The Nike Air Zoom Vick V football shoe was scheduled for a late August release, but those plans -- much like Mr. Vick's season -- are now on hold.
Relationship still alive
In a statement issued today, the marketer said: "Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen; therefore, we have not terminated our relationship. We have however made the decision to suspend the release of the Zoom Vick V and related marketing communications. Nike will continue to monitor the situation closely and have no further comment at this time."
When he entered the National Football League in 2001, Mr. Vick's unparalleled athleticism -- he's considered the league's fastest and strongest-armed quarterback -- made him appealing to a wide range of marketers, including Coca-Cola's Powerade, Kraft Foods and AirTran Airlines.
But a series of ugly off-field incidents combined with on-field performance that hasn't met expectations has left him with only one major endorsement deal -- Nike -- that now appears shaky.
While Nike is suspending Mr. Vick's new training shoe's release, it is not making any moves regarding his football cleats, which are already in stores.