Kevin Sullivan wrote a guest post for Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports’ popular football blog, with a four-point PR plan for Michael Vick. Sullivan has plenty of experience as he’s done PR for the White House, NBC Universal/NBC Sports, and the Dallas Mavericks. Two of his four points really resonated with me:
• Be humble. You will be under intense scrutiny for the rest of your life. You will always be the guy who killed the dogs. You can’t shout back at the protesters. You can’t be defensive. Listen to Tony Dungy as a spiritual adviser. He will help you and if he sees proof that you are sincere, he might even vouch for you one day. Pass on the reality show pitches. No bling. And, oh yeah: Please stop talking about yourself in the third person.
• Be generous. Reinstate your charity foundation and get back to doing good in the community. Pledge to donate tickets to youth groups and speak with them after every home game about how you went from the Pro Bowl to a prison cell. The best way to turn your mistakes into a positive is to use the experience to help at-risk kids not make the same horrific choices. That can be your legacy.
It’s obviously going to be a huge challenge for Vick in his return to the NFL (or attempted return) as well as the NFL team that takes a chance on him. Showing that you are truly remorseful and sorry for what you’ve done on top of giving back to the community in a genuine manner could really go a long way. And as Sullivan said, America likes giving second chances and if he can go about it in the right way and help a team win with his play on the field, I can see Vick getting a second wind in his NFL career.