the fact that nonagressive dogs are killed before fighting or are used as “bait” for the more agressive dogs.

    As far as hunting is concerned, it’s irrelevant to the argument against dogfighting.

  35. dbeahn says:

    @ancientsociety: Thanks for posting that. Saved me from having to explain to gibsonic, patiently, using small words, the plethora of reasons he was wrong.

  36. macpiper says:

    we don’t feed livestock/deer gun powder to make them angrier, we don’t steal other people’s pets to use as training “material”, we don’t leave the loser to die from its inflicted wounds…or better yet, we don’t pour gasoline over them and set them on fire when they lose. also, it’s been proven that people that participate in dog fights are more likely to be violent towards other humans later in life. it breeds criminality….and to have such a person in the public eye, as a “hero/idol” to many. for them to see that celebrity so-and-so supports dog fighting so it must be okay is irresponsible.

  37. gibsonic says:

    let’s boil it down, shall we?

    humans gaining entertainment from anmials that often include harming and/or killing from said animals.

    How is hunting different than dog fighting again?!

    and yes, i have seen two dogs fighting viciously at one another on the street, though i can’t be certain it was over a milkbone. Probably over a female…hmm…maybe they are more human then I first gave them credit for?!?! OH THE HUMANITY!!!

    I am mostly playing devil’s advocate here. I personally would never consider doing dog fighting or condoning anyone else to do it. I don’t even hunt. I barely kill house flies…but those lil suckers have it coming!!!!

    People are taking themselves and this issue of dogfighting far too seriously, IMO. There are certainly far better things to spend our time and attention on that involve the quality perpetuation of human life.

    There are people out there saying that Michael Vick’s “alleged” crime is worse than someone (human) getting killed. Utterly ridiculous. If there is a choice between human life and a dogs life the dog is toast.

  38. gibsonic says:


    personal attacks on this site aren’t how we do things. take your mess elsewhere.

  39. latemodel says:

    I think he is all ready guilty of at least conspiracy because he is the property owner. Dog fighting is one of the offenses for which the Constitution is overlooked, like DUI and simple possession of drugs. As the owner of the property he knew or should have known that a continuing felonious enterprise was being conducted there, just like having drugs in your car. Sadly, by his own hand, his career is over.

  40. ancientsociety says:

    @macpiper: Perfectly stated.

    @gibsonic: Please read macpiper’s comment. Again, hunting and dog-fighting are not analogous.

    Also, it’s a well-documented fact that a human who is purposely cruel to animals, will also be purposely cruel to humans. Hence, it is an important social issue. This activity is quite widespread and if it’s not addressed and those involved are not punished for it, that violence and cruelty WILL affect humans.

  41. gibsonic says:

    they are not exactly the same, i concur. However, at their base, I still contend they meet the same need within the humans that perpetrate those acts. So indeed, i would have to agree that people who hunt or kill animals for sport would most likely be more likely to hurt or kill humans. Let’s go after the NRA while we are it!

    what you call “purposely cruel” is defined by what? the animal still dies in the end and is often met with some level of stress before death. In my book killing of an animal for any purpose is purposely cruel…at least I’m sure if the animal being killed was questioned they would take great offense to their death no matter how “nice” it was conducted.

    These artificial boundaries that we humans make on what is and is not acceptable have very little to do with the animal but rather with what “feels good” to us.

    It’s nothing more than a rallying cry to try to look like a civilized culture while the same people are perfectly ok with killing un-born human babies and sit back and do little while human genocide is taking place in Sudan.

    Priorities. what are our priorities?

  42. @gibsonic: “We are a country that so values dogs as companions that we impart human like rules about their behavior..whereas in eastern countries, vietnam specifically, they are cooked for food.”

    Yes, but presumably they aren’t tortured for entertainment purposes before being eaten.

  43. @gibsonic: “why is it wrong? because humans interviene? so if two dogs brawl it out on the street over a milkbone and one dies, that’s perfectly ok?…or is there some human to blame for not giving them BOTH milkbones?”

    I don’t think you’re aware of what dogfighting entails, which is the vicious and wanton torture and starvation of the dogs to turn them into fighting machines. The dogs don’t become fighting dogs until they’ve had their spirits broken completely.

    This is not, “Oh, let’s put some aggressive dogs in the ring and see what happens.” This is, “Let us torture these animals in every way imaginable until they are so vicious they have to be caged 24/7, and THEN let’s put them in the ring for entertainment value and make money off it.”

