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Activists also pressured companies that have endorsements deals with Vick to sever their ties. Nike said it would not release a fifth signature shoe, the Air Zoom Vick V, this summer. Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said the four shoe products and three shirts that currently bear Vick’s name will remain in stores.

The Humane Society of the United States responded to the NFL’s directive by renewing its call that the apparel company sever its relationship with Vick while the charges are pending.

Goodell’s order came down after lengthy discussions involving the league office, the Falcons and the NFL Players Association. Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA’s executive director, was one of the first to side with Goodell when he instituted the strong Personal Conduct Policy after a season of repeated misdeeds by players.

Disciplining players has turned out to be Goodell’s main focus since taking over last Sept. 1 for the retired Paul Tagliabue.

The indictment of Vick says about eight young dogs were put to death at his Surry County home after they were found not ready to fight. They were killed “by hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”

Purses for the fights ranged from hundreds of dollars to the thousands, and participants and spectators often placed side bets on the outcome, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Vick and three others charged with him could face up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines.