Nike Inc. said Thursday that it is suspending the release of the latest product line named after Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been indicted on federal charges of sponsoring dogfighting.
The active company's decision to delay the Zoom Vick V athletic shoe came two days after the 27-year-old football star and three codefendants were indicted on charges of organizing a dogfighting ring in which the animals were often executed by hanging or electrocution. If convicted, Vick faces as much as six years in prison and fines of $350,000. He has been under contract with Nike since 2001.
"Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent," the company said in a statement. "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 has no further comment at this time."
The launch of the Zoom Vick V, the fifth generation of the shoe, which retails for $100, was scheduled for Aug. 23, but Nike is pushing it back indefinitely.
The existing Vick footwear and three different styles of graphic T-shirts will remain in store, a Nike spokesman said.
Vick is to appear at a bond hearing and be arraigned on the charges Thursday in Richmond, the same day the Falcons begin training camp.
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