05.20.09 9 years ago 30 Comments

Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick left federal prison earlier this morning and went home to Hampton, Virginia, where he’ll serve two months of home confinement and subsequent three years’ probation.

Much has been made of whether Vick can meet the standards of atonement set forth by NFL commissar Roger Goodell, who vaguely outlined his criteria for Vick’s reinstatement earlier this week. But more important will be salvaging enough forgiveness from the football-watching public that one of the league’s 31 other teams would consider taking the PR hit that would come from bringing him into camp. That burden of bringing The Dog Killer into the fold is one that even the minor league arena teams aren’t willing to bear.

The sad fact is that Vick will be The Dog Killer for the rest of his life. Financing a dogfighting ring is hardly the worst thing ever, but it clearly falls in between Kobe Bryant hollowing out some lodge worker in Colorado and Lee Harvey Oswald hollowing out President Kennedy’s brain. But where in between? Am I a prick for acknowledging out loud that, yeah, these horrible acts will be your legacy? Maybe. But to ignore it–either in a NFL telecast where he might be under center again (won’t happen) or in his obituary tens of years from now–would be worse. Athletes, perhaps more than any other public figures, are what they do. And Vick may not get that chance to redeem himself where his gifts flourished most. And I’m okay with that.

|img from Ian Kim|

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