On Friday sportswear manufacturers Nike and Reebok suspended sales of all products endorsed by the Atlanta Falcons player Michael Vick following accusations he was involved in a dog-fighting operation. The strength of public feeling regarding this issue was illustrated last week by a campaign to ban Vick from the NFL by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was the most responded to since Hurricane Katrina.
Reebok issued a statement saying they would not sell any Vick-endorsed products. "While we respect the legal process, we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore," said Reebok. This is the first time Reebok has decided to suspend sales of products associated with an athlete due to the athlete’s offensive behavior. Nike, however, refuse to terminate their contract with Vick until he has been "afforded the same due process as any citizen in the United States".
Vick pleaded not guilty last Thursday to federal charges he and three associates were involved in a dog-fighting venture. According to an 18-page indictment, Vick and the three others were engaged in a dog-fighting enterprise from early 2001 through April 2007. The indictment also added that dogs sometimes fought to the death on Vick’s property, and that either Vick or one of his associates killed losing or under performing dogs by electrocution, hanging, drowning or slamming them to the ground.