Nike signed Vick in 2001, when he was an NFL rookie, and released several versions of Vick signature shoes. But it terminated its relationship with Vick in 2007 after the quarterback pleaded guilty to the dogfighting charge. Vick has since returned to the NFL -- on Sunday he played in his first regular-season game since 2006 -- and like many pro athletes he apparently still gets his shoes from Nike. But the company claims it has not entered into a new endorsement agreement with Vick.
"Nike does not have a contractual relationship with Michael Vick," Nike spokesman Kejuan Wilkins said in a statement released to CNBC on Thursday morning. "We have agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike."
The confusion stemmed from comments made Wednesday from the Vick camp. Michael Principe, who heads the New York-based agency that represents Vick in endorsement deals, reportedly announced during a panel discussion at the Sports Sponsorship Symposium that Vick was back with Nike. And Vick's agent, Joel Segal, offered a quote that seemed to back that up.
"Mike has a long-standing, great relationship with Nike, and he looks forward to continuing that relationship," Segal told the Associated Press.
Upon further examination, that quote doesn't necessarily indicate that Vick and Nike have entered back into any kind of endorsement partnership (though it does indicate some hope that they might). So it's entirely possible that somebody in Vick's camp (Principe, Segal or somebody else) said something they shouldn't have said and exaggerated the facts of a renewed relationship that may not extend beyond the supplying of product.
It's also possible that Vick and Nike have had talks about a new deal and something has happened or is happening to skew or end those discussions. More on this later as it develops.