Timing Not Right For Comeback
Let me premise this article by saying that Michael Vick has paid his debt to society and has been conditionally reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
I agree that he should be granted another chance to play in the National Football League.
But having worked in the corporate world for more than a quarter-century, I understand why his phone hasn't rung with an offer.
The National Football League is an entity with 32 franchises in 31 markets. Each team seeks out to procure their own financial survival through ticket sales, merchandising and oodles of dollars from advertisers.
Teams also receive a shared piece of the league's broadcasting and cable revenues. That, along with banking relationships that include lines of credit and sweetheart loans, is how NFL teams 'make ends meet'.
In a down economy, any interruption of these streams could prove disastrous.
If you are an NFL owner and a decision (such as signing Michael Vick) would reduce or terminate any of these vital revenue streams, you would chose not to make that decision.
This has been misconstrued as a blanket 'blacklisting' of Michael Vick by the likes of Jesse Jackson. He is a 20th century thinker in a 21st century world.
Racism has taken a backseat to corporatism. His gig is over. The American white male may be the face of that corporatism, but he is no longer calling the shots.
The American white male is beholden to multinational corporations who finance the NFL through the advertising and banking realms. NFL owners have to answer to advertisers and financiers. A major decsion such as signing a Michael Vick has to be researched thoroughly to assure that it does not hurt the franchise financially.
It's not a black and white world any more. Europeans, Asians, Canadians, Australians and South Americans all have as much say in the American economy as Americans do.
The objective is profit. Do something to cut into that profit and you will get stung. Teams are reluctant to sign Vick because they fear losing sponsors and they fear negative repercussions upon their brands that will lead to operating losses.
No team is willing to make that sacrifice. Many do not have a choice.
Jesse Jackson apparently does not understand this.
Signing Michael Vick will only happen if all interested parties are on board. At this point in time, they are not. It's not like the Jackie Robinson scenario where the organization was willing to take a hit in order to move forward.
In all due respect to Rev. Jackson, social statements these days are only made in movies and books. Reality works differently. Altruism is a thing of the past.
It has nothing to do with courage. In the intertwined global economic sphere, corporations must tread lightly. They must not tempt fate.
At this point in time, Michael Vick is going to have to wait for his second chance. It has nothing to do with being blackballed. It has nothing to do with the collusion of owners. It has nothing to do with doing the right thing and being altruistic.
It has everything to do with money. It has everything to do with multinational corporations vetoing an initative that may cost them money.
Right now, Michael Vick will cost them money. And money is the name of the game.
John Fennelly is the founder / publisher of blogNYG.com - the fastest-growing fan-based blog in New York sports