Here are some of the implications resulting from Michael Vick's indictment on federal charges related to dogfighting.
Atlanta Falcons: The whole, long-term strategy of building the franchise on the gifted quarterback is now blown to smithereens. If the Falcons haven't been bracing for this, they've been in denial. Things went from bad to worse when the federal government got involved. I've said it before and it's worth repeating. Getting rid of QB Matt Schaub to Houston was a HUGE mistake. Not only was Schaub a potential star, but he was a fresh face who could have represented a clean, new start for the franchise. Now, the Falcons are left with retreads at quarterback like Joey Harrington and just maybe Daunte Culpepper.
Marketing: By association, this is embarrassing for every commercial entity that has aligned itself with Vick. Among sponsors, AirTran has already dismissed Vick. The Humane Society of the United States is calling on the companies with which Vick has endorsement deals to do the same. * Nike reportedly declined and it will be interesting to see whether the sporting goods company suffers any backlash.
* Two other companies that Vick had been associated with and were previously mentioned here as part of the humane society's efforts had ended their endorsement associations with Vick when those deals expired.
The NFL: The league loved Michael Vick. He is electrifying. But it recognizes a public relations nightmare when it sees one. In a statement, the league is already characterizing the allegations in grim fashion, calling them "cruel, degrading and illegal." It said it was disappointed that Vick had even put himself in this position. Now commissioner Roger Goodell is going to be under pressure regarding Vick. Remember, Goodell suspended the Titans' Adam "Pacman" Jones without the legal process running its course. Of course, Jones was in scrape after scrape. It could be argued that Vick is something of a first-time offender, although he has had some problems of his own, such as making an obscene gesture at fans who were taunting him. As this dogfighting case evolves and if more evidence emerges, the question of disciplining Vick will come up again and again.
Photo credit: Associated Press