The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

No Such Thing As Bad PR For UFL

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Say what you want about Michael Vick's transgressions. What he, and the men with whom he associated, did was reprehensible.

Was.

Michael Vick did his time. He has paid his debt to society, and we can only hope -- we can only hope -- he's learned from the last two years of his life. Whether Vick ends up back in the NFL is a decision that only NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can make. And it seems that at some point Vick will have to be reinstated into the league. Again, he's paid his debt to society, so you have to wonder how much more debt he has to pay to the league.

The real question for Vick's eventual reinstatement into the NFL is if any team can deal with the PR fallout that will undoubtedly follow a deal being done. No offense to the PETA people (perhaps some offense to the PETA people) but many of them are downright crazy. Okay, I'll admit that's terribly offensive, but I've spent the last five minutes trying to come up with another word to describe PETA's public persona during situations like this and I'm struggling to find one. I love animals as much as the next guy, and I'm sure many of the PETA people are lovely and just want to save as many animals as possible, but there is no debating the perception that PETA people care more about animals than they do about other human beings and will go to great lengths -- often great crazy lengths -- to show that. (Please send all letters to Emil Steiner, c/o The League at The Washington Post.)

Let me reiterate my point. I think what Vick did was deplorable. I think it was despicable. I'm happy he went to jail. But he's paid his debt to society. It's time to leave him alone. The PETA people will undoubtedly make Vick's life a lot worse when he eventually returns to the game. And NFL owners know this, which is why it will be very difficult for a team to be the first NFL franchise to sign him.

Enter the UFL. The fledgling league is the perfect rehabilitation program for Vick's career. The league can use Vick's notoriety to promote itself. For the UFL, there will be no such thing as bad press. If people come to protest your games, that will bring the local news coverage, which means people will learn about your product. All good things for a new business.

There is no doubt that Vick will still be able to play the game. The guy was a fantastic athlete, and with the addition of the Wildcat offense in his absence, Vick's value on the football field is quite possibly at its highest. If Vick doesn't land with an NFL team, it won't be because of football. If Vick doesn't sign with a team, you can thank/blame the Verizon-network like mob that follows him around from city to city. And as much as I hate what Vick did and think he's far from a player I'd want on my favorite team, it's not fair to continue to treat him like a criminal.

The NFL doesn't need the headache of angry protesters outside their stadiums and practice facilities. As terrible as it may sound, the UFL will welcome it.

By Dan Levy  |  July 14, 2009; 9:52 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Crime , Dan Levy , Michael Vick , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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