Wednesday whys: Vick has his options

First, thanks to all who wished me well on my climb up Mt. Whitney on Monday. We started our climb wearing headlamps at 3:35 a.m. and were able to summit the 14,600-foot peak by 10 a.m. before heading down – through a couple of hailstorms – and finishing in the afternoon. It was an awesome experience.

Now, on to Wednesday whys…

Why is Michael Vick still in a holding pattern with the NFL following his release from home confinement?

Commissioner Roger Goodell will rule on Vick soon and has no reason to be hasty. The fact that Vick now has his freedom is a factor in a pending ruling, but certainly not anything that makes a ruling necessary or imminent. Vick has now paid his debt through the legal system; he must now deal with his preferred employer and the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Goodell has said he wants to see “true remorse” from Vick. There appear to be no specific guidelines for the display of such remorse, but like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once famously said about pornography, Goodell will probably know it when he sees it.

Vick would appear to have another option if his re-entry into the NFL is barred. The United Football League is open to him playing there, which would give the league – and the Versus network – some name-brand recognition that would carry it through its first season. The league has some brands as coaches – Denny Green and Jim Fassel among them – and will have a smattering of middling names that NFL fans might know (J.P. Losman), but Vick would create another dimension as long as two things happen: (1) the UFL and Vick are able to agree to contract terms within the parameters the upstart league is establishing, and (2) the league is prepared to deal with the negative publicity and potential protests that will come along with his signing. On the latter, my sense is that the UFL will take the publicity, good or bad.

Meanwhile, as to the NFL, Vick will cool his heels for a while and hopefully is in the midst of a plan to show “true remorse” to the commissioner.

Why is singer Marc Anthony coming on board as a minority owner of the Dolphins?

The new majority owner of the Dolphins, Stephen Ross, has certainly shown his hand in a marketing strategy that is tried and true – use the appeal of celebrity to attract attention to the product.

First, Ross entered into a partnership with Jimmy Buffett on a short-term branding opportunity – Land Shark Stadium – for the facility. Buffett will certainly have some sort of role with the franchise, including concerts. Then Ross brought in Emilio and Gloria Estefan as minority owners, and now Anthony (married to Jennifer Lopez, which will help as well).

Ross, who purchased the bulk of the franchise from the classy Wayne Huizenga earlier this year, appears to have an eye toward creating a “buzz” – that elusive concept that brings sizzle to a franchise – in building on the Dolphins’ successful on-field exploits last season.

Ross has a plan for the Dolphins and an attraction to celebrity. Although the infusion of name-brand investors and performers will not help the team win games, it may help bring awareness, attention and even revenue to the Dolphins in a city with plenty of things to do and places to spend disposable income. Ross promises even more well-known investors and/or partners.

At the least, the Dolphins’ ownership will lead the league in record sales.

Why are so few deals at the top of the draft done with training camps opening this weekend?

Team negotiators and agents are still a bit hesitant to dip their toes in the water until the market sets in a little more. In the first round, the Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez deals may have some relevance for the top of the round – although teams will dismiss most of the results due to the “quarterback premium” – but there hasn’t been a pace set for the middle or lower parts of the round yet.

Things will pick up significantly in the coming days. Unlike free agency, these players can only sign with one team. And they all will.

Why is Brett Favre still making the Vikings wait for his decision?

Because he can.

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