Vick Plea Not Expected To Hurt Athletic Shoe Sales

Nike severed all ties with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick following the news last week that he would plead guilty on dog-fighting charges. But shoe-industry analysts doubt that Vick's fall from grace will have much of an impact.

"It won't have a measurable impact on the shoe business," says Chris Svezia, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, who follows the athletic-shoe business. "One player--whether it's Kobe Bryant or Michael Vick--might affect incremental sales, but overall, it's not going to do much. It's just not as big an issue as people seem to think."

While both Reebok and Nike had stopped selling Vick-endorsed products when the dog-fighting accusations surfaced last month, Nike had left the marketing door slightly ajar. "We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen in the United States," the company said in a release last month.

Then, after the news hit Friday that Vick would plead guilty, Nike said it "has terminated our contract with Michael Vick following today's release of details of his plea," in a release. "As we have said in previous statements, we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane, abhorrent and unacceptable."



It's too soon to say what kind of a future Vick--who vowed to redeem himself--will have a future as an athlete, let alone a spokesman. He faces up to five years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

While the National Football League has suspended him indefinitely, he is still a member of the Falcons, which is said to be seeking the $22 million in bonus money that Vick has already been paid on his $130 million contract.

"Cutting him may feel better today emotionally for us and many of our fans," Falcons owner/CEO Arthur Blank said in a statement. "But it is not in the best long-term interest of our franchise."

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