There was a time, not long ago, when you couldn’t buy a Michael Vick jersey even if you wanted one. Today, retailers can’t get them on the shelves fast enough.CNBC’s Darren Rovell reported today that Philadelphia-area sporting goods stores are eager to get their hands on No. 7 Eagles jerseys — as are fans who have apparently forgiven the quarterback his dog-killing trespasses.
The NFL once took the rare step of banning Vick merchandise from their website after he was indicted and eventually sentenced to nearly two years in prison for his role in an illegal dogfighting ring. Those jerseys that did still exist were occasionally burned, as he became one of the most hated men in the country.
Now, sporting goods stores like Dick’s and Modell’s are placing large orders for his personalised swag. So how did we end up here? Simple. Now that Vick is back on top of his game–he’s currently third in the NFL in passer rating and the Eagles surprisingly find themselves atop the NFC East–it was only a matter of time before the fans returned, too.
Winning has a funny way of solving those pesky image problems. Before last fall, wearing your (no longer collectible) Vick Falcons shirt would have left you open to charges of supporting animal cruelty or just a really lousy sense of humour. Soon, you can proudly wear one to the game and be lost in a sea of Vick lovers. Provided the Eagles’ former, occasionally cherished hero Donovan McNabb doesn’t put a stop to all the fun when his new team comes calling this weekend. Impulse shoppers beware.
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