Animal-rights activists are hoping to send a familiar message to Nike, urging the shoe giant to cut ties with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick:
Just do it.
Calling for a “week of action” in response to the allegations of Vick’s involvement in illegal dogfighting, representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plan to picket Niketown stores next week.
“We want to send a message to Nike that they should drop all ties with Michael Vick based on the facts that are already lined up at this point,” said Dan Shannon, assistant director of campaigns for PETA. “There’s the fact that 66 dogs were retrieved from his property, truckloads of dogfighting paraphernalia were taken away, and dogs’ bodies were dug up.... We feel there’s enough evidence for Nike to end their relationship with him.”
The most recent response from Nike came last Thursday. While calling the allegations “serious and highly disturbing,” and suspending the release of the quarterback’s new shoe line, the company indicated it intends to stand by him.
“We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen; therefore, we have not terminated our relationship,” the statement read.
Vick will be arraigned today in Richmond, Va., the same day the Falcons open training camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. The NFL has ordered him not to report to training camp, and team officials have said they support that decision and had planned to suspend him without pay had the NFL not acted first.
That convinced PETA to scrap planned protests at training camp and league headquarters. The actions taken by the league and team also got a positive response from the top official at the Humane Society of the United States.
“I don’t think that a physical protest of the NFL or the Falcons is needed at this time,” Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said.
“They’ve been making some of the right moves. Obviously, if they deviate from that and regress, then that would elicit a corresponding response.”