Saturday, July 21, 2007

SICK OF VICK


I wish I had a penny for each time radio, TV, the internet and all major print publications have mentioned this name in the last three days – Michael Vick.

What a quandary that Vick and the Falcons find themselves in. First of course there is Vick – the player, the man, the thug in the making who had no idea that dog fights were taking place at his home in Virginia. Yeah right, and his brother Marcus was auditioning for STOMP when he “accidentally” tried to put a fire out on Elvis Dumervil’s leg in the 2006 Gator Bowl.

The lies, cunning deceit and spin doctoring has hardly even begun for Vick and his yet to be named merry band of attorneys which will surely be on par with the Johnny Cochran crew that defended O.J. Simpson. The intent of course will be to create reasonable doubt.

Until the case is tried, and that likely won’t happen during the 2007 NFL season, the court of public opinion will be unmerciful with Vick. Yet the talented quarterback claims to be ready to focus on football and play this season. And if that happens, you and I will be sick to death of hearing the name of Michael Vick, assuming of course you aren’t already.

One has to wonder if Vick will get that chance to play given the heavy fisted rule of Roger Goodell. Goodell is in a tough spot. If you believe that he needs to be consistent in the way he punishes the NFL repeat offenders, then clearly Vick is looking at a suspension.

Recently on ESPN, reporter Len Pasquerelli who lives in the Atlanta area was asked if he thought that Vick would be suspended. Pasquerelli said no. He believes that Goodell would not rule on Vick until the trial was completed because Vick is not a repeat offender.

Really?

What about the Ron Mexico incident? What about the water bottle incident at the airport? What about Vick flashing that disparaging digit at the hometown fans? Were those just random acts of kindness there Len?

But back to Goodell, his ruling on Vick is a bit more complicated because it clearly will have a huge affect on the Atlanta Falcons season and that affects the entire league. To borrow from Brian Billick, the dynamics change. Vick was the face of the Falcons. He was the marketing lever for Arthur Blank’s team and one of the marquee players featured in the league’s promotional campaigns. That has come to a screeching halt. Vick is not even the featured player on the Falcons’ official website. In fact you have to dig a bit to find him now.

Clearly Blank is in a tough spot. The due process available to Vick in a way ties Blank’s hands. Is there any doubt that he would like to suspend Vick himself for the season? But then he’d alienate the players’ union and that sweetheart of a guy Gene Upshaw.

Blank’s Home Depot business could also suffer and pressure from shareholders could influence Blank’s thinking. What if Lowe’s suddenly becomes the home improvement superstore of choice instead of Home Depot? Might picketers begin to harass Home Depot customers? It doesn’t take an overactive imagination to envision P.E.T.A. pacing back and forth at Home Depots across the country.

Perhaps Gene Upshaw would support a Vick suspension but again, the due process has to unfold or Upshaw’s constituents might get a little edgy and that could jeopardize his cushy little job that includes selling out his former contemporaries, i.e. the retired players.

At the end of the day, Vick needs to be punished but the legal due process won’t be swift enough for Goodell and the league. They will have to take action because it could cost them money and that almost always will get the attention of the league and the league owners. (See NFL Europe)

What if the auto makers pull back on advertising? How can the networks air compelling and heartfelt ads for the United Way and then return to a game with Vick front and center?

The NFL has too much going for it to allow one player’s appalling cruelty to animals to cost them. If Vick had any class, he’d volunteer to sit out the season for the benefit of fans everywhere and his teammates who will be saddled with the incessant media coverage of Vick and the accompanying collateral damage.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for Vick to do the right thing. He has 6 million reasons influencing his desire to play in ’07.

Let’s hope he doesn’t get the chance.

4 comments :

Harryos29 said...

Tony, 7/21
Having just returned from a wonderful vacation at Emerald Isle, NC, I am returning looking fwd to hearing about the NFL, specifically my Baltimore Ravens. Seeing VICKs name all over the place makes me SICK! I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt: However, the early evidence in this case looks like a Slam dunk! Commissioner Goodell cannot pull an Ostrich act, similar to Bud Selig on the Barry Bonds issue. Goodell must act; Gene Upshaw be damned.
This is just my opinion and as my hero Dennis Miller always says, I could be wrong !
Harry O29
Sykesville, Md

Anonymous said...

Tony, you are so out of touch. Arthur Blank, although he is a co-founder of The Home Depot, has no current role with the company. He's not in management, nor is he on the Board of Directors.

To try and link this disgraceful situation and allegations to the thousands of Home Depot associates is WRONG. To hold us accountable for these alleged actions is unrealistic. You won't hurt Arthur Blank, the Falcons, Michael Vick or the NFL by doing so. You'll only impact the 330,000 associates of The Home Depot.

Now, that's unfair!

Tony Lombardi said...

Anonymous,

I know that Blank hasn't been active in Home Depot for quite a while but his ties to Home Depot are very well known and I assumed that he is still invested heavily in the company. If I'm mistaken on that, please accept my apologies.

I didn't try and link the employees of Home Depot to this "disgraceful situation" nor have I insinuated that you should be held accountable. If that is your interpretation, that was not my intent and again please accept my apologies.

Harryos29 said...

July 30th 5:30 pm.
Espn is reporting that one of Vicks co-conspirators..has turned on him..and NAILED VICK in court today..by stating under oath...that vick was present ..when they wetted down one of the dogs before Electrocution...he said that Vick gave the Order to kill the dog.... more was said too..looks like Vick is in Serious trouble... He may want to change his Plea.... to "GUILTY"... the Falcons must be hating themselfs for trading Matt Schaub......
Sad News...Bill Walsh, 75 the great 49ers coach passed away today...he was a great one...
HARRYO29 Sykesville, Md