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Sporting goods chain Dick’s says it won’t stock Michael Vick jerseys

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Dick’s Sporting Goods, the largest publicly traded athletic store chain in the country, won’t be selling football jerseys modeled after Michael Vick’s anytime soon.

‘We have not seen enough demand from Eagles fans to stock the jersey,’ Jeff Hennion, the company’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. ‘We have no problem stocking the jersey if the demand is there.’

Hennion told Bloomberg that Dick’s plans to use calls to its customer service center, searches on its website and in-store requests in the greater Philadelphia area to determine the level of consumer demand for the jerseys.

Another large jersey retailer, NFLShop.com, doesn’t share Hennion’s level of caution. Not only can shoppers purchase Vick jerseys for themselves on the site -- they can also purchase jerseys for their dogs.

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A Vick jersey? For a dog? Regardless of one’s feelings on redemption and the sobering effects that nearly two years in a federal penitentiary may have had on the troubled football star, the idea seems ghoulish. What gives? The Philadelphia Inquirer has the details:

‘Just as you could with any other player, you can buy a customizable jersey for a dog with anybody’s name on it,’ said league spokesman Greg Aiello. Aiello said there are some names that the NFLShop would not accept -- ‘Badnewz,’ the name of Vick’s former kennel, among them. ‘But just to have Michael Vick’s name on the back is not an issue,’ Aiello said. ‘Vick is working with the Humane Society and speaking out for the proper treatment of animals, so we don’t see a problem.’

One company that specializes in sports-themed dog apparel, Hot Dog Collars, has taken its anti-Vick stance to another level entirely. After the Philadelphia Eagles signed the quarterback, the company posted a statement on its website announcing that it had discontinued selling Eagles-themed pet products.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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