Nike, Inc., announced today it had re-signed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to an endorsement contract, a deal that is sure to generate a response in the animal rights community.
The Oregon sports apparel and equipment company based near Beaverton issued this statement this morning:
“We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete. Michael acknowledges his past mistakes. We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field.”
The company’s statement added, “We don’t have any comment further than the statement.”
Nike severed its previous endorsement deal with Vick in August 2007. That month, Vick pleaded guilty to federal felony charges in connection with illegal dog fighting and served 21 months in prison, followed by two months in home confinement. His former team, the Atlanta Falcons, as well as the National Football League, cut ties with Vick. He filed for bankruptcy in 2008. In 2009, he signed a contract with the Eagles.
Nike’s decision to dump Vick as an endorser had been controversial within the company. Some staffers viewed the move as a reversal of the Nike’s approach of standing by its athletes through whatever hardship they encountered, be it external or self-inflicted. Nike denied previous rumors that it had reached an agreement with Vick.