Nike, Reebok Levy Sanctions Against Vick

Associated Press
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nike suspended its lucrative contract with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick yesterday and Reebok took the unprecedented step of stopping sales of his No. 7 jersey.

Facing protests from animal-rights groups, Nike announced it was suspending Vick's endorsement deal without pay. It also is halting sales of Vick-related shoes and other products at its retail stores.

Reebok, the official uniform supplier of the NFL, said it would stop selling Vick's replica jersey at stores and through its Web site.

The moves came one day after Vick pleaded not guilty to federal dogfighting charges in Richmond.

"Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent," Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said in a statement.

Because Vick has not been convicted of any crime, Nike left open the door to resume its business relationship if he's acquitted.

Vick is barred from the Falcons' training camp while the league investigates his actions for possible violations of its personal conduct policy.

Meantime, it appears one of Vick's co-defendants doesn't want to wait for trial. A plea agreement hearing has been scheduled for Tony Taylor at 9 a.m. Monday.

Taylor's hearing was added to U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson's docket a day after he and the other three defendants pleaded not guilty before the same judge.

Prosecutors claim Taylor, 34, found the Surry County property purchased by Vick and used it as the site of "Bad Newz Kennels," a dogfighting enterprise. The Hampton man also allegedly helped purchase pit bulls and killed at least two dogs that fared poorly in test fights.

ยท GIANTS: Defensive end Michael Strahan failed to report to training camp and he is mulling retirement, his agent told the team.

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