CNBC's Rovell: Nike Yanks Vick From Endorsement Roster
Nike suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick from its endorsement roster, CNBC's Darren Rovell reported after markets closed Friday.
"Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time," the company said in a statement. "As we’ve said before, Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. However, we do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen in the United States, therefore, we have not terminated our relationship."
Vick, who pled not guilty yesterday for his part in a dogfighting ring, has been a Nike endorser since he was picked first overall by the Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Nike shares lost 2.57 percent Friday -- before CNBC's report broke -- closing at $55.44.
For four years, Nike released Vick's signature shoes -- including cleated and cross-training shoes -- but following his indictment, the company announced that it was suspending the release of the planned "Vick V" shoe. The shoe was scheduled to hit stores on Aug. 23. Sources told CNBC that Nike made about 30,000 of the Vick V shoes and shelving the shoe forever would cost the company approximately $1.5 million.
Although Nike said it would keep other Vick gear at stores, some stores, including Dick's Sporting Goods, elected to take everything "Vick" off their shelves.
Despite pleading innocent to the charges, Friday was an active day for Vick's business interests. CNBC discovered that the NFL stopped selling Vick jerseys and memorabilia on its Web site NFLShop.com. League spokesman Brian McCarthy said the decision was made because it was "not appropriate" for the league to sell Vick items.
Only a few hours later, Reebok announced that its official found the "allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore." Reebok, which makes the NFL jersey, said it would would suspend selling Vick's jerseys and would honor retailers who chose to cancel orders they had already placed.
Nike did stick with Kobe Bryant after he was charged with sexual assault in 2003. After the civil case was settled and the criminal case was dropped, Nike began using Bryant in advertising again. The company recently resigned Bryant to a deal and is making his signature shoe. Nike has, however, dropped some of its endorsers in the past.
Nike has suspended the contract of at least one other athlete. Last August, Nike suspended the contract of Justin Gatlin after the sprinter tested positive to testosterone and other steroids. The company still hasn't activated the deal.