(Update July 1: The Associated Press reports that today, four years after dropping Michael Vick because of his involvement in a dogfighting ring, Nike re-signed Vick to an endorsement deal. “Michael acknowledges his past mistakes,” Nike said in a statement. “We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field.” Dogsters, instead of putting this in its own post, I’m updating this one. We’ve had nearly 700 comments at this point, and I don’t want to open the door to another storm at the bottom. You all need a break. And now, the original article…)
Among the awards given at the BET Awards on Sunday night was one for Subway Sportsman of the Year. The five finalists were Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Michael Vick.
And with nearly 8 million viewers watching, the award went to Vick.
The star quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles may be phenomenal on the field. but with his recent dogfighting past, it probably wasn’t the wisest PR move Subway could have made. Yes, the award likely focuses on the sports side of a player, and not the personal life. But those tortured and maimed dogs are still fresh in many minds, and those minds may not take kindly to the association of Subway and Vick.
There’s already fallout from the decision. A Facebook page is urging dog lovers to “Just Say No Way to Subway.” It’s linked to a Care2 petition site that’s collecting signatures and giving a phone number for customer service at Subway (800.888.4848). The petition site asks people to call the number or email Subway saying they’ll boycott the sandwich stores until Michael Vick gives back his award. So far the petition has about 2,500 names, and the Facebook page has nearly 7,000 Likes.
Dogsters, what do you think of the award going to Vick? Is it well deserved because of what a good player he is? Should he be able to move on? Or should he not have even been considered for the award? Will this affect how you feel about Subway?
For those of you who don’t mind a bit of swearing, check out the snippet of this YouTube video that goes from :58 to 2:08. It’sfrom a man who watched the BET awards and couldn’t believe Vick won. He calls it “WTF!!! MICHAEL VICK WINS SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR!!!!” (There’s one F-bomb in this segment, but they rain down in the rest of the video, and the rest isn’t about Vick, so no need to watch it unless you’re curious and can handle a cuss storm.)
(Update June 28: It turns out it’s apparently BET that decides who wins. Subway is the sponsor and has no role in decisionmaking, we’ve been told. One of our readers commented below that she spoke with a Subway customer service representative who said “they will most likely not sponsor this award again because there have been so many calls about people’s outrage about Michael Vick’s being associated with Subway.”)