The Cycle

Vick plea deal - ‘win-win’ PR strategy?

Was Michael Vick’s plea a savvy PR move for the NFL quarterback? I asked Mike Paul, president/senior counselor MGP & Associates PR.

“I think it’s a win-win situation for him,” says Paul. A lengthy court battle would have been worse, and the government was likely to win, he adds.

But won’t the public think he got off easy with a plea bargain?

“Yes and no,” Paul says. “If he were my client I would explain what someone who is involved with dogfighting usually gets for something like this…We treat our stars differently, we’re more harsh…because they’re our heroes.”

But don’t hold your breath for Vick to return to the NFL after the jail sentence.

“How many people have come back to play two years later?” Paul notes. “I don’t think that statistic is very high.”

But there’s a way for Vick to win back some points: when the official announcement is made, he should address everyone — the NFL, the Falcons, the fans, sponsors, the animal rights activists.

“If they’re not thinking about all those different audiences,” he warns. “And they may not - because they’re thinking legal first. They’re going to have another missed opportunity.”

So what else should Vick do now?

“He can start a blog,” Paul suggests. “He can talk about all the things he’s done wrong.” And stop apologizing to family members.

“Yes, I’m sure that you’re sorry you hurt your mom,” he says. “But guess what? You have much further responsibilities…and it starts with… the fans that you hurt, who pay money to see you in the stands.”

Reaching out to animal rights groups would be a good step, but don’t expect them to befriend Vick so soon, he adds.

Sitrick and Company is said to be repping Vick, but the agency declined comment when I called.

PRWeek’s Vick coverage is here and here.

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