This is a bad economy to be trifling with the support of fans and sponsors with conservative, anti-dog-killing values, and one could argue that Vick’s deteriorated acumen at quarterback wouldn’t be enough to offer a team to offset the ensuing PR meltdown from its own supporters. He could still get picked up, but it won’t be until later in the summer or early fall, when season ticket forms and sponsorship checks have already been turned in. But I’m wandering off-topic.
I wrote yesterday that Vick’s unusual label as The Dog Killer among fans would be near-impossible to shake. Oh sure, the networks producing the games will do everything to make you try. You’ll hear about how Vick is ready to “move on” and “rebuild his life” and maybe we’ll watch some semi-sincere mea culpa from Vick on ESPN over soft piano music. And we’ll watch and think Yeah, Mike. We get it. You’re sorry. If I had pissed away over $100 million the way you did, I’d be sorry, too. If you only had some fresh-faced children and an incredibly gullible wife that the cameras could pan to every 45 seconds. That worked like a charm for Kobe Bryant.
Bengals owner Mike Brown enjoys giving people second chances, although he does seem to enjoy picking up the occasional discarded player with “character issues” and the like (see “Benson, Cedric,” and the first day of this year’s draft). He seems like the perfect owner to get into The Dog Killing quarterback business. Brown knows what those sorts of players know, that if you want to be in the NFL, it’s Bengals or bust. Anybody can fuck up eight ways to Sunday, but if you’ve got game, just wait by the phone, because Mike Brown will be calling. Probably collect, too. Cheap bastard.
Two reasons why the Bengals won’t go after Vick (yeah, I lied. Shoot me). One, obviously, is Palmer. The Bengals have a franchise quarterback in place for the next six years, meaning that either Vick would be trading doses of pepper spray with Benson in the backfield or changing the name on the back of his jersey to SIETE and lining up in the slot across from Chad Whatshisname, which, come to think, wouldn’t be such a horrible PR makeover at all.
But there is another reason, and this would be more applicable to other teams in the running for whatever service Vick intends to offer another team. And that’s the obvious PR problem–you can’t reward the fans for the leap of faith it would take for them to root for Michael Vick again. I presume that you, like me, were in awe and appreciation of the highlight reel scrambles the guy would churn out for the Falcons each week. I loved that element of his game, but you know damn well that I avoided his ass in fantasy football like the plague.
If Vick could lead his new team to the Super Bowl, The Dog Killer would be reinvented as A Guy That Won The Dogfight Of His Life or some other sappy shit like that. And it would take at least that to get the dog-killing taste out of everyone’s mouth. And by everyone, I mean “white people,” because they seem to be the only ones hung up on this whole thing. Get over yourselves, white people.
But the Bengals aren’t going to a Super Bowl any sooner than Drew’s posing for Playgirl or Jesus returning to earth to tell everyone what big assholes they’ve been. It’s not happening. But what about the rest of the league? How much better can Mike Vick make your team?
Of course, the Bengals will probably sign him next week now. Damn you, Mike Brown.