Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mike Vick and the Basis For Strategy

Dog Fighting The NFL and Frameworks

Combining my two loves. NFL Football and my current Monday Night Strategic Management Class.

In a continent that has the most big time sports choices, the NFL is #1. Roger Goodell was handed the keys to the Kingdom and he intends not to see anything erode.

In the next little while Goodell has to face the problem of dealing with ex convict Michael Vick. An individual who is as troubled as he is gifted. The question has been lingering around for a while: what to do with Mr. Vick now that he has paid his debt to society and served his two year prison term. All individuals have the right to earn an living.

Goodell is the commissioner of the entity known as the National Football League. His duty is to preserve and advance the popularity, relevance and profitability of the league as a whole.

Threats and Opportunities to the Industry. The economy affects most industries. Specially an entertainment driven one. Fortunately for the NFL. since it's appeal goes beyond the local communities , TV revenues are far more significant to the bottom line than ticket sales. To attract and maintain sponsors then the product (Goodell's league) has to project the proper image that advertisers will feel comfortable with. The economic downturn has brought with it less advertising revenue to go around in terms of mass media.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Corporation. Any industry has it's proportionate percentage of people who stray from the law abiding norm. So professional athletes are no different from doctors, engineers and cab drivers. Unfortunately when a doctor in Wichita, Kansas is caught driving while impaired , it may not even be a blip in the 6 o clock Wichita news. If an NFL benchwarmer gets caught in Green Bay, Wisconsin with the same offense, then its talked about in the dozens of sports talks shows that dot the continent.

Another weakness of the corporation is what I like to call the Anti Velcro effect. Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson can have high profile DUI arrests and I doubt it would affect the movie industry in terms of overall revenue. But Tank Johnson formerly of the Chicago Bears can get a DUI and it has ramifications for the entire league.

When I say entire league that means from the Seattle Seahawks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and all points in between.

Strengths of the League-

a) plays well on TV

b) Rozzelle and Tagliabue's work paved the way

c) long term relationships with charity.

Values of the implementers- Commissioner is in place because ultimately he serves the interest of the 32 NFL owners. The owners I assume care about revenue streams and the value of their investment appreciating. Make sure you listen to the MP 3 below of former Baseball Commissioner Faye Vincent trying to put himself in Roger Goodell's shoes. I really find such perspective enlightening.

Broader Expectations of Society- This I feel impacts this case. Many people have already made up their minds on PETA one way or the other. I suspect that the circle around with signs division of PETA will target any NFL facility that will house Michael Vick whether it be a practice field or a game stadium. In the shrinking economy does the NFL as a league need this baggage?

You can make the argument that Vick has a right to make a living. But to quote Wrath of Khan, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. By taking Vick back the risk goes out to every NFL franchise whether they sign him or not. Each franchise employs 53 players. Protecting the league's image is a priority. A few years ago David Stern made a rule that players on road trips can not dress like they were headed to a gang war. Some called it racial. I call it smart if you intend on attracting sponsors. If you want to go duke it out with the Jets and the Sharks then OK wear what you want.

What is lost in all this , is that Vick was a tough nut to crack when all this started to unravel. he did not cooperate with the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL and the FBI. This guy was already a troubled child with the water bottle incident and the Ron Mexico incident. I don't know if a get out of jail card and straight into the arms of an NFL team sends the right message to the rest of the league.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the basis for a decision but it was fun to put together. You might have an idea what Roger Goodell has to face. What goes into a decision. Plus his small army of investigators and advisers will have more information than this. I just thought it would be a good way of rationalizing writing this piece as practice and procrastination for my major paper.

Lots of gray area so helpful to look at it through a framework.

Ed (sentence) (Ron MExico) (airport) (lying list)

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