Back when Michael Vick was indicted on charges of dog fighting, Nike saw fit to end their relationship and no longer have him as a spokesperson for their company.
I don't think many people disagreed with Nike's decision as certainly a big company like that would not want someone endorsing their product who is bringing their company and his name into disrepute... So you can imagine my surprise when I saw their latest TV spot running during NFL games this season entitled "Leave Nothing" which features proven steroid user Shawne Merriman.
No one will argue that an athlete using steroids is worse than what Mike Vick did. All Merriman did was put himself at risk & hurt his own body, although some QBs might disagree about the latter... Vick cruelly tortured and killed dogs while also funding an illegal gambling ring. That said, it's hard to see how Nike can justify keeping Merriman on as a spokesman while dumping Vick.
This a company that supports athletics, pushes hard work & training, and heavily markets their products to kids. If you go to their website you'll see that they run and sponsor football camps for kids all over the country. Of course, to get to that screen you must first click through a picture of Merriman. On their site they say "Train like the pros. Work your speed, increase muscular power, and develop more explosive impact." Again, this comes after you click through the Merriman commercial. I'm not reaching here. You can't have a proven steroid user endorsing your product on one page and say "Train like the pros" on the next! They might as well show Merriman with a syringe in his arm and a fistful of illegal performance enhancing drugs with a headline that says "Train like the pros". Shouldn't cheating and using steroids be a cardinal sin to a company like Nike?
To take it a step further, you'd think that a company trying to distance themselves from Vick and the stigma attached to him, would replace him with a guy that better embodies what that company claims to be all about. There's many great players in the NFL who are good guys that got to where they are by working hard and being natural and Nike picks Shawne Merriman to be a representative of their company? I like Nike, I wear Nikes... but I gotta say that they are revealing a whole lot about their character as a company by making a proven cheater and steroid user their face.
Anyway, here is the spot.