JUNE 2011 UPDATE: “The Michael Vick Project” went off the air last year after one season. On June 26, 2011, Vick received the Subway Sportsman of the Year Award at the BET Awards. Although Subway sponsored Vick’s reality show for its duration, a company representative said it was not involved in deciding who won the sportsman award. Due to the large amount of complaints the company has received, the rep said Subway will probably not sponsor the award again next year.
Because of the deluge of emails and phone calls they received protesting their sponsorship of the 10-episode BET reality series “The Michael Vick Project,” 14 major companies have pulled their ads thus far.
The first companies to stop sponsoring the show were Nivea, Pizza Hut, Denny’s Restaurants and L’Oreal. As of February 14, the following companies have also asked BET to remove their ads: Bally’s; Applebee’s; TurboTax; Nationwide Insurance; Dave and Buster’s; Walden University; Maybelline; 5-Hour Energy; Progressive Insurance; and Avon.
Spokespersons from several of these companies said the decision was made due to the huge volume of emails and phone calls complaining about their involvement with the show.
Vick, a football player for the Atlanta Falcons at the time, was convicted of illegal dog fighting in 2007 and spent 18 months in prison. After filing for bankruptcy in 2008, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
According to the federal indictment, dogs at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels were killed if they lost fights or performed poorly in test matches. Although he denied any direct involvement in the killing of the dogs, the indictment describes an incident in which Vick and two co-horts killed eight Pit Bulls by methods “including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”
“If people want to idolize this sadistic killer, cheer for him from the stands and wear his jersey, they can do it,” writes Andrew Kirschner, who started the Facebook group “People Opposed to the Michael Vick Reality Show,” which currently has more than 16,300 members.
“We draw the line with a reality show that allows him to profit from his felonies. Let us send a clear message — if you brutalize helpless animals, you will not be accepted back into society and return to fame and wealth without opposition. Our silence allows the opposite message to be sent. Complacency breeds acceptance. Acceptance leads to continued violence against animals. We do not have to accept things as they are and we will not.”
If you don’t think Vick should be profiting from his felonies, make your voice heard. Send emails to and boycott the products and services of the following companies that continue to sponsor his show.
Overture Films: Write to Starz LLC, 8900 Liberty Circle, Englewood, CO 80112 (the website states that the company does not read email)