The media, Fox sports in specific, seem to be willing to take unwarranted gambles when it comes to hiring NFL analysts. Of all people, Fox sports just announced it will be hiring Michael Vick. In my opinion hiring O.J. Simpson would be way better. At least Simpsons has experience in the entertainment industry, Vick comes with nothing but controversy.
In April of 2007 Vick’s football career was interrupted for being involved in a dog fighting ring. I have no idea what Fox is thinking, but one thing I know for sure is that the public is not likely to forget that.
Already news of Vick’s hiring has generated a lot of discussions on social media even among non-sport fans. Whether this bold move works or blows off right on Fox’s face lies squarely in your hands. If you turn on Fox sports when the NFL season starts and those betting odds at are their best and you just cannot stomach Vick, you know exactly what to do.
To illustrate how hiring and assigning sportscasters seem to defy logic, consider for a moment what ESPN is doing with Robert Lee. He is being moved from Charlottesville where he used to broadcast ACC Network football games to Pittsburgh. This is because he shares a name with the white supremacists general, whose fame rose during the rallies in Charlottesville. Comparing this to Michael Vick case, you cannot help but wonder about what happened to lady justice.
The president of ESPN John Skipper tried to belittle the situation by claiming it was all just routine staff reshuffling. Meanwhile, Lee found an interesting twist to the gloomy situation by focusing on the fact that he could visit his family more frequently as Pittsburg was close to Albany, New York where they stay.
On the other hand, when talking to USA Today, the Fox Sports president had a hard time explaining the addition of Michael Vick to the Fox team. He claimed Vick had paid for his criminal activity and it was now the right time for him to serve the community.
To be fair on Fox though, if the NFL allowed Vick to play as a quarter back again after serving his sentence who are they not to hire him? Additionally, such a move by Fox helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of our court system in facilitating behavior change.
If Fox truly believes in Vick, the decision to add him to the payroll should be upheld irrespective of how the ongoing online petition turns out. Currently, the petition has been signed by three thousand individuals. The organizers are positive they will reach their set target of 75,000 soon enough.
One thing is for sure though, if Michael Vick’s tenure as a commentator is to be successful, he has to be really good. This is the only way people will forget his animal molestation scandal. A good scenario where this has worked is in the case of Marv Albert. By being extremely good at being an analyst he convinced the audience to look away from his glaring sex scandal.
Do not for a moment though think that Fox does not know what they are doing. A few years ago they hired two former base-ballers; Pete Rose associated with gambling and tax cheating and Alex Rodriguez banned from playing for using steroids. They both proved to be men of great insight and with great senses of humor. This was enough to make us forget about all the evils they had done, making them instant super stars.
Pete Roses’ success, however, was short lived. A woman in Ohio took him to court for having a relationship with him when she was still below sixteen years. Pete was thirty by then and his defense that he was not aware of the woman’s age was just too weak to be accepted by the court. Fox sports had to gradually let him off.
The strange thing with this habit by Fox news is that they make decisions to hire people like Vick in a marketplace where more sober analysts are readily available. Even stranger is the announcement from Fox and CBS that this year thirty-second ads in between the games will sell for between $650,000 and $700,000 despite a reduction in viewership.