Nike: The Michael Vick Dilemma

10.3.09

I play tennis, and I wear Wilson shoes exclusively. I love the shoes, they’re lightweight and durable and perfect for tennis. I also wear Nike skirts and tops. My kids have Nike shoes.

Earlier this week Vick’s agent announced that Nike had a deal with Michael Vick. I immediately went to Nike.com and penned this letter:

Customer (Jessica Gottlieb) – 09/30/2009 04:16 PM
When you decided to give money to an animal abuser and a sociopath, you lost my business. There is no way that I will let my children will your products, and I am giving my tennis outfits to charity.

I’m sad about it, I love wearing your clothing, but your decision is outrageous.

I got this reply:

Response to your email: (Jeff) – 10/01/2009 09:31 AM
Thank you for your email.  Nike does not have a contractual relationship with Michael Vick.  We have agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Sincerely,

Nike

It was an honest response, and I do appreciate that Nike isn’t giving Michael Vick any money, but I think I’m still off the brand.

I had a discussion with the kids about Michael Vick and the fact that he has killed and tortured animals. I won’t give them details, because I don’t want them to have nightmares. Regardless of Vick serving his sentence, paying fines or any other sort of restitution, he’s a man who killed dogs with his bare hands. When he wasn’t killing dogs he was making them kill one another. When Michael Vick wasn’t making dogs kill one another, he was paying other men to do that job for him.

He is not a good man.

He is not a role model.

Nike needs kids, Nike doesn’t need me, they need Jane and Alexander. I’ll buy the cutest clothes and the best shoes regardless of which celebrity is wearing them. My kids are another story. My kids identify with brands, and want to be like the stars who wear them.

I’m raising really great kids and I’ve asked them how they feel about Nike now that they’re giving Michael Vick free shoes. It’s not about a boycott, it’s not about bullying a brand, it’s about empowering my children and asking them really tough questions.

The question is: Are you willing to stop wearing a brand you enjoy when they align themselves with a cruel human being?

My children delighted me today. They don’t want to be like Michael Vick.