If Vick remains tens of millions in debt, why not risk caricature in hopes of making a buck or three?
If Vick loathes mainstream media, as many public figures do, why not control his own message?
Please don't misinterpret. "The Michael Vick Project," an eight-part docu-series set to air in early 2010 on BET, is not the best idea since DVR. Nor should Vick and his producers clear space on their mantels for Emmys.
But given his financial and image issues, Vick doesn't have beaucoup options.
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are paying him $1.6 million to play football this season. And yes, the team's front office is supporting his personal rehabilitation.
But this marriage could be shorter-term than Greg Norman- Chris Evert. Vick was away from the game for nearly three years, an unprecedented absence for an NFL athlete of his caliber, and if he doesn't approach previous form, the Eagles will send him packing rather than exercise their $5.2-million option for next season.
After all, football is business, not charity.
Given that uncertainty, Vick owes it to himself and his family, not to mention his creditors, to explore any potential revenue sources.
Signed Ron Mexico jerseys for the bargain-basement price of $100,000.
Michael Vick designer jumpsuits — available in assorted colors and sizes.
A how-not-to book on choosing financial advisors.
An instructional DVD on converting a water bottle into a bong — blue ray version offered for $10 extra.
Personal driving lessons from Marcus Vick.
I can hear Vick fans now. "You're piling on. Stop referencing his dogfighting, jail time and other legal/ethical entanglements. Just write about Michael Vick the quarterback."
In time, such protests might have resonated. Not now. If Vick is voluntarily rehashing his past for profit, then such history is absolutely fair game for media, fans and critics.
Vick also must make sure that any reality revenue stream does not become a tidal wave of bad press. His crimes are unforgivable to some, and if the camera ever catches him in a less-than-contrite moment, the fallout will be considerable.
Odds are, however, that viewers would never see such an instance. The Los Angeles Times, among our sister publications, reported Wednesday that Vick's MV7 Productions company is among the show's backers, so bank on this "reality" program being more stage-managed than pro wrestling.
The Times' story also said that the Eagles and NFL are on board with the venture, a darn good thing for Vick considering commissioner Roger Goodell's suspension powers and zero-tolerance attitude.
Now if Vick and his handlers are smart, they'll also seek the public blessing of the Humane Society, a far more rational bunch — credit president and CEO Wayne Pacelle — than the grenade launchers at PETA. If his bankruptcy terms permit, Vick also would be wise to donate a portion of any profits to an animal-rights cause, preferably here in his native Hampton Roads, where his criminal activities began shortly after he left Virginia Tech for the NFL in 2001.
If Vick plays this right — he acquitted himself well during the "60 Minutes" interview with James Brown and the ESPN sit-down with Sal Paolantonio — his series will be marginally revealing, perfectly harmless and perhaps a money-maker.
Executive producer James DuBose promised more.
"This is the raw storytelling of what happened, why and how," he told Times reporter Greg Braxton.
Vick was more circumspect, describing the show as "a blueprint for so many kids" and "a story of hope."
That would be welcome. But as a friend astutely observed, if not done well, "The Michael Vick Project" will be scarier than "The Blair Witch Project."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.
Sunday's gameSunday's game WHO: Bucs (0-4) at Eagles (2-1).
WHEN: 1 p.m. TV: Fox, but not in local area.