Strong PR could help Vick comeback

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick leaves after pleading guilty to a federal dogfighting charge.

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Steve Chiotakis: Former Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick is a free man. Sorta. Free as in out of prison and free to leave his home now after being locked up for helping to operate a dogfighting ring. But Vick has been an expensive athlete, and now some NFL teams think he's an expensive risk to give him a second chance. Rico Gagliano reports.


Rico Gagliano: This week, the NFL is expected to let Michael Vick return to the league once he serves a four-game suspension. But will any team want to hire a guy convicted of running a venture that involved dog-killing?

Kenneth Shropshire, a professor of sports business at the Wharton School, says possibly:.

Kenneth Shropshire: If he does play and he leads your team to great victories, it could be a compelling story of a great comeback. The negative is that protests could mount if he has not taken enough positive PR steps.

For example, animal charity work. But Shropshire says in sports, the best PR is winning. Just look at baseball players embroiled in steroid controversies.

Shropshire: The allegations against Mark McGuire, for example, came after his career was over, so there was not a chance to come back. Whereas you see other players that go back and have some success, that seems to help fans get beyond whatever's taken place.

Which is why if the NFL doesn't hire Vick, he'd be wise to sign with the UFL. The commissioner of that fledgling football league has strongly suggested he'd welcome Vick. Of course with just four teams thus far, the UFL has a lot less to lose.

In Los Angeles, I'm Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

About the author

Rico Gagliano is the host of Dinner Party Download.

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