SBD/Issue 15/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Nike's Denial Of Vick Deal Shows He Still Needs To Rebuild Image

Vick Had Endorsed Nike Up Until Indictment
On Federal Dog Fighting Charges In '07
Burns Sports & Entertainment CEO & COO Bob Williams said that Nike's denial of having a contract with Eagles QB Michael Vick "indicates how far Vick still has to go to rebuild his reputation," according to Katie Thomas of the N.Y. TIMES. Williams: "More time needs to pass. You want to be sure as an advertiser that Michael Vick is going to live by the new habits that he's created since leaving prison." Baker Street Partners VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said, "I don't see a lot of options for him, endorsement-wise. At this point, you could barely call him a B-level player. It just isn't worth it." But Williams said Nike "wants to maintain the relationship in case this is a great comeback story and he rehabilitates himself" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2). ESPN's J.A. Adande said, "Nike kind of has a reputation of standing by their guys no matter what, even if they do adopt a renegade image. … I can see them continuing to use him as a product recipient, maybe not as a spokesman. You're not going to see the 'Michael Vick Experience' commercials anymore, but you will still see him outfitted in Nike gear" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/1).

TO SIGN VICK OR NOT TO SIGN VICK: ESPN's Jim Rome said just because an endorsement deal between Nike and Vick has not been signed yet "doesn't mean it won't happen." Rome: "In fact, I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen. Nike is not a church or a governmental agency. Nike is a business -- big business -- and Vick, apparently, is still good for business" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 10/1). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw: "They don't mind him wearing their product, they don't mind their product being on national TV." However, there "will not be Nike commercials." But ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said, "Michael Vick hasn't done anything yet on the football field to regain Nike's good graces" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/1). Carlos Diaz, a reporter for syndicated entertainment show "Extra," said, "The reason you sponsor and endorse someone is because you want someone to buy their products because they wear the shoe. Who's going to buy a product that Michael Vick wears? He's not the kind of person you want to emulate" ("Showbiz Tonight," CNN, 10/1).

PLANTING THE SEED? ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of Vick's representatives stating they had a deal with Nike, "They want to make it seem like the runway is open now" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/1). CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Al Koken: “I think Nike’s testing the waters.” Washington Post reporter Jason Reid: I know Joel Segal and he’s not an idiot. The only person that would come out and say we have a deal if he didn’t have a deal with them would be an idiot. I think what happened is you get on these message boards and all of a sudden, people say we’re not going to buy Nike anymore. There’s no way that they said this and Joel Segal was just wrong about this" (“Washington Post Live,” CSN Mid-Atlantic, 10/1).

LATE NIGHT LAUGHS: NBC's Conan O'Brien said, "Contrary to rumors, Nike says they are not, I repeat not, resuming their relationship with controversial quarterback Michael Vick. Also, rethinking their relationship with Michael Vick: Kibbles ‘n Bits" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 10/1). ABC's Jimmy Kimmel said, "Nike said legally they wouldn't even be allowed to negotiate something like that until they figure out if it would conflict with the terms of his deal with Satan. ... His agent says he has a contract, Nike says he doesn't. It's the Odom-Kardashian wedding of endorsement deals." More Kimmel: "One thing we definitely know for sure is he will not be renewing his deal with Milk-Bone" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 10/1).

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