Card Companies Pulling Plug On Vick

The fallout from the allegations surrounding quarterback Michael Vick are making a significant impact on the trading card market, as Donruss Playoff, Topps and Upper Deck have each announced plans to remove Vick’s cards from their respective card sets still being produced for this season.

In addition to removing Vick from upcoming card sets, Upper Deck also announced Upper Deck Authenticated has pulled all Vick-signed memorabilia from its Items pulled include autographed footballs, helmets, jerseys and the company’s line of “Breaking Through” pieces.

“We appreciate the fact that Mr. Vick is innocent until proven guilty, but the allegations alone have resulted in an outpouring of very strong emotion within our organization and among the collecting community,” said Kerri Stockholm, director of marketing for Upper Deck. “We believe collectors will agree and support this decision as being the best course of action for our football business.”

“It was brought up to the staff by (Donruss Playoff owner) Ann Powell and there was no opposition to making the switch,” said Donruss Playoff marketing director Scott Prusha. “It’s a hobby based on kids and collectibility. We can choose who’s in the set, and for anyone whose read the allegations, it was a pretty easy decision.”

Because of the time involved in producing trading card sets, the absence of Vick’s cards from most 2007 products won’t be noticed for a few more months. Upper Deck’s first non-Vick set will be Ultimate Collection Football, scheduled to be released in October. The decision by Donruss to remove Vick from card sets won’t go into effect until the October release of its Gridiron Gear set. However, Topps said Vick has already been removed from its Topps Chrome set, scheduled for release in mid August.

Officials at Topps did not comment on their decision, other than announcing when the move would go into effect.

While the decision to remove Vick is logical from a business and marketing standpoint, it poses several logistical challenges for card makers. Because Vick is such a high-profile player, he is generally featured in the base set, parallel cards and a variety of inserts in each card release. Removing him from insert sets that are seeded at a specific rate based on the number of cards in the overall production run means companies have to replace what’s being removed with similar types of cards of different players.

“It’s not just as simple as making a quick change,” Prusha said. “We’ve got to find jerseys and signatures to replace him. Not only do we have to remove him, we’ve got to find someone to replace him who has comparable value as a high-end player. That complicates things.”

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