I've been trying to ignore the story about the football player arrested over dog fighting - not because there is any love lost between me and football (I didn't even know who Vick, much less the Falcons were before this), but because it upsets me too much.
My mother always says, on animal welfare issues, that you can't have your head in the sand and be in denial. Right now, AOL has a picture of a starving Pitbull on a chain as the headline so there is simply no way to avoid it. Of all the terrible, heartbreaking things in this article, I found this sentence to be the most appalling:
"After a meeting involving NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the Falcons, the league will let Vick keep playing, the Associated Press reported."
Wouldn't want anything to get in the way of weekend beer sales, I guess.
If I was a Falcon - or even a football - fan, you better believe I would be taking action of some sort so they knew my views, and following it up with a boycott if nothing was done.
Update: I may not be a fan, but I am a consumer. So I did a little searching, and sent off my letters of protest. Here is the HSUS link, with information on how you can email the NFL to demand that they suspend Vick. And here is Nike's website, where you can email them about their sponsorship of Vick.
Update 2: Wow, Nike's spambot already responded. Here's my original letter, borrowed somewhat from the HSUS:
As an animal lover, I had to write to you to demand that you please immediately stop sponsoring Michael Vick for his alleged involvement in dogfighting. Vick's recent indictment by a federal grand jury for crimes related to dogfighting is a certain sign that you must treat this matter seriously. Reports of extreme cruelty to dogs who didn't "perform" to the fighters' satisfaction only add to the disgrace Vick brings to Nike.
Dogfighting is cruel and criminal, and football players must be held accountable like anyone else. Please drop your contract with Vick immediately--anything less would reflect very badly on your judgment, and on the Nike brand.
I was disgusted to read in the paper today that he was going to be allowed to continue to play, and that Nike was continuing to support him. I intend to boycott all of his, and the NFL's sponsors until he is suspended from the NFL, and until the sponsors drop him.
And here's Nike's response:
Response (Caryn) - 07/19/2007 02:33 PM
Thank you for contacting Nike regarding Michael Vick.
Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen; therefore, we have not terminated our relationship. We have, however, made the decision to suspend the release of the Zoom Vick V and related marketing ommunications. Nike will continue to monitor the situation closely and has no further comment at this time.
We appreciate that you took the time to contact us and your feedback will be passed along to the proper department.
They give you the opportunity for more feedback, so I wrote back:
OK then. Plenty of people have had lucrative contracts terminated while waiting for "due process" to play out. Some even spend time in jail, without bail. I (and, I suspect, all other animal lovers) find your position unacceptable, and will simply vote with our feet (not Nike-wearing feet, I might add). What that means is we'll terminate our relationship with you immediately. That's not due process - that's called the market. Thank you Caryn.
And here's Nike's next response (btw, I sent that follow-up by hitting "reply" and typing into a specific area that was designated for my comments):
Your e-mail was submitted to an Internet address that cannot be processed.
Oh wow. Sometimes people at big corporations can be so stupid, PR-wise. Like they are so powerful and we are all clueless drones who worship their brand and will be brainwashed by television commercials into forgetting how much they suck. Newsflash: big mistake to piss off animal advocates, Nike.
So - it looks like the final message is boycott Nike, and all of the NFL sponsors! (And I never slip up. You know I still have not set foot in Target.)