Resurrecting the Brand of Michael Vick
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Resurrecting the Brand of Michael Vick
Resurrecting the Brand of Michael VickBy Isaac Jamison and Cody HoneaVicks early yearsBorn on June 26, 1980 in Newport News, VirginiaMother, Brenda Vick, Father, Michael Boddie were teenagers when he was born. The family struggled, lived in the Ridley Circle Homes housing project. The neighborhood was known for its poverty, crime, and violence.Kids in the neighborhood(including Vick) saw sports as a way to make it out of that environment.
Vicks early yearsMichael Vick garnered attention in his neighborhood for his speed. He used his physical gifts to play football.He played for Tommy Reamon at Warwick High School. Coach Reamon became Vicks mentor and a family advisor. As Vick began to star on the football field, Reamon began to help him prepare for the SATs so he could qualify for college. Vick became a sought after recruit, wanted by colleges all over the country and narrowed his choices to Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
Vicks early yearsCoach Reamon steered Vick towards Virginia Tech because it was close to home and their coach Frank Beamer promised to look after and develop Michael Vick. The Virginia Tech Hokies were known as an average college football program. Things changed quickly when Vick chose to play there. In his first game as a redshirt freshman, he scored 3 rushing touchdowns and the last one became a highlight on ESPN SportsCenter. It also injured his ankle.
Vicks early yearsVicks freshman season was full of accolades. He won an ESPY for the nations top college player. He won the first ever Archie Griffin Award as colleges most valuable player. He finished 3rd for the Heisman, the sports top award. That year he led the Hokies to an 11-0 record and a spot in the BCS National championship game versus the Florida State Seminoles.
Vicks early yearsAlthough his team lost, Vick shined in the game and opened the eyes of NFL scouts. The next season Virginia Tech had high expectations as Vick began his sophomore season.Injuries caused Vick to miss one game and parts of two others which hindered the season which ended with a victory in the less prestigious Gator Bowl. Vick earned MVP honors in the game.After the season, Vick decided to turn pro citing his family and the fact that they still lived in the Ridley Circle Homes.Early pro career
The Atlanta Falcons selected Michael Vick with the 1st overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.With his first contract and endorsement money, he purchase a brand new home for his mother.During his first 6 seasons in the NFL Vick quickly became the face of pro football. He was voted to the pro bowl 3 times including his rookie season3 time all pro team selectionSet multiple quarterback rushing recordsLed the Falcons to an history victory over the Packers in Lambeau field his 2nd seasonEarly pro career
As Vicks popularity grew, so did his endorsements. He was routinely at or near the top in jersey sales.Featured on the cover of Madden NFL 2004.Lucrative endorsement deal and ad push from NikeOther endorsements included Coca-Cola, Air Tran, Kraft, and PoweradeIn 2004 the Falcons signed Vick to a 10 year $130 million dollar contract. The richest in NFL history at the time.Early pro careerDespite all his success, Vick still faced criticism due to rumors of his lack of work ethic. In April of 2006, he settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed he knowingly gave her herpes. After a tough loss where Vicks teammates let him down by dropping passes, he was booed by Falcon fans as he left the field. He responded by flipping the fans off with both fingers.In January of 2007 Vick was stopped by airport security and was told to give them a bottle which they claimed smelled like marijuana and had a hidden compartment. Later Vick was cleared as nothing was found.Dog Fight
In April of 2007 details of Michael Vicks involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring began to surface.Local and federal authorities began to investigate a property owned by Vick. Disturbing evidence uncovered at the now infamous Bad Newz kennels ran by Vick.Authorities seized over 70 dogs some showing signs of injury.
Dog FightMichael Vick initially denied any involvement in the dog fighting ring and brashly claimed his name would be cleared. After the initial investigation into the property, two associates of Vick were arrested.Both men agreed to testify against Vick for reduced sentences.As he could no longer deny his involvement and facing a losing court battle, Vick decided to come clean about his role in the illegal enterprise.Dog Fight
Vick held a press conference where he admitted guilt, denounced dogfighting, and apologized stating he would report to jail even before sentencing. Prosecutors pushed for harsher sentencing for Vick, stating he lied initially about his involvement.In December of 2007 Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison. He served his time at Leavenworth, KS.After serving 23 months, he was released in July of 2007. Vick was allowed to serve his last 60 in home confinement.Dog FightAfter the indictments, Michael Vicks sponsors fled.The details of the dog fighting ring were so shocking that even Nike who initially said they would stand by Vick, pulled its endorsement deal. Vick not only lost all of his endorsements, the Atlanta Falcons, who gave Vick the richest of NFL contracts, filed paperwork to recoup over $37 million dollars in bonuses the team paid to him.
Vick after prisonVick not only had image issues, he had financial troubles as well. Vick filed Bankruptcy in July of 2008 citing creditors that included the Falcons, a sports agency firm, and the Royal Bank of Canada where had taken a $2.5 million loan. He reached agreements with each of his creditors through arbitrations and the courts but still was unemployed and had not been reinstated by the NFL.Vick knew that unless his image was repaired, getting back in the NFL and ultimately to endorsements was going to be impossible. He hired the French/West Vaughan pr firm to help repair his image. The 85 member firm was retained to handle non-football public relations and counsel Vick on his personal brand.Vick after prisonOnce released, Vick knew he had to immediately work to repair his image. He began to reach out to animals rights groups as well as continuing to denounce dog fighting. He granted interviews to multiple news outlets and answered questions in the face of harsh backlash for his past crimes against dogs.Whether or not Vick should be forgiven and given a second chance became a major debate not only in sports but in society.Many refused to accept his apologies or his new activist stance and felt he should still be in jail. Others felt that he paid his debt to society, had emerged a changed man and should be given a second chance.Michael Vick at present
Shortly after his release, NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell reinstated Michael Vick opening the door for him to return to football.Many believed no teams would want to sign him because they didnt want to deal with the protests that would surely follow.The Eagles signed Vick to a 1 year contract in August of 2009 for a little over $1 million.
Michael Vick at presentVick backed up Eagles starter Donovan McNabb and only played in certain situations and some games didnt play at all. The next year the Eagles traded McNabb before the 2010 season and handed the team to Kevin Kolb and Vick remained a backupKolb was injured in the first game and Vick came in and played so well, he took the starting job from Kolb. He went on to have the best season of his career and was once again named to the pro bowl and also won the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year award.Michael Vick at presentFollowing the season, the Eagles traded Kolb and designated Michael Vick as their franchise player. They then signed him to a 6 year $100 million deal. He became the first player in NFL history to sign two $100 million deals.Nike re-signed Vick as an endorser as well as Unequal Technologies a company that makes protective football gear.