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Michael Vick’s Next Mistake: His Media Plan

Tuesday, 11 Aug 2009 | 8:57 AM ET
Michael Vick

Given the baggage he comes with, Michael Vick’s public relations strategy is as important as his skill on the field.

I obviously haven’t seen how the years out of the game have affected the spiral on his ball, but whoever is handling his comeback from a media standpoint, if there is anyone who is even doing that, is failing miserably.

This morning, Vick’s mentor, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, told ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” that he thinks an NFL team would sign Vick this week.

Really?

Vick hasn’t even surfaced for one big public apology yet – the one he gave before prison time doesn’t count - and the truth is that no team will sign him until that happens.

That might mean Vick can only be with a team after Sunday night because Vick has stupidly chosen to grant his exclusive rights to his comeback story to James Brown for “60 Minutes.”

In fact, he promised such exclusivity that Vick’s meeting with kids in Atlanta last week wasn’t allowed to be covered by anyone other than CBS, who reportedly brought a three-person crew to the event.

I understand the whole exclusivity thing. I’m in the media business myself. But Vick is one guy who should be totally inclusive.

Why? Because, the best strategy for Vick is to speak with and appease all his critics and to show them that he is really genuine. By shutting off access, and directing everyone to Sunday’s broadcast, he is actually creating more work for him and the team that might sign him.

The only thing I can think of is that his handlers think it's best if Vick's story could first come out in a nice little package with a bow on top so as to take some pressure off him when he has to do his first press conference. But anyone in the business knows that if an athlete has trouble talking about his past, and isn't genuine, its going to look ugly no matter what forum it's said in. Just look at A-Rod.

Vick was released from prison 82 days ago. That’s 82 wasted days. If he had the right strategy and got himself out there, I truly believe that there’s a possibility he could be with a team right now.

But no matter what Tony Dungy tells insiders about Vick, no team can sign him until they gauge the reaction from the first time he opens his mouth. In the end, Vick’s crime might not be his greatest enemy. His greatest enemy might be his own media plan.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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