Is Michael Vick back in the public’s good graces? Stories swirling during the summer harped on new endorsement deals he was scoring, including a reinstatement from Nike, the sports apparel powerhouse that had ditched him four years earlier during the height of his legal troubles.
But not so fast. Vick has clearly made some public reparations over the past two years with his strong play on the field and gentlemanly behavior off of it. But these things have a way of taking time. The latest public surveys from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research, a tracker of public perceptions of athletes and other celebrities, show that Vick still stands as the least liked player in the NFL. According to the poll, a full 60% of respondents claim the Eagles quarterback as a player they “dislike,” “dislike somewhat,” or “dislike a lot.”
The E-Poll-Nielsen results were limited to active NFL players that record a minimum 10% awareness level with the public. Why the continued hostility toward Vick? Nielsen Sports VP Stephen Master chalks it up to the scientific sample that mirrors the entire U.S. population, not just hardcore football fans. Casual fans that know Vick’s name primarily through his dog fighting legal circus naturally tend to focus on the negative. Women, for example, view Vick negatively at a 70% clip, compared to 50% for men.
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