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Vick's Debut Lacks Off-Field Opposition And
Protesters That Many Had Expected
FOOTBALL CROWD: The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's Bob Ford writes the game drew a "football crowd" that came for "playmaking not politics, for spectacle not speeches." There were "perhaps a dozen pro-Vick enthusiasts marching around for the cameras, and maybe a half-dozen on the other side." The "pregame bluster was as predictable as it was perfunctory, and Eagles fans attending the game mostly ignored it." Ford: "In all, you have to mark it down as a successful day for Vick" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/28). Eagles President Joe Banner before the game said, "We've had the opportunity to meet with the different animal rights groups and frankly, they've been very rational, very reasonable. They're not happy (about the Vick signing). ... But they understand that it's happened and there's an opportunity to try to do some positive things." Meanwhile, ESPN's John Barr noted there were "signs of support for Vick" at Lincoln Financial Field with fans wearing "plenty of fresh printed Vick jerseys" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/27).
Vick's Protesters Were Few And Far Between
MEDIA OUTNUMBER PROTESTERS: In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes, "If you added up all the protesters on both sides of the argument, they were far outnumbered by the reporters who were present." An Eagles spokesperson said the media turnout more closely resembled a "heavy regular-season game." The team estimated that it "issued approximately 20[%] more credentials than it normally would for a preseason matchup." Gonzalez notes the initial "uproar over Vick here in town -- both pro and con -- was genuine and organic," but "not anymore." Vick is "nothing but a prop now, a puppet to be exploited by different organizations in order to advance their respective positions and predetermined agendas" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/28).
BETTER THAN NOTHING: YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote under the header, "Vick's Debut Not On National TV, But NFL Network Saves The Day." The Jaguars-Eagles game was not scheduled to be televised nationally, but NFL Net "showed all of Michael Vick's first-quarter plays ... via a live look-in," which was a "satisfying resolution to a problem that aggravated NFL viewers all day" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/27). In Albany, Pete Dougherty wrote there have been "some exhibition games this month that fans wanted to see, but they aren't available." Dougherty: "If NBC can 'flex' out of regular-season games on its 'Sunday Night Football' package, why not let the networks do it in preseason?" (TIMESUNION.com, 8/27).
Coyotes' Future At Glendale
Arena In Question
LOOKING CLOSER AT THE BIDS: In Phoenix, Carrie Watters reports the NHL's bid for the Coyotes "looks to pay all creditors," except Moyes and Managing Partner & coach Wayne Gretzky, who is set to earn $6.5M next season. Daly said, "The magnitude of (Gretzky's) contract is not the type of contract we should be assuming on behalf of future owners." Daly could not confirm if Gretzky would stay on as coach (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/28). Meanwhile, in Toronto, Paul Hunter notes while Balsillie's $212.5M offer for the Coyotes "appears to easily top" the NHL's $140M bid and Ice Edge's $150M proposal, "it is not that clear-cut." Daly said, "The value of Balsillie's bid is somewhat misleading. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison, because if it is contingent on the club relocating, it results in significant and very costly claims from most of the club's current vendors, creditors and business partners -- including the city of Glendale -- against the estate. Those claims don't exist if the team stays local. So at the end of the day, we believe the value of the two bids are very comparable" (TORONTO STAR, 8/28).
SPIN MOVE: In Hamilton, Scott Radley writes the NHL's acknowledgment that the Coyotes may relocate was "enough to cause some people to wonder if the league was finally waving a white flag," especially considering "how strongly the league's gatekeepers have been clinging to the It-Must-Stay-In-Arizona position" (HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 8/28). SI.com's Jim Kelley wrote this bankruptcy proceeding "has exposed a seamy underside of the NHL" that prospective partners are "likely to want to keep at a considerable distance" (SI.com, 8/27). In Winnipeg, Ted Wyman said the NHL is "putting an incredible amount of roadblocks up, but to what end? It just seems so silly to be considering keeping this team in Phoenix." The WINNIPEG SUN's Kirk Penton noted, "If you're going to say anything nice about [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman it's that he's sticking to what he believes in, and he still believes that it's going to work down there" (WINNIPEGSUN.com, 8/27). In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote the NHL's position on the Coyotes has "never been as preposterous as some would believe." The league "wants a team in that large U.S. market, or more specifically, believes that a successful, efficiently run club would do just fine and be of benefit to the league." But the NHL's effort to buy the Coyotes and sell the team to a third party "for a profit is such an extreme manipulation of the process" (THESTAR.com, 8/27).