The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

Character Matters, Publicly

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No team would admit publicly that they put talent ahead of character. That would be like a politician calling the war on drugs unwinnable, or Haliburton announcing that a state of war is ideal for profitability. It may be true, but it would be public relations suicide.

Their sponsors would run for the hills, their family friendly image would melt, their stadiums would empty and their merchandise wouldn't sell. Bottom line is that NFL teams are entertainment companies built for maximum profitability. Therefore character matters, or at least giving off the impression that it does, matters.

However character alone isn't enough to make football franchises successful. They need to win games and perhaps even championships. That takes talented athletes, some of whom may lack the character the team exalts publicly.

Further complicating the calculus is that from a merchandising perspective, players with a less than pristine character often outsell their upstanding peers. Before he went to prison, Michael Vick had the best selling jersey in the NFL -- not Kurt Warner who faithfully wears his religion on his sleeve, or Tom Brady who captains the most dominant team this century. Merchandise sales represent a significant portion of a team's revenue, and so can't be ignored.

Ideally a team would have a roster of humanitarians who date celebrities, record platinum selling albums and win the Super Bowl every year. That situation is of course impossible, so finding the sweet spot within the dynamic matrix is the key to success.

By Emil Steiner  |  October 2, 2008; 1:26 PM ET  | Category:  Crime , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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