The League

Sean McCann
Beat Writer

Sean McCann

Former Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for Gannett

Learn From Ray Lewis

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In April 2007, federal prosecutors asked a grand jury if Michael Vick should be indicted on charges connected with dogfighting. That group of citizens, whoever they were, decided to start the former Pro Bowl quarterback on a path that eventually led to a two-year prison term.

He's still on that path today, and only another jury -- the faceless and fickle marketing focus groups -- can release him from it.

Michael Vick will get another endorsement deal exactly when corporations decide that he can help them sell sneakers, or soda, or cars or candy. Obviously, somebody jumped the gun on Wednesday. Nike tested the ice even offering Vick free shoes. With a public anti-swoosh backlash, the ice cracked, and that's apparently where the current Eagle's marketability ends.

For now.

Take a lesson from Ray Lewis, who rebounded from a murder investigation to become the face and voice of Under Armour. Lewis worked hard to rehabilitate his public image, and Vick will never be the marketing workhorse he used to be. But based on all the green No. 7 jerseys walking around, he's still a force on the bottom line. Eventually, that's all that will matter.

By Sean McCann  |  October 2, 2009; 1:00 AM ET  | Category:  Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Nike - Just DON'T do it.

Don't use a dog killing, convicted felon to be a spokesperson for your company.

The pet industry is a 2 billion dollar a year business. Most of the ppl that spend that money hate Vick. There are far more dog lovers than there are Vick supporters. Millions of us don't live in Philly, and can't boycott Vick there, but we will rally to boycott him nationally if any sponsor tries to use him to sell anything. That is a promise.

Posted by: Georgia6 | October 1, 2009 11:58 PM

Comparing Lewis and Vick is off the mark. Yes, Lewis was caught up in a murder investigation, but the charge brought against him was obstruction of justice--not a trivial matter, but not the same as spending years bankrolling a dogfighting ring and personally killing dogs in a tortuous manner.

Also, it should be pointed out that Under Armour is a Baltimore-based company, so signing Lewis was a natural move.

Posted by: jhpurdy | October 2, 2009 7:59 AM

I think what Vick did is deplorable. I wish the NFL did not reinstate him. That said, Vick simply needs too lay low and when seen it should be in the football field or doing public service type projects. Over time (a couple of years) his perception in the public eye will change. The public's memory is short and their ability to forgive as well. The caveat is that Vick must offer the public positive images of him to replace the negative... Oh, and he should NEVER EVER complain about the sentence he got, the public reaction to it or how he came to do such a thing.

Basically this is what Ray Lewis so effectively did... Oh! And it does not hurt to be one of the best players that has played the game.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | October 2, 2009 8:25 AM

Ray Lewis was much better at hiding his (likely) crime and getting a sweetheart deal. Going from a murder charge to obstruction with no jail time is a dream. It seems odd that a possible murderer who destroyed evidence and tried to silence witnesses gets less heat then a man who abused dogs. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/news/2000/06/04/lewis_agreement/

Posted by: JHampshire | October 2, 2009 3:21 PM

I think that Iran would be willing to use him as a spokesman. Vick is as big a scumbag as the dictator there.

Posted by: goaway5 | October 2, 2009 9:27 PM

"Odd that a POSSIBLE murder [would be reviled more] than a man who ABUSED dogs"? Writer of this comment fails to apprehend significance of "possible" in our criminal justice system and also has peculiar definition of "abused." Vick KILLED and TORTURED dogs - that's way beyond abuse Hampshire.

Posted by: bradgelder | October 4, 2009 1:39 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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