Pro Football Talk: Eagles Didn’t Solicit Public Input Before Signing Vick, Ravens Shouldn’t With Kaepernick

Vick Protest
AP/Bebeto Matthews

As the NFL gets into full swing with training camps and preparations for the preseason. The sports media has decided to run an all-out blitz to try and get anthem-protesting quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a roster.

An unfortunate side-effect of this, has been to make already bad arguments worse. By engaging in tortured and non-analogous, analogies. Mike Florio had a piece  in Pro Football Talk Monday, in which he claims the Ravens might be setting bad precedent by allowing the public to have a say in whether the team signs Kaepernick.

The Ravens have hosted fan forums and Owner Steve Bisciotti has fielded questions from the public.

Florio notes how the Ravens did not solicit fan opinion when it came to whether the team should retain Ray Lewis, after the all-time great linebacker after was charged with murder. Nor, Florio notes, did the team let public opinion influence whether they should keep Ray Rice after news of his domestic violence incident came to light.

In addition to that, Florio ties in a tweet from former Eagles and Browns executive Joe Banner. In which Banner reminded people that the Eagles didn’t ask for public input when deciding to sign Michael Vick when he came out of prison.

While that may be true, one can only draw an analogy between Kaepernick and Vick if they’re willing to overlook some pretty serious historical differences. First, Vick issued a sincere and tearful apology for his actions. Before atoning for his error by serving well over a year in a federal prison.

Colin Kaepernick has never apologized, tearful or otherwise, and has in no way atoned for his mistakes. At least, not in a way that would make anyone sense that he has true regret, remorse, or any conflict whatsoever regarding his actions. If Kaepernick had done those things, public sentiment towards him would likely be much different.

There’s also the false analogy between the public backlash that Kaepernick faces now, versus the backlash that the Eagles faced when signing Vick. Remember, most of the visible public protest against signing Vick came from animal rights activists. Why? Because most people, not all, but most, had come to the conclusion that Vick deserved a second chance. He had shown remorse, served his time, cut his hair, and seemed to be a different guy.

The backlash against Kaepernick looks entirely different because he’s done none of those things. To make the analogy work, let’s replace Kaepernick’s name with Vick and play the game. Had the Eagles attempted to sign Vick, with no public apology, no jail time, no volunteering at animal shelters, and no 18 month gap between his offense and the time he signed a new contract. While the whole time Vick tweeted out posts claiming that dog fighting wasn’t really all that bad of a thing.

The public backlash would have reached nuclear levels and Joe Banner likely would have been fired soon after.

In short, there is no analogy between Kaepernick and Vick. Unless, you want to do a side-by-side tutorial on how you should handle a public relations crisis, and how you shouldn’t handle a public relations crisis.

And there’s no question which side is which.



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