Michael Vick is almost a free man. He’s out of jail and will spend the next two months in home confinement in Virginia. His agent says Vick would like to play in the NFL this year, but will put football on the back burner while he finishes serving out his sentence for promoting dog fighting.
Now, how will he be welcomed back into the public eye? The best case scenario is that he makes a public statement expressing his regret and contrition, pledges to work with animal rights groups, andÂ becomes a generally great guy who’s an asset to the team and city where he ultimately ends up.
But what if the opposite takes place?
Â What if he gets out, tells the first reporter he finds that he’s not at all sorry? What if he tells the ASPCA and PETA to go fuck themselves? What if he keeps his nose clean legally, but is a complete jerk to his new teammates and his new coach and the media in his new city?
You know what should happen? Nothing. Michael Vick has no obligation to make nice with anyone. Do you know why? Because he went to federal fucking prison! He’s been punished. He owes no more to society than any other ex-felon who’s released from custody.
That doesn’t mean you can’t hate him. That doesn’t mean animal rights groups can’t picket his home, and his practices and his games. (In fact, I’d be interested to see how a PETA protest is welcomed by NFL fans who are grilling bratwurst and downing beers at a tailgate before a late afternoon game.)
But it does mean you can’t stop him from seeking a career. If a team wants to pay him, they have every right to do so.Â And he has every right to strap on a helmet, take a snap, and try to lead his team to victory.
The man has done his time, and in this country, that’s all that should be required for a return to society.