Nike rejects call to end affiliation with Vick

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, sent a letter to Nike president and CEO Mark Parker on Tuesday asking the company to terminate its "commercial association" with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been linked to alleged dogfighting.

Pacelle wrote that the HSUS "... knows that Nike has high standards for its spokespersons, and urges Nike to terminate its relationship with Vick as soon as is feasible. ... We trust Nike does not want to be associated with any celebrity who is linked to this odious form of animal cruelty."

Vick has not been charged, but parallel state and federal investigations into dogfighting are ongoing following the April 25 seizure of 66 dogs on the Surry County, Va., property he owns.

Nike is the world's largest supplier of sportswear and has used Vick in ads since he entered the league in 2001. He was featured in the Michael Vick Experience commercials and has his own shoe, the Nike Zoom Vick, selling for $115.

Nike, through a spokesperson, acknowledged receipt of the Humane Society's letter.

"There is no change in the status of the agreement between Nike and football player Michael Vick" wrote Erica Pedreguera, Nike's public- relations manager, in an e-mail sent to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Nike will continue to monitor the situation, but has nothing further to say at this time."

Pacelle noted in his letter that AirTran Airways decided not to renew its contract with Vick.

n Appeals court upholds stadium suit rejection: An antitrust suit claiming officials and taxpayers were pushed into financing a new stadium to keep the Bengals in Cincinnati was filed after time had run out, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel unanimously agreed with a federal district judge who dismissed the suit filed by Hamilton County against the Bengals and the NFL because it was not filed within a four-year statute of limitations.

County voters approved a half-cent sales tax hike in 1996 for the $450 million Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in 2000. A 30-year lease was signed in 1997. The antitrust lawsuit was filed in 2003.

n Eagles TE retires after 13-year career: Eagles tight end and long snapper Mike Bartrum retired on Tuesday, ending a 13-year career that included appearances in the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

The 36-year-old Bartrum spent the last seven years of his career with the Eagles after signing with them as a free agent in 2000.

n Dolphins greeted with enthusiasm in London: Even the casual American sports fan expects his British counterpart to care about David Beckham. But care about David Martin?

"They know in detail about Trent Green and were interested in David Martin."

Cameron fielded questions about the free agent tight end Tuesday during the first day of a three-day hopscotch among London's media and NFL fans to promote the Dolphins' Oct. 28 game against the New York Giants.