Are EA Sports marketing employees allowed to vote for the Madden NFL 12 cover? Because a few are probably uncomfortable at the thought of Michael Vick adorning the cover of the world’s most popular football game.
For the second straight year, EA Sports is allowing fans to vote for the cover athlete. Michael Vick has made the semifinals of the vote after his football rebirth in Philadelphia. A large number of football fans have forgiven Vick for his involvement in dog fighting but many animal activists haven’t.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is lobbying EA Sports to remove Vick from the voting process. EA Sports President Peter Moore, speaking at the World Congress of Sports in Miami, said Vick has served his time. Moore admitted that was his personal opinion. Since he’s the president of the publisher releasing the game, however, it holds a significant amount of weight.
EA Sports seems to be following the cues from its fan base here. Vick is a popular football player who displayed some highlight reel moments during the 2010-11 season. Getting this far in the voting shows that thousands of football fans have forgiven his transgressions.
EA Sports’ support of Vick is in stark contrast to its support of golfer Tiger Woods, whose career fell apart after his extramarital affairs became tabloid fodder. Public opinion isn’t as favorable to Woods right now.
EA Sports has released statements defending Woods but this year the golfer doesn’t appear on the cover of his own game. Basketball star Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors dropped that case when his accuser wouldn’t testify. He’s completely rebuilt his public persona, even serving as cover athlete for NBA 2K10.
Vick hasn’t won the fan voting yet. The other three semifinalists are Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As the QB of the defending Super Bowl champs, Rodgers is the odds-on favorite. The current round of voting lasts until April 18, 2011 at the ESPN Sports Nation site. The overall voting ends April 26, 2011.