    Cruelty against any innocent being is wrong, and frankly it doesn’t get much sicker than deliberate cruelty against a “dumb” animal who can’t speak out, fight back, or escape. My “priorities” are with the weak and voiceless, and tortured dogs are certainly among those.

  44. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: Again, please read macpiper’s comment for the definition of “purposely cruel”. Hunters don’t do those things to the hunted animals. Any good hunter goes for a clean kill, wounding an animal is unacceptable and, if it happens, a hunter will do his/her best to quickly kill that animal and end its misery. dog-fighters don’t do that.

    While I agree that there should be more focus on the warfare and death in Darfur and other nations, that is irrelevant to the importance of combating dogfights.

    One (dogfighting) is simply easier to deal with because its within most Americans’ sphere of influence. Darfur, not so much.

  45. gibsonic says:

    this has already gone on long enough and the consumerist is not the place to further this discussion.

    so for the sake of the topic and site, i will relent further discussion as it would likely go on for a while since I have several points I could still make.

    maybe another day or another site.

  46. dbeahn says:

    @gibsonic: Let me see if I have this straight:

    You apparently want to pretend that I made a “personal attack” against you. I did not. I did, based on the level of education apparent in your first post, and now your second and third posts bear the theory out, observe that any response to you needed to be explained patiently, using small words.

    In turn, you make a personal attack (the rest of you reading this will understand why I’m using the term “personal attack” rather than the more accurate term “ad hominem”) and state that isn’t how things are done here?

    When I looked at your previous comments it seemed that you’d made several. Now, I’m sure, you’re reformed and on the “high and mighty” road.

    You seem to be (again and again) missing the point. You want to argue with people about dog fighting. That isn’t why people are outraged about this story. People are outraged because Vick was allegedly THERE and PARTICIPATED in the “culling” of 8 dogs that were deemed not aggressive enough. He HELPED torture these animals to death. They didn’t just quickly and humanely shoot them in the head, they hung a few, drowned a few, electrocuted to death a few, killed a few by repeatedly slamming them into the concrete floor, and shot a few. THAT is why this story has gotten the attention it has. Had it been just that he was running a dog fighting ring, it would have come and gone and been a “tsk tsk” kind of thing. That he personally, apparently for his own sick amusement, tortured losing dogs to death in a variety of painful and prolonged ways…

    If you still don’t get it, then not even smaller words will help.

  47. crichardson79 says:

    @Brian Gee: Your a retard

  48. gibsonic says:

    they are just dogs. get over yourself.

  49. dbeahn says:

    @gibsonic: “they are just dogs. get over yourself.”

    And so you follow my post with another “personal attack”? Yeah, that’s totally “not how you roll”.

    Is that your argument for child abuse too? “They’re just kids, get over yourself!”. Or for genocide? “They’re just (insert minority group here), get over yourself!”.

    Unless you’re a psychopath or a sociopath (and I’m not trying to claim that you aren’t), then hurting a living thing just to get pleasure from the infliction of pain and suffering isn’t normal.

    If your honest opinion is “they are just dogs. get over yourself.”, then I’d strongly encourage you to seek professional psychological help.

    Sorry for so many big words gibsonic. This will help:

  50. gibsonic says:

    LOL…do you always take yourself so seriously? I bet you are fun at dinner parties…and by fun I mean a total asshat.

    now THAT was a personal attack.

  51. acambras says:


    What about this whole “elevating the level of discourse” thing?

  52. Firstborn Dragon says:

    I’m glad they’re pulling it. Too much evidence to show what kind of problems people involved in this activity, or exposed to this activity cause.

    It is a fact that people who get involved in any form of animal abuse, which includes a lot of activites involved in dog fighting, are far more likely to be dangerous to other humans. Even more so in children who are more impresionable. So by removing the glory assosiated with this player, even if it IS for the sheer purpose of preserving their situation with the public is a good thing.

  53. Rusted says:

    Humans gaining entertainment from animal suffering, or humans gaining entertainment from human suffering? Dog fighting is bad but it’s all part of the same thing, some people only get their kicks by seeing others suffer.

    Professional sports, especially football, remind me of one now vanished civilization that used to derive much entertainment from gladiators. Stock car racing, no, not who can drive the fastest, but to see crashes and worse.

  54. Brian Gee says:

    @crichardson79: eat a dick.