The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Vick Can't Just Do It

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On Sunday, Michael Vick appeared in his first regular season NFL game since 2006. Despite a pedestrian performance, and being upstaged by a back-up quarterback most Philly fans wouldn't recognize in street clothes, the Vick story led many news broadcasts.

Wednesday, Vick's agent let it slip that he had a deal in place with Nike. Vick desperately needs corporate sponsorships to supplement his rather meager NFL salary. Once he had a team that would take him back, Team Vick shifted its attention to sponsors and yesterday's leak about Nike had everything to do with demonstrating that corporate America was ready to re-embrace the former Virginia Tech star.

Not so fast.

Wednesday's statement caused Nike to issue a clarification: "Nike does not have a contractual relationship with Michael Vick," Nike spokesman Kejuan Wilkins said, in a statement carried by CNBC. "We have agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike."

Nike's statement demonstrates that the shoe giant is a bit queasy about embracing the player. It appears as if the company is taking things slow and it is right to do so.

Sponsors do not attach themselves to athletes or celebrities lightly. It is not enough that Vick simply plays in the NFL. He has to play well.

Sponsors will return to Vick if he does two things: 1) He is a boy scout off the field. This doesn't simply mean driving the speed limit, avoiding strip clubs and passing on drug tests -- that's just the MINIMUM. He also can't be seen grumbling that Philly coaches are underutilizing him and forcing him to be a Wildcat specialist. 2) He needs to perform. Going 0/2 in passing and having one rush for seven yards isn't going to make anyone buy a pair of Air Vick sneakers.

The sluggish economy means that few corporate sponsors will be willing to take a risk on Vick until a New and Improved Michael demonstrates that he can produce the same magic he did as an Atlanta Falcon.

On that verdict, the jury is still out.

By Jason Maloni  |  October 2, 2009; 12:27 AM ET  | Category:  Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Vick Is Still Radioactive | Next: Learn From Ray Lewis

Comments

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Maybe he can use his endorsements as another medium to speak out against dog fighting. If Nike was so smart they could speak out against dog fighting and use Michael Vick to sell their product at the same time.

Posted by: ziggy18v | October 1, 2009 8:07 PM

(wellllll we all know that 'dogs' is a slang word for feet as in 'my dogs are killing me', ie my feet hurt.)

So Vick is the perfect guy for NIKE. Imagine the marketing slogans that could flow from a Vick-Nike team up such as:

'Put your dogs in Nike sneakers'

'All dogs love Nike'

and on and on.

....

Nothing will stop marketing not even morality.


( hmmm what next from a sports league? endorsements from child rapists?)


Posted by: JohnAdams1 | October 2, 2009 4:42 AM

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