Friday, June 1, 2007

Vick Loses Sponsor

AirTran Airways has ended its relationship with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been a pitchman for the airline since 2004. ''Michael's contract expired May 8, and we advised him then that we would not renew it,'' AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said Thursday. Hutcheson said Vick had appeared on five billboards and did radio commercials under a one-year contract, which had been renewed twice before.

There have been a string of publicity gaffes on Vick's part. His name has recently been dragged into a Virginia investigation of dog fighting. He was sued by a woman who claimed he gave her herpes, he made an obscene gesture to spectators while leaving the field after a game, and security screeners at Miami International Airport stopped him from boarding an AirTran flight in January with a water bottle that turned out to have a hidden compartment.

Especially stinging to AirTran was when Vick's publicist blamed the airline when the quarterback failed to arrive in Washington to speak before Congress. AirTran said Vick had ample opportunities to get to his destination on AirTran but chose not to.

Authorities say that informants have come forward that can directly link Vick with dogfighting at his Virginia property, according to the prosecutor in that case. The jury is still out on what the NFL Commissioner is going to do, if anything, or what plans the Atlanta Falcons have for their star quarterback. It is probable that Vick's other sponsors are gauging the worth of retaining his services.

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