After recent dog fighting charges, the name Michael Vick went from famous to infamous.
To sports retailers, Vick-associated merchandise is no longer cause for showing off, but rather, grounds for removal from shelves.
Vick lead the Hokies to a BCS national championship appearance in 2000, was the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2001 by the Atlanta Falcons and became a Hokie legend and national sports celebrity. However, the scandal surrounding his name has recently caused customers of stores with Vick merchandise to complain.
Jason Jones, the owner of Tanglewood Mall's 4-Sports Memorabilia store in Roanoke, began taking down Vick merchandise the Thursday before he pleaded guilty on Aug. 22. By that Saturday, Jones had all the store's Vick memorabilia off the shelves.
"The main reason I did that was because of the negative comments by my customers and especially by my regular customers," said Jones. "I have a lot of older clientele and took the items down."
Jones said that at the time he would keep the items down until the verdict was released, and once Vick plead guilty, he felt he had done the right thing. He plans to keep the merchandise off the shelves until the NFL reinstates Vick.
"I feel like once they reinstate him, we can reinstate him to the store," Jones said. He felt sure that the NFL would do so. "Everybody deserves a second chance."
Despite standing by his convictions, Jones predicts that his store will suffer financially. "I will definitely lose money," he said. "Last Christmas, Vick's jersey was the number one youth jersey sold in the store. I probably sold six to one Vick jerseys compared to every other jersey."
Also, autographed items purchased during that Christmas totaled approximately $2,500 to $3,000. Jones estimates that his store will suffer losses between $10,000 and $12,000.
Local sports retailers such as High Peak Sportswear, however, do not carry individualized sports products such as Sports Illustrated Vick posters or autographed merchandise.
Emily Alberman, sales manager at High Peak, stated the store only carries about three jerseys with the number seven on them. "It hasn't been retired," she said. "We don't plan on taking them down."
Alberman said that sales for the No. 7 jerseys had not suffered since Vick's charges, but she also mentioned that the jerseys hadn't really been bought since last season, showing that High Peak's Vick merchandise sales, at least, had not been affected.
Steve Glosh, assistant director of the University Bookstore, also said that the store did not carry much Vick merchandise. The only Vick memorabilia in stock are remainders from when he played at Tech.
"We usually just carry merchandise related to current players," said Glosh. "We don't have anything to be concerned about regarding pulling Vick items."
Like other local sports retailers, the Tech Bookstore also generally carries few Michael Vick products. Jerry Diffell, manager of the Tech Bookstore, said that the store carried so few Vick items not because of the recent charges, but because they don't carry merchandise catered towards individual players.
Diffell recalled that there were still bobble heads that happen to have the number seven on them as well as a few Vick baseball cards remaining in the store, but as there were not many of these products, there was no need to hide them in the stockroom.
Vick was popular in 2000 and in 2001, when he was drafted to the Atlantic Falcons, Diffell explained, so the bookstore had a lot of his memorabilia then; however, the Tech Bookstore has had fewer Vick items in recent years.
"We carry some jerseys of current players, but don't cater to individual players," said Diffell. "We cater towards the university and Tech apparel overall."