There’s Just No Good Spin for This One

Electronic Arts, the publisher behind the NFL’s official Madden video game series, has a problem:

Today, the two finalists for the Madden NFL 12 cover were revealed. It couldn’t have turned out worse for EA. Forget being between a rock and a hard place; EA Sports is trapped between a knife and a gun fight: relative unknown Peyton Hillis of the perennially awful Cleveland Browns, or convicted dog-killing pariah and ex-convict Michael Vick. Either EA has to market a game featuring a player the average person cares little about, or they’re hit with animal rights activist protests for a highly controversial cover boy. 

IGN’s Hilary Goldstein has some words of wisdom for EA:
EA made a fatal error in preparation of the Madden cover vote. The person voted to be on the cover only hurts or helps EA. It doesn’t impact a Madden fan’s sponsorship opportunities. It doesn’t affect a gamer’s promotion plans. No one voting stops and thinks, “Man, I better not let Vick win or EA will have a tough time doing a media tour.” Don’t think for a moment that EA ever would willingly put Peyton Hillis or Mike Vick on the cover of Madden. They expected the voters to do the right thing for EA. That’s not how popularity contests work.

The lesson here: never, ever, give people the option to affect your product unless it’s something you can live with. The 32 players in the Madden voting bracket needed to be 32 players EA would gladly have on the cover. Because, as we can see with the final round in this contest, online voters aren’t predictable. Never assume they have the same priorities or business sensibilities of a publicly traded corporation. The public loses nothing by turning on EA and biting them in the ass. 
Me, I’m trying to decide what the worst part of this story is: that Vick’s still part of the NFL, that EA included Vick in the poll, or that enough sports fans still like Vick enough to make him a finalist?

New on NewsReal – Sheila Jackson Lee Comes Out Against Interracial Slapstick

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

I confess: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. My interest in pro sports is pretty much limited to whether or not anything good comes out of the big game’s annual crop of Super Bowl commercials. We got a couple winners this year, but Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has declared one ad not only a failure, but an outrage, as well.

Pepsi ran this commercial, in which a black man on a park bench smiles at a pretty white woman who sits down nearby, and his wife angrily throws a Pepsi Max can at his head, which instead hits the woman when he ducks.
Lee’s reaction:

“In this month of African-American history where we’re trying to celebrate what is good and great, it certainly seems ridiculous that Pepsi would utilize this kind of humor,” she said. “It was not humorous. It was demeaning — an African-American woman throwing something at an African-American male and winding up hitting a Caucasian woman.”

Jackson Lee said she has a sense of humor and believes in the First Amendment. She also said the Super Bowl is a great time for “fellowship” with family members.

“That is why I’m so disappointed with the Pepsi advertisement that showed a demeaning role for African American women, in an ad that showed a can being thrown and being utilized to wound someone else or hit someone else,” she said.

“I think that we can come together in a much better way, sell Pepsi, and as well talk about good nutrition,” she said. “But, frankly, I consider this insulting, and so did many other women of all colors.”

Many? Name five. It’s a little hard to pin down the Congresswoman’s objection—is she coming down on the very concept of slapstick humor, or simply that Pepsi would dare depict black people up to the same sort of shenanigans that America has been laughing at white people doing for years?

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Michael Vick is A-OK; So Saith President Obama

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Among the many divergences from the theories and principles of the American Founding wrought by progressivism is the very nature of the presidency. Originally conceived as a limited office chiefly concerned with (domestically, at least) little more than the fair and effective execution of the laws, progressives such as President Theodore Roosevelt transformed the nation’s understanding of the presidency into an office charged with “bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people,” free to do anything not explicitly forbidden by the Constitution.

If anything, President Barack Obama sees his job in an even more expansive light than Roosevelt. At the Daily Beast, Mansfield Frazier opines Obama’s injecting himself into, of all things, the redemption of football player Michael Vick:

“So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance,” Obama reportedly told the owner of Vick’s football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. “…It’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out.”

The Eagles signed Vick after he served 19 months in prison for running a dogfighting operation, and by praising the team’s owner for giving the quarterback a second chance, the president is broaching a subject that’s sure to be polarizing. As states across the U.S. struggle with looming budget deficits, Obama perhaps realizes the timing may be right to address what he has called the country’s “incarceration and post-incarceration crisis” and remove barriers that inhibit successful prisoner reentry by offering former offenders an opportunity to reclaim their lives and a modicum of dignity.

 Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.