Dick’s Sporting Goods recently made a decision that is bad for business. Taking one of the boldest, and perhaps silliest, stands of any corporation in recent memory, Dick’s decided not to sell Michael Vick jerseys in any of their stores.
Perhaps they earned a few dog-loving customers, but they lost the support of any shareholder who cares about making money. It’s one thing for lynch mobs to embrace vigilantism, but another for a corporation to engage in the same irrational behavior. Vick paid his debt to society; it’s time to move on with our lives.
The top brass at the Nike Corporation are smarter than the management at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they too understand the need to stay away from Michael Vick, at least for right now. When asked to respond to rumors that Vick had signed a deal with Nike, the company gave an immediate and resounding “no.” After the Nike denial, Michael Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, had to backpedal faster than an NFL defensive back to kill any indication that his client has re-signed with the “big swoosh.” However, the confidence with which the signing was announced indicates that the relationship might be deeper than we think.
The truth is that I don’t believe a single word of the Nike dismissal. Like the big egos in Beyonce’s song, Nike’s swoosh is ” too big, too wide, too strong” for them to sit idly by as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL makes his return to the game. Nike executives have seen Vick grace the cover of Xbox games and sports magazines and often refer to him as the man who “revolutionized the quarterback position.” They know that Vick is not washed up, and that some of his best years may still be ahead of him.
But while Nike is open-minded to the possibility of a Michael Vick comeback, the company is also smart enough to know that they don’t need to financially wed Michael Vick right now. They’ve got enough money in their pockets to grab him as soon as he gets hot, and they also know that Vick will jump right into their arms, like a young woman caressing her boyfriend after waiting for him to return from the war. That’s the kind of lovin’ big money can buy.
For those hoping for Michael Vick to fail, you should realize that you are not helping the animal rights cause by doing so. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society, stated: “I don’t think anyone was tougher on him (Vick) than we were. But the goal was never the continued punitive treatment of Michael Vick. The goal has always been to eradicate dogfighting in America and around the world.”
Translation for misguided puppy lovers who’ve become fully invested in Michael Vick’s vilification: By punishing Vick at this stage in the game, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. A broke, incarcerated Michael Vick is not going to do anything to help the dogfighting problem in America. But a famous, well-connected, wealthy and remorseful Michael Vick – with something to prove to his detractors – can do more to help the cause against dogfighting than anyone in the history of our nation. Rather than fighting one another to win a battle of egos, perhaps it might make sense to work together in the critical fight to protect animals.
There are redeeming qualities in Vick’s career, and one heck of an opportunity for any organization or corporation with enough vision to see what could be coming. When Michael Vick starts making SportsCenter highlights again, he will no longer be known as a man who once engaged in dogfighting. Vick will again be an American hero, and Nike will surely be there to profit. Nike isn’t going to “just do it,” when it comes to re-signing Vick. They may have already just done it.